TOPICS - RECOMMENDED FOR RETENTIONNon-school qualifications
This information paper is the start of the formal submission process. The views below and in the following three sections are the preliminary views of the ABS. They are aimed at initiating discussion in the public consultation process. The final ABS recommendations will not be formed until consideration of all submissions from the consultation process and in the context of testing and evaluation outcomes.
Topics recommended for retention include topics that are required for conducting a successful Census and for fulfilment of legislative requirements, or for the calculation of estimated resident populations. Also included here are core/socio-demographic variables that are required for national reporting and have continued demand for output for small areas and for small population groups.
Click on the topic below for more details or see Supporting Information on Topics.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin
The Census is the only comprehensive source of small area socio-demographic data on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and this information is used for estimates and projections of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
Address on Census night
The collection of information on household address on Census Night is essential for the conduct of an accurate and high quality Census. It is used for geographic coding of place of enumeration and for estimation of the resident population.
Age data are essential for the estimation of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. There may be some small enhancements made to the age question in the 2016 Census, to reduce respondent confusion and improve data quality.
Attendance at an educational institution
This topic is used for education and labour market planning. It identifies the current study and educational participation of respondents.
County of birth
Data on the country a person was born in are used to produce estimates of the resident population by country of birth. The ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common countries of birth to reflect the most common responses received in the 2011 Census.
Family relationships/Social marital status
Family relationship is critical in understanding changes in Australian society and trends in family composition. There is currently a review underway of relevant standards and this might result in changes to the design and wording of this question for the 2016 Census.
Highest year of schooling
This topic is an important input into determining the level of highest educational attainment. It is also an important indicator of education need and disadvantage, and is used for planning and profiling at the small area level.
This topic currently collects information on actual hours worked last week, which is used to derive full-time/part-time status. There is some additional demand for information on usual hours worked. User feedback is sought on the relative priorities of the existing topic on actual hours (hours worked last week) and the potential replacement topic of usual hours.
The data collected from housing rental costs and housing loan repayments are important as they are used to assist in benchmarks for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Australian National Accounts. This data also helps estimate homelessness and housing affordability.
Census data on income are used as an indicator of relative advantage and disadvantage and economic wellbeing, especially for small areas and small population groups. The ABS will investigate improving the income topic by collecting more precise income data through a write-in question and by statistical data integration with other data sources.
Industry of employment
Data on the geographic distribution of industry are needed to monitor labour market changes and provide a basis for social and economic policy and planning. The ABS will consider whether there is sufficient user demand for the Census to continue coding industry at the most detailed level.
Information on usual residence one year ago and five years ago is used to determine the patterns of internal migration, which contribute to the calculation of estimated resident population, population projections and regional migration statistics. The ABS is considering the collection of actual country of residence one year and five years ago in the Census, instead of the current tick-box for ‘other country’.
Labour force status
Information about labour force status is essential for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes.
This topic defines the landlord type of the dwelling, such as whether it is rented privately via a landlord, a government agency or residential park. Data collected on landlord type is used for planning and policy purposes. Landlord Type standards are being reviewed prior to the 2016 Census.
Location of private dwelling
This topic is an important part of estimating homelessness and those people who are marginally housed. It is also used to determine the number of retirement villages and home estates, and the characteristics of residents.
Main language other than English spoken at home
Data gained from questions on language use are important for a wide range of policies at the national, state, territory and local levels. The ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common main languages other than English spoken at home to reflect the most common responses received in the 2011 Census.
Mode of travel to work
The data collected from this topic are widely used at the small area level for transport planning. They complement the data collected from the Workplace address/Journey to work topic.
The collection of information regarding name is considered essential for the conduct of an accurate and high quality Census. It is also essential for the conduct of a high quality Post Enumeration Survey, which is used to quantify the Census undercoverage and estimate the resident population.
This topic is an important input into determining the level of highest educational attainment. Data gathered during the Census about non-school qualifications are used to support planning and policy development in the areas of education, training and employment.
Number of bedrooms
The number of bedrooms in a property provides an indication of dwelling size, dwelling utilisation or under-utilisation, and potential overcrowding by the calculation of occupancy ratios. This topic is an important part of estimating homelessness and for investigating people who are marginally housed.
Data about occupation are required for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes. The ABS will consider whether there is sufficient user demand for the Census to continue coding occupation at the most detailed level. The ABS and Statistics New Zealand are undertaking a minor review of the relevant standard.
Proficiency in spoken English
This topic is used in conjunction with Main language other than English spoken at home, to assist in planning policies at a range of geographic levels.
Registered marital status
Registered marital status identifies whether people are never married, widowed, divorced, separated or married. Some data about registered marital status are available through the family relationship/social marital status topic, which outputs a person's relationship status based on their current living arrangements. The ABS recommends that Registered marital status be considered in conjunction with the output available from family relationship/social marital status. Users should consider the ongoing need for information from the Registered marital status topic not based on current living arrangements (e.g. never married, separated, divorced and widowed) and whether the information available from social marital status topic will meet requirements.
Information on religious affiliation is widely used in the religious community, and by government agencies that provide services complementary to those provided by religious organisations. The ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common religions.
Residential status in a non-private dwelling
This topic is important for planning and delivery of services and it is used to inform understanding of dwelling stock supply and demand trends. The ABS will consider updates in light of the proposed changes to the collection model for the 2016 Census.
Information gained from questions on sex is essential for the estimation of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. The ABS is currently reviewing the Sex Standard
which may impact on the collection of sex and gender in ABS household collections including the Census.
Structure of private dwelling
This topic is used to determine changes in housing patterns and stock, land use forecasting, transport planning and the compilation of homelessness estimates. This question was previously answered by Census Field Officers as a part of the collection process and a proposed new collection method will be tested for the 2016 Census.
Data on Tenure type (whether a dwelling is rented, owned with a mortgage or owned without a mortgage) is used for planning, analysis and policy purposes for small areas and population groups. Tenure Type standards are being reviewed prior to the 2016 Census.
Type of non-private dwelling
The Census includes data about people residing in non-private dwellings and the type of those non-private dwellings. They are used to inform understanding of dwelling stock supply and demand trends, and to estimate homelessness. The ABS will consider updates in the light of the proposed changes to the collection model for the 2016 Census.
Usual residence at Census time
Information on usual residence at Census time is essential for the production of accurate state, territory and local government resident population estimates, a primary objective of the Census.
Workplace address/Journey to work
Census data on workplace address are coded to work destination zones. Along with mode of travel to work, this data provides valuable information on journey to work patterns and on daytime populations of specified areas.
Year of arrival in Australia
Year of arrival data are necessary to analyse changes in the characteristics of migrants over time, particularly in distinguishing between recent and ‘older’ migrants. The ABS will also investigate the suitability of other data sources.
This page last updated 6 November 2012