Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  


Census

The Australian Census of Population and Housing is an official count of population and dwellings, and collects details of age, sex, and other characteristics of that population. The 2011 Census is the 16th national Census for Australia.

From 1933 to 1986, Australian Censuses were held on the 30th of June. Since 1991, Censuses have been conducted during August, as a result of changing school holiday dates in the majority of states and territories. Traditionally, school holiday times are periods of high mobility for the population and the data collected would not be representative of the usual situation.

Census statistics are used as the basis for estimating the population at the national, state and local government levels, for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. They are used by individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors, for planning, administration, research, and decision making.

One of the important features of the Census is that it allows different characteristics of an individual, family or household to be related. While information on some characteristics is available from other sources, only a Census can provide information on a standard basis for the country as a whole, as well as for small geographic areas and small population groups.

Population counts in Australia were initially just head counts called 'musters'. These were important as a means of determining requirements for food and other supplies. The first muster was taken in 1788. The first regular Census was taken in New South Wales in 1828. With Federation, Census taking became the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government.

For more information see How Australia Takes a Census (cat. no. 2903.0) and the information paper 2011 Census of Population and Housing, Nature and Content (cat. no. 2008.0).




Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.