The ABS Census of Population and Housing provides a comprehensive picture of Australia's people, how they live and where they reside.
The results of the Census held on 9 August 2016 will be released in 2017 in three main stages.
First data release -- 11 April 2017
An accelerated release schedule will see the first results appear on 11 April 2017 - two months earlier than for any previous Census. This release will include National, State/Territory and Capital City data for selected key person, family and dwelling characteristics, including age, sex, religion, language and income.
Second data release -- 20 June 2017
The second data release starts on 20 June 2017 and will provide Community level Census data for a wide range of topics, including information on small population groups and for small geographic areas such as Suburbs and Local Government Areas.
As in the 2011 Census, the data will be presented in a variety of ways to cater for the different needs of users, from those who just want quick access to basic statistics about their suburb to those who wish to perform detailed data interrogations.
QuickStats and Community Profile tables provide quick and easy access to Census data for large and small geographic areas.
For more complex queries, TableBuilder will be released on 20 June 2017 to allow people to build their own complex tables that can cross-classify many different variables at the same time, across a range of geographic areas.
DataPacks will be released on 12 July 2017 and will contain data for all geographies in Australia. They provide comprehensive data files and associated Geographic Information System (GIS) boundary files in a format suitable for loading into proprietary software and/or custom-built systems.
Data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be provided through QuickStats, Community Profiles, DataPacks and TableBuilder.
Third data release -- October 2017
Employment, qualifications and population mobility (transport and previous address) results will be available from 17 October 2017. This type of information needs extra time to process because of its complexity. This data will be released through further additions to Quickstats, Community Profiles, TableBuilder and DataPacks.
Other Census-related data releases -- 2018 onwards
A fourth wave of Census-related data will be released from 2018 onwards, adding further value to the three main data releases in 2017. The ABS is currently reviewing its microdata access services in order to increase the ease of access to microdata through a wider range of options than is currently available. It is anticipated that 2016 Census microdata will be released as a confidentialised sample file that will be available in 2018.
The release of Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) in 2018 will provide information about the relative social and economic wellbeing of the people living in a region. SEIFA is a set of four indexes which rank geographical areas across Australia according to an average of all people living in that area. It can be used to identify where the wealthy live, where the disadvantaged live and where those who are highly educated live.
As in the last Census, a range of data integration projects will use 2016 Census data to ensure that the Census delivers maximum benefit to governments and the community.
The majority of Census data will continue to be available free-of-charge on the ABS website, although there is a charge for detailed microdata which will be made available through TableBuilder Pro and other microdata products.
Changes between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses
Providing a high level of comparability between 2011 and 2016 Census information, the 2016 data will again be released using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) and with the same topics as the past two Censuses in 2006 and 2011.
Specific information is provided in the 'Changes between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses' chapter of this publication.