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Transforming your Census information

Ever wondered what happens to your
Census form after it has been collected?

With more than 20 million Australians completing the Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics now faces the enormous task of turning the raw data you provided into information that will be used to help plan a better and brighter future for Australians.

Once your paper form has been collected, it is transported under secure arrangements to the Census Data Processing Centre (DPC) via road, rail or air. If you completed your form using eCensus, your responses were encrypted and transferred electronically to the DPC as soon as you pressed the ‘Submit’ button.

Upon arrival at the DPC, your paper form is scanned to allow it to be read and processed electronically using intelligent automatic coding technologies. The information is also checked using special processes to help detect any missing or inconsistent pieces of information. For example, a missing house or unit number or unrecognisable handwriting.

Processing is split into two stages. The first, simple topics such as age, sex and religion are processed. Most of this processing is done automatically.

The second stage processes the more complex topics such as industry, qualifications and occupation, which requires a great deal of manual processing to allocate codes to your unique responses.

Once every form and eCensus response has been processed, the information is turned into a file of coded records of each person, family and household counted in the 2011 Census. These files form the basis of all Census data. Any release of data does not allow for the identification of any individual or household.

Once your form is processed and no longer needed it is pulped and turned into recycled paper or cardboard. All eCensus responses and images of Census forms captured during processing are also securely destroyed.

Australia will get its first glimpse of the 2011 Census data in June 2012. Census data will be released in two stages with the second release planned for October 2012.

Indicative Product Release Timetable

First data release - June 2012
Community Profiles (progressively released)
DataPacks (progressively released)
Census Analytical Articles (progressively released)
Census Data Quality Reports (progressively released)
TableBuilder Basic - first release data items (Q3 2012)
TableBuilder Pro - first release data items (Q3 2012)
Second data release - October 2012
Community Profiles
Census Analytical Articles (progressive release continues)
Census Data Quality Reports (progressive release continues)
TableBuilder Basic - second release data items added (Q4 2012)
TableBuilder Pro - second release data items added (Q4 2012)
Third release - early 2013
Census Sample Files (CSF)
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
Person and Dwelling counts at Mesh Block level
Remoteness Areas added to all products

If you’d like to read more about how a Census is taken, please refer to the publication How Australia Takes a Census.

More detailed information about the release of Census data will be made available toward the end of 2011.


Transforming your Census information

From the length and breadth of our country, millions of forms have been delivered to the Data Processing Centre.