2037.0.30.001 - Microdata: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/04/2019   
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This publication provides information about the microdata files released from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. Included are details about the methodology, how to use the files, and the conditions of use. Data item lists and information on the quality of the microdata are also provided.

Microdata files contain the most detailed information available from a Census and comprise the confidentialised responses to individual questions on the Census Form or data derived from two or more questions. This level of detail is released with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

This publication was previously called Microdata: Census of Population and Housing, Census Sample File, 2011.


The 2016 microdata files comprise TableBuilder datasets, a Basic Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF), and a Detailed Microdata file. Subject to limitations in the data classifications used, these files enable users to tabulate, manipulate and analyse data to their own specifications.

In particular, Detailed Microdata files contain small systematic samples of confidentialised occupied private dwellings and non-private dwellings, with their associated family and person records. The Basic CURF contains a small systematic sample of confidentialised occupied private dwellings with their associated family and person records, and a random sample of persons from all non-private dwellings together with a record for the associated non-private dwelling.

The set of data were collected on Census Night, 9 August 2016.


The following microdata products are available from the 2016 Census:

  • TableBuilder datasets, available via the TableBuilder portal on the ABS website.
  • Detailed Microdata files, available through the ABS DataLab environment to approved users.
  • 1% sample Basic CURF, available though the Microdata Download to approved users.

The Detailed Microdata files contain the full range of classifications that are available for selected person, family and household data items. The Basic CURF contains similar information, though some items are excluded or shown in less detail. Both the Basic CURF and the Detailed Microdata are available in SAS, SPSS and STATA formats.

Further information about these services, and other information to assist users in understanding and accessing ABS microdata in general, is available from the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.


Before applying for access, users should read and familiarise themselves with the information contained in this publication and the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata, User Guide (cat. no. 1406.0.55.003).

To apply for access to TableBuilder, Detailed Microdata and/or Basic CURF files, please see How to Apply for Microdata on the ABS website.


Further information about the microdata files can be found in this publication:
  • Detailed lists of data items for TableBuilder, 5% Detailed Microdata and Basic CURF files are available under the Downloads tab.
  • Information on data quality and definitions can be found under the Explanatory Notes tab.

Data obtained in the Census but not contained on TableBuilder, Detailed Microdata or Basic CURF files may be available from the ABS, on request, as statistics in tabulated form.

Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, special tabulations can be produced incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These are available on request, on a fee for service basis. Contact the National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) on 1300 135 070 or client.services@abs.gov.au for further information.

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