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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  • Quality Declaration



The microdata products addressed in this publication are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA), noting that the Census and Statistics (Information Release and Access) Determination 2018 came into effect on 15 August 2018 and has replaced the Statistics Determination 1983. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling unit record level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with microdata can be found on the About CURF Microdata or Detailed Microdata page.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, please see ABS Legislative Framework.


Microdata from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing are available as TableBuilder datasets, 5% Detailed Microdata files and a 1% Basic CURF. These microdata files are the most detailed information available about key characteristics of people in Australia on Census night, and are released to support advanced data analysis. These characteristics are generally responses to individual questions on the Census form or data derived from two or more questions.


The Census and Statistics Act 1905 requires the Australian Statistician to conduct a Census on a regular basis. Since 1961, a Census has been required every five years. The 2016 Census was the 17th national Census, and was held on 9 August 2016. Microdata products in recent times are usually released within three years of the collection of Census data.


The microdata files generally contain finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other formats, for example in 2016 Community Profiles. For more information on the level of detail provided, see the associated data item listings for individual microdata products.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the microdata files are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the data while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the microdata with other published statistics.


It is important for Census microdata to be comparable and compatible with previous Censuses and related survey or administrative data sources. However:

  • There are differences regarding how the sample has been created in relation to larger households in different Census years.
  • The product types have changed in 2016 in response to the evolving institutional environment, where a Detailed Microdata file instead of an Expanded CURF was released. This enables more detailed information to be provided for Census data items compared to previous Census years.
  • The classifications used for Census data topics change over time.
  • Geographic areas on the 2016 Census microdata files are based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), which replaced the Australian Statistical Geography Classification (ASGC) used in previous microdata files.


The information within this publication should be referred to when using the microdata products. It explains the sample methodology, use of the microdata files, file structure, the data item lists, and changes over time.

The Census Dictionary, 2016 (cat. no. 2901.0) and Understanding the Census and Census Data (cat no. 2900.0) include information on the Census objectives, methods and design, content, data quality and interpretation, output data items, information about the availability of results and comparability with previous surveys.


Microdata files are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata files should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page before applying for access. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the Available Microdata page. More detail regarding types and modes of access to microdata can be found on the Compare access options page.

Any questions regarding access to Microdata can be forwarded to microdata.access@abs.gov.au