1136.0 - Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2004  
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Contents >> ABS Collections >> General Social-Economic >> Census of Population and Housing

Census of Population and Housing


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The 2001
Census of Population and Housing was held on 7 August 2001. The objective of the census is to count the number of people in Australia on census night, identifying their key characteristics and those of the dwellings in which they live. This provides a reliable basis for the estimation of the Australian population. A census is taken every five years, providing detailed socio-economic and demographic information about the population of Australia. This allows for certain characteristics, such as attendance at an educational institution, highest level of schooling completed, and level, field and year of qualification, to be related to other demographic characteristics. The information is also used for forward planning by government, industry and community groups. The census provides data for small geographic areas and for small population groups.


The scope of the census extends to all persons in Australia on census night. This includes Australian residents in Antarctica and people in the territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The other Australian external territories, Norfolk Island and minor islands such as Heard and McDonald Islands, are outside the scope of the Australian census. The only people who spend census night in Australia but are excluded from the census are foreign diplomats and their families.

The census includes people on vessels in or between Australian ports, on board long-distance trains, buses or aircraft and on oil or gas rigs off the Australian coast. People entering Australia before midnight on census night are counted while people leaving an Australian port for an overseas destination before midnight on census night are not. Visitors to Australia are included regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay. However, for people who intend to be in Australia for less than one year, only basic demographic data are available. The census includes homeless people and people camping out.

All private dwellings, except diplomatic dwellings, are included in the census, whether occupied or unoccupied. Dwellings
in caravan parks, marinas, manufactured home estates and units in accommodation for the retired or aged (self-care) are counted only if occupied. However, homes of owners, managers and caretakers in caravan parks, etc., are treated as private dwellings and are counted regardless of whether they are occupied. Occupied non-private dwellings, such as hospitals, prisons, hotels, etc., are also included.



Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Census of Population and Housing: Selected Characteristics for Urban Centres and Localities, 2001 (cat. nos. 2016.0-2016.7), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Census of Population and Housing: Selected Education and Labour Force Characteristics, 2001 (cat. nos. 2017.0-2017.8), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002,
Census of Population and Housing: Selected Social and Housing Characteristics for Statistical Local Areas, 2001 (cat. nos. 2015.0-2015.8), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001,
2001 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0), ABS, Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, 2001 Directory of Census Statistics (cat. no. 2910.0), ABS, Canberra (First Edition).

For a full list of census publications refer to the 2001 Directory of Census Statistics.

Standard products

Census Snapshots are a new product providing a summary overview for selected geographic areas and are available from the ABS web site, free of charge.

The Community Profile Series contain sets of tables which provide characteristics of persons, families and dwellings for small areas. There are six Community Profiles:

CDATA 2001 is a CD-ROM product that combines 2001 Census data with mapping software. It allows access to the latest Australian demographic data, making up a series of Basic Community Profiles. This information is available for small areas (Collection Districts) through to states and territories and Australia.

For a full list of census products refer to the 2001 Directory of Census Statistics.

Data service

Consultancy Services provides the following census specific services:
    • Customised Profile Services
    • Customised Table Service
    • Customised Geographic Data Reports Service
    • Customised Mapping Service.

Other information

The Census Guide is a new CD-ROM product containing a wide range of census reference information. To order your free copy call 1800 813 939.

Web Link

Fact Sheet: Education - Changes for 2001 Census
Census Working Paper 00/2 - 1996 Census Data Quality: Qualification Level and Field of Study

Release schedule

The first release of data from the Census is usually within 12 months of the reference date, with the second release of data in around 15 months.



Highest level of schooling completed

Non-school qualification (field, level and year)
Student status (full-time/part-time)
Type of educational institution attending
Employment in education related industries


Demography (e.g. age, sex, marital status)

Indigenous status
Birthplace (individual, female parent, male parent)
Visitors (intrastate, interstate and overseas)

Ethnicity (e.g. birthplace, year of arrival)
Labour force (e.g. status, occupation, hours worked, industry)
Transport (e.g. number of motor vehicles garaged, method of travel to work)

Computer use at home
Family (e.g. family type, relationship)
Household (e.g. household income)
Dwellings (e.g. rent, mortgage, number of usual residents)

These are some of the key education related and demographic data items available from the 2001 Census. For a full list refer to the 2001 Census Dictionary.


Data are available from the collection district level (approximately 250 households) through to state, territory and national levels. Data are classified according to the
Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0). Data are also available for Urban Centres and Localities, and a range of Census specific geographic areas, such as Suburbs, Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions and Indigenous Areas.


The Census of Population and Housing is a self-enumeration collection. A collector leaves the questionnaire to be filled in by a respondent on behalf of the household, and returns to collect the form at a later date.


Reference Period

August. The reference period for 2001 was 7 August.

Frequency of Collection

Every five years.

Historical Data

The first census conducted by the Commonwealth of Australia was in 1911, with subsequent censuses being conducted at irregular intervals up until 1961. Since 1961, the census has been conducted every five years. The
Directory of Census Statistics contains a table showing the topics included in every Census from 1911 to 1996.

There were a number of changes to the data items describing educational attainment for the 2001 Census:
    • Age left school was replaced by the variable highest level of schooling completed.
    • Field of study was coded to the new Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). The new classification includes a name change from post-school educational qualification to non-school qualification: field of study.
    • Level of attainment was also coded to ASCED and the name has been changed to non-school qualification: level of education.
    • Post-school educational qualification: year completed is now non-school qualification: year completed.



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