Brisbane suburbs chosen for testing census methods, May 1997

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May 14, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Brisbane suburbs chosen for testing census methods

Six Brisbane suburbs have been chosen to help test new Census processing methods in preparation for the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

Australian Bureau of Statistics' census collectors will begin delivering forms on 20 May to 5,000 households located in West End, New Farm, Annerley, Moorooka, Greenslopes and Wooloongabba. Householders will be asked to complete the forms for the night of Tuesday 27 May.

Collectors will return between 28 May and 4 June to pick up the completed forms.

This will be the first of a series of tests to be conducted throughout Australia over the next few years.

The Census Test Co-ordinator, Mr Bob Wallis, said the purpose of the test was to determine the suitability of using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for processing the next Census.

"OCR is an approach commonly used by banks and other organisations including Australia Post which requires people to hand-print their responses in boxes," he said.

About half of the households in the test will be asked to complete the OCR form. The remainder will receive a form similar to that used in the 1996 Census which used Optical Mark Recognition (OMR).

To help with the test, some householders may be asked a few questions over the phone after the test forms have been examined.

"Results from the test could lead to a reduction in the cost of the Census. It would also help to ensure that the forms for the next Census are easy for people to complete," Mr Wallis said.

Collectors will carry official ABS identification and all information collected in the test will be treated in strict confidence. All forms will be destroyed after processing. As is the case with the real Census, names of people who have filled in the forms are not kept on computer records.

Telephone inquiry services will be available from 20 May to 4 June.