2007.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/11/2012   
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The Census of Population and Housing is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the ABS and one of the most important. Its objective is to measure accurately the number and key characteristics of people in Australia on Census night, and the dwellings in which they live. It provides a reliable basis for the estimation of the population of each of the states, territories and local government areas, primarily for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds.

The Census also provides information on the characteristics of the Australian population and its housing within small geographic areas and small population groups.

Census data are used to support the planning, administration, policy development and evaluation of activities of governments and other users.


The scope of the Census is all people in Australia on Census Night, excluding foreign diplomats and their families. Visitors to Australia are counted regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay. Australian residents out of the country on Census Night are out of the scope of the Census.

People outside Australia on Census Night who are not required to undertake migration formalities, such as those on oil and gas rigs off the Australian coast, are included.

The Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island will be included in the 2016 Census. Following the enactment of the Territories Law Reform Act 1992, the results for these Territories were included in the counts for Australia for the first time in 1996.

People will be counted where they are on Census Night. This Census count is referred to as one conducted on an actual location or place of enumeration basis (often referred to as a de facto Census). Census counts will also be available on a place of usual residence basis.