Australia’s Census of Population and Housing is one of the most important statistical collections undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The data collected every five years through the Census provides an important source of information that underpins decisions impacting every aspect of the lives of Australians. Information is used for a range of purposes, including planning, administration, policy development and evaluation for governments and other users.
In late 2017, the ABS began consulting with key users of Census data to determine whether there should be changes or additions to the topics to be included in the 2021 Census. Between April and June 2018, a formal consultation process invited all interested parties to contribute their views on the topics that are important to be collected in the next Census. Submissions have been received from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and from members of the public.
This paper presents a summary of the views collected and the key themes that emerged. It also provides a brief overview of the:
- process to review and assess the suggestions received
- current thinking for each of the topics
- next steps to determine the final topics for the 2021 Census.
The final decision on topics for the 2021 Census will be made by the Australian Government. This report does not include final decisions about Census topics, or the final recommendations that will be put to the Government for a decision. Recommendations will be refined through further engagement with key stakeholders and experts, reviews of operational feasibility and testing of questions in a Census context.
Recommendations will be presented to Government in mid-2019 for decision on the 2021 Census topics. The final list of topics to be included in the Census will be published by the ABS in an information paper (cat. no. 2008.0) expected to be released in late 2020.