2008.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/08/2015   
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This topic provides the age (in years) of the person on Census night.

Age data is essential for producing estimates of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local government areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and/or the distribution of government funds. Age is essential for most socio-demographic analysis of Census data.

Age is calculated from date of birth when provided, otherwise stated age is used.


Age has been included in every Australian Census since 1911. Prior to the 2006 Census, only 'age last birthday' was asked. Since the 2006 Census, date of birth has been asked in conjunction with age last birthday. Date of birth was asked in order to improve the quality of the age data, with age also asked to cover situations where date of birth is not known. Analysis of the results of the 2006 Census indicated that the inclusion of date of birth was very successful in removing the 'age heaping' around reported ages ending in 0 or 5 which is clearly visible in the results of previous Censuses. The inclusion of date of birth has also resulted in the compilation of more accurate statistics on the age of very old Australians who may be residents in aged care facilities or other institutions where the Census form is completed by another person on their behalf.

For the 2016 Census, date of birth will again be asked in conjunction with age. A small enhancement has been made to the question wording to reduce respondent confusion and improve data quality, namely removal of the phrase "last birthday" from the question text.

On the online form, this question includes some quality control measures. Age is automatically calculated from age of birth and warnings generated if the result appears incorrect or unlikely.


The following question is from the paper 2016 Census Household Form

Image: question 4 from the paper 2016 Census Household Form