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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Feedback on existing Census products and services was invited and received from the public during 2014 and is being considered for 2016 Census output.

Information on proposed 2016 Census data products and services will be published on the ABS website later in 2015.


In recent Censuses, data have been released in multiple stages. It is expected that this will again be the case for the 2016 Census. The composition and timing of each stage will be reviewed in order to improve the value received from the data. A release schedule will be published once the review is complete.

The broad timing of data release will be similar to that for the 2011 Census, with first release planned for mid 2017.


The 2016 Census will be conducted on an actual location basis. Standard products from the 2016 Census are expected to be released based on both an actual location basis ('place of enumeration') and on where people usually live ('place of usual residence').


Most classifications used in the 2016 Census will be similar to those used in the 2011 Census. Some of these classifications have been reviewed in the lead up to 2016 and each of these reviews has sought public comment. Full details of all classifications will be included in the Census Dictionary, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 2901.0) to be released in May 2016.


An integral step in understanding the quality of the Census count is to evaluate the coverage of the count, and the levels of both under-enumeration and over-enumeration. For this purpose a Post Enumeration Survey will be conducted soon after Census Night.

Further detailed evaluation studies will be conducted to provide users of Census data with information about data quality, and to obtain feedback for improvements for the following Census.


The 2016 Census data will be output using the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), which was introduced with 2011 Census data. The 2016 version of the ASGS is likely to be very similar to the 2011 edition of the ASGS but with minor updates made primarily by splitting existing regions, which enables a high level of comparability between the 2011 and 2016 geographic areas. Information on any ASGS changes will be made available through the ABS Statistical Geography web portal. The Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1), which on average has approximately 400 people or 160 dwellings, will be the smallest geographic region on which Census data will be available. Local Government Area (LGA) data will continue to be available as part of the ASGS into the future.

In 2016, data will not be output for Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) as it was for the 2011 Census. In 2011 this was done to assist users in transitioning from the final version of the ASGC to the ASGS.

For further information on ABS Statistical Geography see www.abs.gov.au/geography.


Since 2006, the ABS has enhanced the value of Census data through integrating unit record data with other ABS and non-ABS datasets to create new datasets for statistical and research purposes. Data integration will continue to be a central element of the Census and is an increasingly important element of effectively and efficiently delivering the broader ABS work program.

Previous integration initiatives undertaken by the ABS have successfully demonstrated that linking Census data with other datasets provides new insights into areas and groups of interest within Australian society, such as education, migrants and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These initiatives have contributed to a richer statistical view of Australian society and an improved evidence base for decision making for the community, researchers and policy makers, in a cost effective way.

The 2011 Census data integration projects have demonstrated the potential of data integration to replace direct collection, to develop new datasets (including longitudinal datasets) and to improve the quality of key estimates derived from administrative sources. These projects included the creation of the Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset, the 2011 Census to Vocational Education and Training in Schools dataset, the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD) and the Indigenous Mortality Project. The initial release of the ACLD after the 2011 Census followed the journeys of around one million people across the 2006 and 2011 Censuses and created a research tool for exploring how Australian society is changing over time. Following completion of 2016 Census processing, the ACLD will be extended to include the 2016 Census and will offer insights into the dynamics and transitions that drive social and economic change over time, as well as providing insights into how these vary for diverse population groups and geographies.

The integration of 2016 Census data with other datasets will continue the production of new statistical outputs and enduring datasets, whilst keeping the privacy and confidentiality of all Australians at the centre of all stages of the project. All personal information used in the Census and data integration projects is kept secure and confidential, in keeping with legislative requirements and ABS policies. For further information, see the section on Legal authority, confidentiality and privacy.