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 question collects details of the address where a person usually lives. It may, or may not, be the place where the person stayed on Census Night and completed the Census form. Information from this topic makes it possible to add people away from their usual addresses on Census Night to the population counts for the areas in which they usually reside.

Information on usual residence at Census time is essential for the production of accurate state, territory and local government resident population estimates, a primary objective of the Census. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. Information gained through this question also assists with identification of people who are homeless.

Since 2006, place of usual residence has been the primary geographical basis for the release of most Census statistics. Data on a usual residence basis can be output at various geographic levels in addition to those mentioned above, to provide information on areas from small neighbourhoods to greater capital city areas and regions of states and territories. Data can be provided for several types of administrative area, such as Postal areas, Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions and Natural Resource Management Regions.

Responses collected for the Usual address at Census time question are used in conjunction with responses from other questions to compile internal migration statistics.


A question on a person’s place of usual residence at Census time was first included in the 1961 Census when people who were temporarily absent from their usual residence were asked to name their state or territory of usual residence (or overseas if appropriate). The topic was not included in 1966 but has been included in all Censuses since 1971.


The strongest possible measures are employed to ensure the security and confidentiality of information provided in the Census. The Census and Statistics Act 1905 requires that no identifiable information about an individual be made available to any other person, government agency or private organisation.


The ABS is currently considering the retention of name and address information for statistical purposes, under stringent controls. The retention of name and address information would provide a benefit to the ABS and the wider community by enabling higher quality linkage of Census data with other datasets, for approved purposes only. It would also support some improvements in geospatial statistics and the application of geospatial techniques to statistical production, and add value to the ABS Address Register as a comprehensive frame for planning future ABS surveys. As noted above, under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, retained information that could identify an individual cannot be shared outside the ABS. The ABS will be transparent with its plans to retain or integrate data by publishing information through the ABS website as they are finalised.


The following question is from the paper 2016 Census Household Form.

Image: question 8 from the paper 2016 Census Household Form.