2940.0.55.002 - Information Paper: Measuring Overcount and Undercount in the 2016 Population Census, Jul 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/07/2016  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



    The ABS has developed a new digital-first approach to the 2016 Census that will provide a faster, more efficient, more environmentally-friendly Census that is easier for people to complete. The new approach will overcome difficulties in recruiting field staff and at the same time take advantage of new technologies.

    The new approach changes the way Census materials are delivered to householders and information is returned to the ABS. These changes were designed taking into account international best practices in Census procedures, and building on the Australian public's increasing access to and use of the internet, and their willing support of the Census.

    Under the traditional Census method used for the past 100 years, forms were delivered by hand to every dwelling. The new delivery approach removes the need for Census Field Officers to visit every dwelling. Instead, approximately 80% of dwellings across Australia will, in the first instance, be mailed information which includes a unique login number for the online form. The online form is designed to be used easily and securely on a variety of devices from smart phones to desktop computers. Those residents who do not wish to complete their form online will be able to request a paper form, which they can complete and mail back in a provided prepaid envelope.

    For dwellings that have not responded by a specified date, reminder letters will follow the initial correspondence. Census Field Officers will then only visit dwellings that have still not responded.

    In the remaining areas of Australia, a more traditional delivery approach will be used. In these areas, Census Field Officers will deliver materials to each dwelling, enabling residents to either complete their form online or mail back a paper form. In these areas, the Field Officers will attempt to make contact with residents when dropping off the form. Census Field Officers will then only make further visits to dwellings that have not responded.

    It is expected that about two-thirds of Australians will respond online to the 2016 Census, doubling the online response rate in 2011 of 33%.


    Central to the new Census delivery procedures is the ABS Address Register. The ABS has developed this register as the central source of addresses used in the collection of information. The main input to the register is the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF), with continuing supplementation from other available address sources and from field work undertaken by ABS officers. Each record listed on G-NAF has:
    • an address;
    • geocode information (latitude and longitude coordinates); and
    • land use details.

    Residential addresses from the register will be used for the mail-out of unique Census login numbers and other correspondence. They will also be used by Census Field Officers to follow up dwellings that have not returned a form. In areas where the register is considered to be of a lesser quality, necessitating delivery of Census materials by Census Field Officers, the officers will record the addresses of the dwellings they visit, for inclusion in the register.