2008.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/11/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All
November 20, 2009

Marking 100 years of Australian Censuses

The Australian Statistician, Brian Pink, today welcomed the announcement made by the Prime Minister and the Assistant Treasurer Sen. Nick Sherry that the next Australian Census of Population and Housing will be held on Tuesday, 9 August, 2011.

"This will mark 100 years of national Censuses in Australia," said Mr Pink, "the first national Census was taken at midnight between 2 and 3 April, 1911.

"The Australian Bureau of Statistics has always relied on the participation of the Australian public to make the Census a success. We want to continue that great tradition with the sixteenth national Census in 2011," said Mr Pink.

The Census of Population and Housing plays a foundational role in Australia's democracy. It is used as the basis for the estimation of the population of Australia and each of the states and territories which are used to determine the number of seats each state and territory has in the House of Representatives. The estimates are also used to determine the share of annual GST funding for each of the states and territories.

Data from the Census is also critical in developing government policy and in planning the delivery of services and as a key input to a broad range of other public and private investment decisions. The Census provides a snapshot of the social and cultural composition of Australian families and households.

The upcoming Census will build on the success of previous Censuses. "Like the last Census in 2006, householders will have the option to complete their Census form safely and simply online via the eCensus" said Mr Pink. The traditional paper Census form will still be available to householders.

Changing times, changing Census

In 1911In 2011
  • 7,300 Census collectors were employed.
  • Around 40,000 collection staff will be employed...
  • Collectors worked mainly on foot, but some travelled by horseback or bicycle.
  • ...still working mainly on foot, some by motor vehicle - and even some by helicopter to remote parts of Australia.
  • A collector was expected to cover the costs of fodder for their horse.
  • Collectors will be paid motor vehicle fuel allowance.
  • The Census form asked whether we were subjects of the British Empire.
  • The Census will collect a range of information reflecting our multicultural heritage, including language spoken at home, country of birth, ancestry and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status.

Further information can be found in Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content (cat. no. 2008.0).