2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Jan 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Census Test a Success

A Major Census Test of 20,000 dwellings was recently held in parts of Melbourne and Beechworth, Victoria. The testing included both urban and rural areas to ensure all enumeration procedures were effectively tested. The test was instrumental in ensuring that procedures and processes work smoothly for the next Census in 2006.

Two types of Household forms and two different types of Collector Record Books were trialled, along with procedures for the enumeration of difficult areas.

Secure apartment buildings present particular enumeration problems due to the difficulty in gaining access. The people that live in these sorts of buildings are often busy and tend not to spend much time at home, making them difficult for collectors to come into contact with. In these situations, residents are strongly encouraged to either mailback their census form or complete it online.

The test also allowed the testing of a new system of text message notifications. The ABS plans to use text messages to inform collectors when a dwelling has returned their form electronically or when a mailback has been received for that dwelling. This means that collectors are saved a second trip to the dwelling to pick up a completed form.

Based on the results from the test, it is estimated that the field communications system will be required to automatically send over 1.4 million text messages to collectors in 2006.

There was an encouraging take-up rate for people completing their Census forms online. Based on the responses to the test, it is anticipated that there may be a national take-up rate of up to 15% for the eForm in the 2006 Census.

Major upgrades have also been made to the processing systems since the 2001 Census, but as the systems become more complex, integration has become a key issue. There are challenges with integrating eForm returns, mailbacks, and traditional paper forms retrieved by the collector, ensuring no-one is missed or counted twice.

The information gathered in the test is for evaluation purposes only and will not be published by the ABS.