1006.0 - Forward Work Program, 2013-14 to 2016-17  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/2013   
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Contents >> Statistical Programs >> Census of Population and Housing



The Census program conducts a five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The program aims to accurately and efficiently measure the number and key characteristics of people in Australia on Census night. This provides a reliable basis to estimate the population of each state, territory and local government area, primarily for electoral purposes (including determining the number of seats allocated to each state and territory in the House of Representatives) and for distribution of government funds (Goods and Services Tax revenue) to each state and territory.

The Census of Population and Housing is the only source of detailed statistics of the numbers and characteristics of the population and its housing within small geographic areas and for small population groups, covering the whole of Australia. This information supports the planning, administration, policy development and evaluation activities of government, business and others. Preparation for Census 2016 has commenced with a public submission process for a review of content and procedures.


Online Products

Census of Population and Housing data can be accessed via a range of online tools found on the ABS website. These include products such as:

  • QuickStats and Community Profiles in which Census data are displayed based upon selected location and topic of interest, and can be viewed in different formats including thematic maps or tables
  • TableBuilder Basic and Pro: users can construct their own tables via an interactive web interface on a range of topics such as age, education, housing, income, transport, religion, ethnicity and occupation. All Census geographies are available and output can be made available in tabular, graphical or map based format.
  • A number of analytical articles have been released that present commentary and social analysis using 2011 Census data including articles on the mining boom, older Australians, education, doctors and nurses and looking back to understand how Australia has changed.

Other Products

Census data packs are available at Statistical Area 1 (SA1) level for download from the ABS website.
  • Four Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA) have been produced that provide summary measures of different aspects of the socio-economic conditions of people in a specific geographic area.
  • The Census sample files will be comprehensive 1% (Basic) and 5% (Expanded) Confidentialised Unit Record Files. These files will contain Census characteristics for a random sample of respondents on a person, family, household and dwelling basis.
  • A 5% Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset will be produced that brings together data from the 2006 and 2011 Census to build a picture of how society has changed in this period.

Customised Data Services

Where specialised information needs cannot be met by standard products, customised data services are available through ABS Information Consultancy.


The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
  • release 1% and 5% Census 2011 Confidentialised Unit Record Files - due September 2013
  • release 5% Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset - due December 2013
  • commence review of Census 2011 data and products, including seeking input from data users, in order to shape the release strategy for the 2016 Census - due 2013-14
  • test proposed changes to Census procedures and topics through a minor test of 20,000 dwellings in August 2013 and a major test of 100,000 dwellings in August 2014
  • consider public submissions received during 2012-13 and make recommendations to government on Census 2016 Content - due 2014
  • re-engineer the Census enumeration model to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, data quality and sustainability of the Census - due progressively to March 2016
  • develop enabling infrastructure and processes to support the re-engineered Census enumeration model for 2016, including a comprehensive register of residential addresses to support the use of mail as a contact mechanism for the majority of Australian homes - due progressively to March 2016
  • as part of ABS 2017 Program Delivery Division, develop the foundational components of a range of corporate capabilities that support more efficient and effective data collection - due progressively to March 2016.


Duncan Young, Assistant Statistician, Census of Population and Housing


All Census data, Census products and a range of information on the Census is available at www.abs.gov.au/census

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