2089.0 - Planning the 2021 Census, Australia  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/09/2019  First Issue
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The 2021 Census of Population and Housing (Census) will be Australia’s 18th Census.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is planning the design and implementation of the 2021 Census in consultation with the community and relevant organisations. This document outlines the steps we are taking in that process.

The Census is one of the largest and the most important statistical collections undertaken by the ABS. The Census measures the number and key characteristics of people in Australia on Census night, including where we live, how old we are, our ethnicity, religion (optional to answer), income, education, and our living and housing arrangements.

Information from the Census helps governments, businesses and not for profit organisations across the country make informed decisions. The Census improves the accuracy of population estimates for Australia in each state, territory, and local government area. It informs decisions on electoral boundaries and underpins funding to states, territories and local governments. It informs decisions for services and infrastructure such as roads, childcare, hospitals and schools for every community in Australia. The Census is also a vital tool for a myriad of investment decisions made by businesses across all sectors of the economy, and is used by community groups to inform support for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia.

As our society changes and technology advances, so too must the way we collect information through the Census. The ABS is committed to ensuring the Census collects accurate and timely information, in ways that are cost-effective, easy for people to participate and assures the privacy of personal information.
We will continue to encourage people to complete their Census online and lessons from the 2016 Census are informing our approach to the 2021 Census. Of course, a digital Census will not meet the needs of everyone, so paper forms will also be available.

The questions asked in the Census also determine the usefulness of the data collected. Drawing on an extensive public consultation process and testing by the ABS, the Australian Government is considering its decision on the Census topics for 2021.

This publication outlines how we propose to conduct the 2021 Census and explains how we will protect the privacy and confidentiality of the information you provide.

We look forward to your participation in the 2021 Census and thank you for your ongoing support.

David W. Kalisch
Australian Statistician