2026 Census topic assessment criteria
The ABS considers requests for new or changed topics for the Census against a set of criteria. 2021 Census topics are also reviewed against the same criteria. This process identifies if the topic should be recommended to the Australian Government for inclusion in the 2026 Census. These criteria have been informed by the United Nations Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses.
A successful Census relies on strong community support. This support is achieved through collecting data of national importance while also ensuring the Census is easy to complete and not seen as being too intrusive.
The first step in this process is to assess the public value of collecting data on the topic. To do this, we collate the evidence provided in the submissions by topic and then consider whether:
|1. The topic is of current national importance.
|2. There is a need for data at the national level, and either the local level or for small population groups.
|3. There is likely to be a continuing need for data on the topic following the Census.
The ABS further assesses topics that rate strongly against the public value criteria. This assessment helps to determine if the Census is the most appropriate way to provide data on the topic. The criteria are:
|4. There are no other suitable alternative data sources or solutions that could meet the topic need.
|5. Data on the topic can be collected efficiently.
|6. A representative of the household would be willing and able to answer questions on the topic for each member of the household.
In addition to assessing the topics individually, the ABS considers if the combination of topics will maintain a high level of public support for the Census. This includes the overall size and complexity of the Census form, and if collecting data on a topic will impact how the public answers questions on other topics.