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2026 Census topic consultation
One of the first things we need to do is to determine what the most important information is for us to collect in the Census. We will be providing two opportunities for the public to provide input into the Census topics. Right now we need to understand what the Australian public would like the Census to collect.
We are inviting everyone in Australia who needs the Census to inform their decisions to participate in this consultation. We want to make sure we start with the full picture of what people need before we start looking at what topics we should take forward to a further evaluation and testing. So, if you have an information need that you think the Census could help answer, please let us know.
It’s all about the national need. Is the topic you’re asking us to collect of national importance? Is there a need for the data at the national level, and either the local level or for small population groups, and finally is there going to be a continuing need for data on this topic following the Census?
You can learn more about the 2026 Census topic review process and how to make a submission on the ABS website, abs.gov.au/census. You’ll also find a link to register for our live webinar which will happen on Tuesday 7 March and there you’ll be able to hear how to make a high-quality submission.
Census data is one of the only ways to get small area and small population data for regional and remote Australia and we need to start the consultation process now as there are a number of steps required before we make a recommendation to the Australian Government. We’re going to be providing two opportunities for the public to provide input into Census topics. Right now, we need to understand what you would like the Census to collect to inform the decisions you need to make.
We’re asking what data is needed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for the 2026 Census and really, it’s an opportunity to identify and connect with communities and households about what matters to them. The consultation is open until 28 April. More information on the process and how submissions can be provided in on our ABS website.
It’s about better understanding the changing priorities that are being felt in communities. By participating we can try to ensure that the Census information can be improved so that we can continue to help organistions understand the needs of communities as they see it and how to potentially better service those needs.
We will be reaching out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community groups and taking on any feedback in terms of what their thoughts are following the 2021 Census. We are encouraging organisations to think about the topics pertinent to them and if there are those topics of interest to consider partnering on their submissions as well.
Essentially this first part is about understanding unmet needs. We will review the feedback received to understand the needs of the community at this point. In June we will share what we’ve heard and ask for feedback on the different topics that are identified for the 2026 Census.
2021 Census second data release
Ten years ago, 45 per cent of Australians were working 40 hours or more a week. The Census data released today has shown this has fallen to 38 per cent in 2021.
The median hours worked by Australians remained unchanged at 38 hours. Interestingly, School Principals worked as many hours as Surgeons, with each recording a median of 50 hours worked a week.
This Census counted 7,600 ‘super’ Australians who were working, studying, caring for others, doing more than 15 hours of domestic work and volunteering.
The 2021 Census data released today provided a fascinating snapshot of employment and education in Australia. Trends and emerging fields of work and study can be seen in the Census data.
The four biggest industries are Health Care, Retail, Construction and Education - with these fields accounting for over 40 per cent of Australia's workforce.
The most common fields of study in Australia are Business, Teaching, Nursing and Building. in 2016, Business was also the most common field of study.
In 2021, Sale Assistants, Registered Nurses and General Clerks were the top three occupations in Australia, as they were in 2011 and 2016.
Qualifications in Southern Asian Languages more than doubled since the 2016 Census, becoming the third fastest growing field of study. This is in line with Punjabi emerging as one of the top five languages used at home and the continued growth in Indian and Nepalese communities throughout Australia.
On Census day, we counted more than 2.5 million people working from home. One in four workers in capital cities were working from home, compared with one in eight people outside the capitals.
Both the Arts and Recreation Services and Construction industries saw a higher proportion of people working zero hours in those states that were affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The number of people employed as Delivery Drivers increased by more than 70 per cent since the 2016 Census.
Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the second set of data from the 2021 Census, which helps us to understand our work and study.
The second release of 2021 Census data provides insights into Australia’s workforce, the hours worked, how people travelled to work – or didn’t, what qualifications we have and where people are moving in Australia.
I encourage people to explore the Census data that’s available on our website – we’ve got lots of tools to help people select their data of interest and find reliable, rich and fascinating data.
Census data released today gives us a snapshot into the working lives of Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it also reveals the changes that have occurred since the 2016 Census.
It's really important everyone completes the 2021 Census. Because it tells the story of who we are and how we are changing as a country. It's used for many things from planning schools, healthcare and roads to local services for individuals, families and communities.
The data collected from the Census helps community groups, businesses and Government at all levels make important decisions about transport, schools, healthcare, roads and builds. Those sort of things. It is also use to plan local services for individuals, families and community.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
The Census really helps tell the stories of our communities over time and also shows the communities strengths, and what’s needed to help them continue to grow.
The Census is used to make decisions about a whole range of things. So getting the number count really helps making decisions around housing, schools, early learning, health clinics, aged care, jobs, roads, language centres and community programs. So it's crucial to have those numbers to support those programs or any infrastructure that’s needed.
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