Form type (FTCP)

Latest release
Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable indicates the type of form a person used to submit their 2021 Census responses.

For the 2021 Census, information was collected in a number of ways from the Australian public. For most people, information was returned to the ABS via either an online form or a paper form.

A Census instruction letter was delivered to most dwellings in mail-out areas across Australia. In 2021, approximately 85% of dwellings were in mail-out areas. Each letter had a unique login code which respondents could use to access an online form. The letter also contained information on how to request a paper form.


All persons


1Personal or household paper form
2Personal or household Eform
3Other form types

Number of categories: 3 

Category definitions

Question(s) from the Census form

This variable is not collected from a question on the Census form.

How this variable is created

All paper forms were mailed to the ABS Data Capture Centre (DCC). Online forms were encrypted and sent securely to the ABS DCC, these forms were then decrypted and loaded into systems alongside paper forms.

This variable was created using the information obtained about the form types received at the ABS DCC. 

History and changes

This variable has been included in Census basic and detailed microdata products since 2016. There have been no changes made to this variable.

Data use considerations

In 2016, the ABS developed a new digital approach to the Census enumeration model. This approach provided a faster, more efficient, environmentally friendly Census than any previous Australian Census. The 2021 Census enumeration model was based on the successful elements of the 2016 Census with additional improvements to the way Census materials were delivered and collected.

The 2021 Census was the first time that the ABS actively encouraged households to complete and submit their Census form as soon as they received their materials, meaning this could be done before Census Night on 10 August. The letters also emphasised 12 August as a date after which the household may receive contact from the ABS. This messaging was designed to provide a ‘response window’, where previous censuses highlighted Census Night only.

Related variables and glossary terms

Useful links

Back to top of the page