What is the Census?

The Census is the most comprehensive snapshot of the country and tells the story of how we are changing.

The last Census was on Tuesday 10 August 2021. Planning for the next Census in 2026 is currently underway. 

Every five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics counts every person and household in Australia. We call this the Census of Population and Housing.

The Census is the most comprehensive snapshot of the country and tells the story of how we are changing. It includes around 10 million households and over 25 million people. Census data tells us about the economic, social and cultural make-up of the country.

The Census form asks questions about things such as your age, country of birth, religion, ancestry, language used at home, work and education.

An independent report found every $1 we spend on the Census creates $6 of value to the Australian economy.

For more information on why we run the Census, you can watch the video “Why have a Census?”.

How the Census benefits you?

Having the right numbers means the right services can be provided in your community. Information from the Census helps communities, governments and businesses across the country make informed decisions.

Census data helps inform services that improve the lives of people, families and communities. For example:

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service uses the information to make sure people in rural Australia can get the health care they need
  • Council on the Ageing uses the information to help understand the issues affecting older Australians.

Read more Census stories about how Census data impacts your community.

You can also watch the video “Ever wonder how Census data is used?”.

Is my information confidential and secure?

Your personal information is protected by law and isn’t shared with anyone. This includes other government agencies. You can’t be identified by the information you share about yourself and your family in your Census form.