Every stat tells a story.

Australians encouraged to check their letterboxes for Census instructions

Media Release

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has started sending instructions on how to complete the Census to more than 10 million Australian households ahead of the Census on Tuesday 10 August.

Around 85 per cent of all households in Australia will receive a letter that explains how to complete online or how to order a paper form.

Some households will receive a paper form and a reply-paid envelope for its return. There are instructions on the paper form if they prefer to complete it online.

Andrew Henderson, Census Executive Director and National Spokesperson said, “please check your letterbox. We’re encouraging people to complete their Census, as soon as they receive their instructions, if they know where they will be on Tuesday 10 August.

“This means you don’t have to wait and complete on a single night. We know this flexibility will make it more convenient for people to complete.

“People will be able to complete the Census online, on their mobile device or on paper. We’re also making it as easy as possible for everyone to participate in the Census with a range of support and assistance available.”

ABS expects around 75 per cent of forms to be completed online this year, compared to 63 per cent in 2016. It will take the average household 30 minutes to complete the Census.

The 2021 Census campaign message is that ‘Every stat tells a story’ highlighting how Census data is used to guide services for individuals, families and communities.

For more information, visit www.census.abs.gov.au.

More information

What is the Census?
The Census, held on Tuesday 10 August 2021, is a snapshot of who we are and tells the story of how we are changing. It is one of the largest and most important statistical collections undertaken by the ABS.

How will people complete their Census?
People will be able to complete the Census online, on their mobile device or on paper.

A number of options will be available for people who need assistance to complete their Census form including help from Census staff, and phone and online help.

Census staff will be in remote communities to help people complete the Census during July and August.

What is new with the Census?
People can complete their Census as soon as they receive their instructions if they know where they’ll be on 10 August. They don’t have to wait until Census night.

There are two new questions in the 2021 Census – the first changes to questions collected since 2006. The new questions are on long-term health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, and on defence force participation.

Conducting the Census in a COVID environment
We expect most people will complete their Census online with no in-person contact from us.

More information on conducting the Census in a COVID-19 environment can be found at Keeping the community safe during COVID-19.

How do people know if the Census instructions are legitimate?
Census instructions will feature the official Australian Bureau of Statistics logo and the 2021 Census branding. Further information about what the public can expect from us is available at Avoiding scams and false information.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on media@abs.gov.au or 1300 175 070.
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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