Every stat tells a story.

Census of Population and Housing is now overdue

Media Release

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is reminding people who have not completed their Census to do so today as it is overdue.

This week Final Reminder notices are being sent to dwellings where we have not had a response. 

The Census of Population and Housing is compulsory and counts each house and person in Australia on Census night. If your house or property was vacant on Census night, we’re asking people to please let us know by reporting not at home online.

As of Monday 30 August at 8:00am, the ABS estimates it has received 9,105,131 completed forms in the 2021 Census.

The tally is based on 7,381,157 forms submitted online through the Census Digital Service and 1,723,974 paper forms mailed to the ABS by households.

Andrew Henderson, Census Executive Director and National Spokesperson said, “It’s important that we get an accurate picture of the number of unoccupied or vacant properties because the Census counts all houses and properties across Australia in addition to counting people.

“This includes second homes, investment properties and holiday homes. This helps inform and improve service delivery, urban planning and local infrastructure in your community.

“Our Census field staff are currently visiting communities to remind those who haven’t completed to do so today. For those with completed paper forms, remember to mail the form to the ABS in the reply-paid envelope.

“In delivering reminders, the ABS is working in close collaboration with local authorities to ensure Census staff are operating in line with the relevant COVID-19 restrictions.”

You can complete today without a Census letter or form by going online and selecting the ‘Get a Census Number’ option. You can also request a paper form online, or by calling us on 1800 512 441.

For people who need assistance completing their Census, there are a range of help and support options available at www.census.abs.gov.au.

Tally information

The Census form tally below includes household online and paper forms received by the ABS as of Monday 30 August at 8:00am. The rate at which forms are received will differ across states and territories due to the different levels of paper forms provided across Australia and different delivery timeframes.

State/Territory Household forms received (online and paper)Household forms received (estimated %)*
Australian Capital Territory170,10687%
South Australia672,77285%
Victoria 2,352,59885%
New South Wales2,836,69183%
Western Australia 941,92083%
Northern Territory65,31074%

* The percentage of forms received is calculated by dividing the number of households that have submitted forms by the estimated number of households (or dwellings). The estimated number of households includes dwellings that were unoccupied on Census night, which will be removed when the final Census response rate is calculated.

**The tally for Australia is greater than the sum of all states and territories due to forms that are yet to be categorised to a particular state or territory.

Further information about communicating Census participation is available on the media hub backgrounder.

More information

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 and Field Officers in their area are legitimate?

Census instructions will feature the official Australian Bureau of Statistics logo and the 2021 Census branding. See further information about how to identify a Census Field Officer on the website.

Is the Census compulsory?

The Census is compulsory* under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and fines can apply if someone refuses to complete their Census. Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the Australian Statistician can issue you a Notice of Direction, which directs you in writing to complete the Census. The notice explains that if you don’t complete the Census, you can be prosecuted and fined up to $222 a day.

*See the 2021 Census Privacy Statement for more 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 via 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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