Every stat tells a story.

Field Officers visit communities reminding people to complete the Census

Media Release

Field Officers are visiting communities across the country this week dropping off reminders or a paper form to encourage people who haven’t completed the Census to do so today.

As of Monday 23 August at 8:00am, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates it has received 8,762,036 completed forms in the 2021 Census.

The tally is based on forms submitted online through the Census Digital Service 7,255,907 and 1,506,129 paper forms mailed to the ABS by households.

Andrew Henderson, Census Executive Director and National Spokesperson said, “while the response to date is positive, there are many people who still need to complete their Census and a reminder from a Field Officer is a prompt to do so.   

“Every response matters. It’s important to remember that Census data helps plan and deliver crucial services to individuals, families, and communities so we urge people to complete their Census today.

“People can complete online at www.census.abs.gov.au or by calling us on 1800 512 441 to request a paper form. If you’ve already completed a paper form, remember to mail it back as soon as possible by using the reply-paid envelope provided. 

“The ABS is working closely with state and territory governments to ensure our Field Officers are operating in line with the local COVID-19 restrictions.

“Ultimately, the health and safety of the community and our staff is our highest priority.

“We’re asking the community to be kind and respectful towards our Field Officers who are doing an important job in challenging circumstances during the pandemic.”

For people who need assistance completing their Census, there are a range of supports available at www.census.abs.gov.au or you can call us on 1800 512 441.

The Census is compulsory under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and fines can apply if someone refuses to complete their Census.

Tally information

The Census form tally below includes household online and paper forms received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as of Monday 23 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/TerritoryHousehold forms received (online and paper)Household forms received (estimated %)*
Australian Capital Territory166,96884%
South Australia 647,58480%
New South Wales2,732,64478%
Western Australia902,83778%
Northern Territory60,69667%

*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.
Back to top of the page