Every stat tells a story.

If you haven’t completed your Census – it is overdue

Media Release

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates it has received 7,734,307 completed forms in the 2021 Census as of Monday 16 August at 8:00am.

The tally is based on forms submitted online through the Census Digital Service 6,952,502 and 781,805 paper forms mailed to the ABS by households.

Whilst the response to date is pleasing, the ABS is now focusing on households that have not yet completed their Census reminding them that it is now overdue.

Andrew Henderson, Census Executive Director and National Spokesperson said, “We’d like to thank the seven million households that have already completed their Census. For those households that haven’t completed yet, it’s not too late.

“The Census is compulsory, and we urge people to complete now.

“If you don’t have your instruction letter, you can immediately complete online by selecting our ‘Get a Census Number’ option. You can also request a paper form online, or by calling us on 1800 512 441. If you’ve already ordered a paper form, it is on its way to you.

“This week, overdue reminder letters will be sent to households that haven’t yet completed, and field staff will start following up where it is safe to do so under local COVID restrictions.

“There are a range of help and support options for people who need assistance to complete their Census by going to www.census.abs.gov.au or by calling 1800 512 441.

The Census form tally below includes household online and paper forms received by the ABS as of Monday 16 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.


Household forms received (online and paper)

Household forms received (estimated %) *

Australian Capital Territory






New South Wales



South Australia



Western Australia









Northern Territory






* 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 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 identifying and avoiding scams.

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.

Further information about the Census is available at www.census.abs.gov.au

Media notes

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