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International Mother Language Day – a reminder of the importance of Census language data

Media Release
Released
19/02/2021

Every five years, the Census provides a snapshot of the diverse mix of languages and cultures in Australia.

With just under six months to go until the Census, International Mother Language Day on 21 February is an opportunity to celebrate the many languages used in Australia, and the connection that migrant communities have to their first language.

“There are over 300 languages spoken in Australia and the Census captures the extent of the linguistic diversity across Australia,” said Andrew Henderson, Census national spokesperson and Executive Director, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“It also helps to plan important local services for migrant communities by providing a snapshot of languages used at home and levels of English proficiency,” Mr Henderson said.

The Census counts every person and home in Australia. The next Census is on Tuesday 10 August 2021.

The ABS will be employing 38,000 people from around Australia to help deliver the Census.

“It’s really important that our Census staff reflect the diversity of the community. We’re opening our Census Local Engagement Officer jobs on 22 February and are encouraging people from a range of backgrounds to apply for the roles,” said Mr Henderson.

Census Local Engagement Officers will work within local communities and organisations to ensure people from diverse backgrounds are counted and receive the support they need to participate in the Census.

The Census asks questions about age, country of birth, ancestry and importantly, language. It helps governments, businesses and not for profit organisations across the country make informed decisions. For example:

  • media broadcasters use Census data to decide what languages to offer in-language radio services in
  • public libraries use Census data to plan and stock in-language books and resources for their local communities
  • community groups use Census data to inform where to hold in-language play groups to support children.

Visit www.abs.gov.au/census for more information about the Census and current job vacancies

 

    Media notes