ABS Statement on selection of topics for 2019 Census Test and 2021 Census

Media Statement

The 2019 Census Test is part of the ABS preparation for the next Census in 2021. It will help us test that our systems and processes work and ensure the 2021 Census is easy for people to participate, cheaper to run, and produces quality data. 

The Test will involve 40,000 households in the areas of Wagga Wagga and surrounds in New South Wales and areas south of Brisbane. A list of towns asked to participate in the 2019 Census Test is available at www.censustest.abs.gov.au

The Census Test night is 15 October. 

In 2018, ABS undertook extensive consultation on topics for the 2021 Census, and from that consultation, eight topics proceeded to further assessment and comprehensive testing. You can read more about the outcome of that consultation here

Of the eight topics short-listed following the consultation, three are in the test: non-binary sex, long-term health conditions and Australian Defence Force service. The test will not include questions relating to other new topics that are under consideration such as gender identity, sexual orientation, journey to education and smoking. In deciding which new topics would be included in the October test, we considered such things as keeping the burden we placed on responding households to a minimum, and being able to test our systems and processes effectively. 

The final selection of topics for inclusion in the 2021 Census is a decision for Government. 

The ABS has made its recommendations on topics for inclusion and removal to Government. Recommendations were based on our public consultation, stakeholder engagement and testing activities to determine the need for the data on different topics and the feasibility in collecting the information. 

Potential new topics, not included in the October test, may still be included in the 2021 Census pending the Government's decision. The ABS continues to prepare for all eventualities. 

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