Using administrative data to support communities during the Census

Helping people complete the 2021 Census


It's important that every person in Australia completes the Census. We're working to make it easy for people to participate in the 2021 Census. One of the things we're doing is using administrative data to help us understand where we can help the community complete the Census.

Using administrative data to help focus our support

We talk with local groups and use past Census information to understand the communities in different places around Australia. We use this information to focus our support in areas where it's needed most. For the 2021 Census, we will use administrative data to improve our understanding of communities across Australia.

Administrative data helps us understand different communities and where they’re located now, which may have changed since the last Census. Administrative data also helps us understand the characteristics of those parts of the community who didn't complete the last Census. 

Administrative data is helping us to:

  • work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to share important information about the Census
  • organise 'fill in the Census form' sessions to give people help with the form in their language, if they speak a language other than English at home
  • work with youth organisations and schools to promote the Census in communities with large populations of young adults
  • set up support hubs in community spaces to help older people complete the Census or collect a paper form
  • estimate local response rates so our field staff are ready to help people who still need help after Census night.

The type of administrative data we use

We use information from administrative and past Census data to help us plan for local areas. This includes information such as counts of people by age, sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background and English skills.

The administrative data we use comes from:

  • the Medicare Consumer Directory
  • Centrelink registrations
  • migration information from the Department of Home Affairs
  • the Australian Taxation Office client register.

We store and use this information under strict conditions and with high levels of privacy protection.

In 2020, Information Integrity Solutions did a privacy impact assessment on using administrative data for the 2021 Census. The independent assessment found that our management and procedures for handling administrative data are strong. The assessment recommended we keep the public up to date with how we use administrative data.  This article is part of our promise to be transparent in how we use administrative data.

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