Review of 2021 Census topics

    Review of 2021 Census topics

    The five yearly Census provides critical data to inform Australia's important decisions. Every Census, the ABS makes a recommendation to the Australian Government on the topics that should be included in the Census. The ABS has reviewed what information is most beneficial to collect in the 2021 Census and has made recommendations to Government. The final decision on 2021 Census topics will be released in mid 2020.

    Tabling of the Census and Statistics Amendment (Statistical Information) Regulations 2020

    The Census and Statistics Amendment (Statistical Information) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) have been tabled in Parliament. The Regulations outline what information can be collected in the 2021 Census.

    The changes to the Regulations will allow the Census to collect important new data on long-term health conditions, service with the Australian Defence Force and remove the outdated internet access question.

    The Government determines what information is collected in the Census. The ABS identified topics for Government consideration based on public consultation, stakeholder engagement and testing activities to determine the need for data and the feasibility of collecting the information.

    New long-term health conditions question

    Through the Census, the ABS is seeking to collect high level information on long-term health conditions. This includes arthritis, asthma, cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, lung conditions and mental health conditions. Information on long-term health conditions will inform preventive health programs and funding for local services.

    Example question from 2019 Census Test: Has the person been told by a doctor or nurse that they have any of these long-term health conditions?



    New Australian Defence Force service question

    The inclusion of Australian Defence Force service topic will enable better delivery of services and support for veterans. Veterans are a vulnerable group with potential to experience homelessness and have specific health and disability needs.

    Example question from 2019 Census Test: Has the person ever served in the Australian Defence Force?
Has the person ever served in the Australian Defence Force?
What did the ABS public consultation process involve?


The 2007.0 Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Topics, 2021 provides important details on: 
    • what information is collected in the Census;
    • what stakeholders told us prior to public consultation; and
    • what was the criteria for deciding what to collect; and
    • what was the process for making a submission.

The ABS released the Census of Population and Housing: Topic Directions 2021 (cat.no.2007.0.55.001) on 14 November 2018 which provides information on:
  • the consultation process and the key topic areas people addressed in their submissions;
  • what additional information the ABS is considering to collect;
  • what information might not be collected in the next Census; and
  • next steps to inform our recommendation to Government.