Your personal information - statistical purposes

This includes survey information provided by you, a member of your household, through a business you are connected with, or information provided to the ABS through an administrative data source.

The types of personal information we hold include:

  • basic demographics (e.g. address, age, sex, marital status, relationship with other household members)
  • personal characteristics (e.g. date of birth, country of birth, languages spoken, housing tenure, education qualification, employment information, income and financial information)
  • personal identifiers (e.g. name, government related identifiers and motor vehicle registration details)

We also collect sensitive information on:
  • racial or ethnic origin
  • religious beliefs or affiliations
  • trade union membership
  • criminal record
  • health information (e.g. physical and mental health, disability and biometric).

The ABS separates identifiable information, such as names and addresses, from other information as soon as possible. The identifiable information is then stored securely and separately from the subject matter data so that data analysts cannot view your name or address with your other responses (e.g. age, sex, occupation, level of education or income). Identifiable information may be retained where respondents have been advised at the time of collection of the intention to retain to facilitate data integration projects, follow up studies or confirmation of responses.

Where sole traders and partners provide information to the ABS it is generally treated as business characteristics.

Census of Population and Housing information provided by you or a member of your household

The types of personal information we hold include:
  • basic demographics (e.g. address, age, sex, marital status, relationship with other household members, citizenship)
  • personal characteristics (e.g. date of birth, country of birth, year of arrival, languages spoken, education qualification, education attendance, employment information including voluntary work, income, mode of travel to work, provision of care, domestic activities and need for assistance)
  • personal identifier (name)
  • household characteristics (housing tenure, number of bedrooms, loan repayments/rental information, number of motor vehicles, Australian Defence Force service)
  • audio recordings of your interactions with help lines (if you consent)
  • ancestry.

We also collect sensitive information on:
  • whether you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • your religious beliefs or affiliations (voluntary)
  • health information (e.g. physical and mental health and disability).

After the Census has been conducted and forms processed, the ABS separates names and addresses from other information on the Census form. They are then stored securely and separately from each other. This means no one working with Census data is ever able to view your name or address with your other Census responses (e.g. age, sex, occupation, level of education or income). We will retain names for up to 18 months and addresses for up to 36 months from the 2021 Census.

User research and testing information provided by you

The ABS conducts voluntary research with members of the public to improve the design and content of our survey and census materials, products, dissemination channels and general communication. This includes usability tests, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. To conduct this research, we may collect:
  • contact details (name, phone number, email address)
  • basic demographics and personal characteristics (e.g. age, sex, marital status, occupation, education level)
  • sensitive information where relevant to the materials being tested (e.g. health, income)
  • video recordings and audio recordings of you during the test (with your consent)
  • written transcripts of feedback provided during testing or research sessions.

This information is only used for research purposes. The ABS deletes names and addresses from other information as soon as possible and these are stored securely and separately from each other. This means data analysts cannot view your name or address with your other responses (e.g. age, sex, occupation, level of education or income).

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