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 has been confirmed.

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

    The Australian Parliament, through the tabling of Regulations, approves the topics to be included in the Census.

    For the 2021 Census, the ABS will add new questions on health conditions, and Australian Defence Force (ADF) service. Questions on internet access in households will no longer be asked, given increased mobile internet usage on personal devices outside the home.

    These are the first significant changes to the information collected in the Census since 2006. The changes allow the Census to collect data on long-term health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, to inform health policy and planning for community services.

    Collecting information about ADF service will provide a better understanding of the circumstances of Australia’s veteran community and support better provision of services for this group.

    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, stroke 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 ( 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.

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