Australia's Post Census Review
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been selected in the Post Census Review – what is this?
This is an important national survey that is conducted after every Census. This survey helps us determine how many people were counted more than once, or were missed in the Census, and is used to improve estimates of Australia’s population. It is vital that we get these numbers right to improve planning for Australia’s future, including where schools, hospitals and other services are needed.
How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
Information from the Post Census Review is matched with Census information to understand how many people were missed or counted twice in the Census. Doing this enables improvements to be made to estimates of the Australian population, ensuring decisions like where schools, hospitals and other services are needed are based on the most accurate population data possible. Your participation in this survey is an opportunity to make a real difference. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.
Full results of the 2016 Post Census Review (PCR) are available free of charge for everyone on the ABS website: Census of Population and Housing: Details of Overcount and Undercount, Australia, 2016
Why was my household selected?
Where the Census aims to collect information from every person in Australia on Census night, this survey uses a scientific sampling process to collect information from a small part of the population to build a picture of Australia as a whole. All households in Australia have a chance of being selected for this survey.
Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.
It is important that all selected households complete the survey in order to make sure the results represent the whole community. Doing so ensures decisions about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.
How do I complete the survey?
The survey is conducted over the phone and usually takes less than 10 minutes. We ask a few quick questions about yourself and household, as well as where you usually live and where you were on Census night (as you may not have been home on Census night).
If you are ready to complete the survey on the spot, simply contact our team on 1800 143 967, Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday 10am to 4pm.
If we don't hear anything from you before the due date (as shown on the letter you received), one of our interviewers will contact you at your address to complete the survey with you.
We have done extensive planning on our community engagement and protecting people selected in our surveys, as well as our interviewers, during COVID-19. If you would like to know more about how the ABS is responding to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) please see how we are keeping the community safe during COVID-19.
Is the survey compulsory?
Ultimately, yes. The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which has provisions to make surveys compulsory.
Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested, unless otherwise specified by your interviewer. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential and is protected under the Act.
If the Australian Statistician directs you in writing to provide the information, you are legally obliged to do so. In recognition of the importance of the information we collect, the Act allows for penalties of up to $222 per day of non-compliance.
Who in my household will be required to participate?
This survey collects general information about each person in the household, including visitors. Anyone in your household, aged 15 years or over, can complete the survey on behalf of all the household members and visitors. The person chosen should be someone who is best placed to answer questions for everyone in the household.
What kinds of questions will you ask?
This survey collects general information about your household and includes questions about age, sex and relationships within the household. The survey also asks:
How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?
If your household has been selected to participate in this survey, you will have received a letter and flyer informing you of your selection.
For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.
If you have left your contact details, you may receive calls from numbers that you are not familiar with, including mobile phone or “unknown” numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers are teleworkers and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones, connected to our highly secure networks, to conduct interviews over the phone.
Remember - The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details.
If you are concerned, call us on 1800 143 967 and we will confirm your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.
What happens if no one in my household speaks English?
Where possible, we can arrange for an ABS Interviewer who is fluent in the language of the householder to conduct the survey over the phone. You can call us on 1800 143 967 to arrange this. If there is someone who can translate, and the person completing the survey agrees, they can help the Interviewer. Anyone aged 15 years or over can complete the survey on behalf of all household members and visitors.
Will I be paid for my time?
No. There is no provision within the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse people for the cost of providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.
How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?
We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS and is not shared with other agencies. We use the information you provide to produce statistics which are released in ways that do not allow for the identification of individuals or households.
All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.
Will the information I provide be combined with other data?
The information you provide will be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Australian households.
Information from the Post Census Review is matched with Census information to understand how many people were missed or counted twice in the Census. Doing this provides a check on the quality of the Census and improves our understanding of the Australian population. It is vital that we get population numbers right to improve planning for Australia’s future, including where schools, hospitals and other services are needed.
The ABS is committed to maximising the value of data and statistics. To do this, we may combine data with other sources. This is known as data integration. The ABS does this to create new statistics and insights about Australia’s communities, economy and environment. You can learn more by visiting www.abs.gov.au/dataintegration
Who can I contact for more information?
For help, or for more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 143 967, Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.
We acknowledge and value your time and commitment participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.