2016 Australian Census

Where will you be on Tuesday, 9 August 2016? The Australian Government wants to know, as that is census night.

Australia has a long and proud history of Census taking. Since the first national census in 1911, census data has played an important role in charting Australia’s history and shaping its future. Held roughly every ten years initially, since the 1940s they have been held each five years.

The news that census day coming is good, as a number of months ago there was talk of scrapping the 2016 Census altogether, simply because of the cost was exhorbitant. However it is going ahead, and while people have had the option of doing the census online in 2011, only about one-third used it. But it is expected that two-thirds of people are likely to take this option up in 2016, which makes life easier for those in today’s busy society and keeps costs down for the government.

The report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reads as follows …

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is preparing to count close to 10 million dwellings and approximately 24 million people in Australia on Census night.

The 2016 Census will be Australia’s first Census where more than two thirds of Australia’s population (more than 15 million people) are expected to complete the Census online in August 2016.

New delivery and collection procedures will make it easier to complete the Census online. In the lead up to 9 August, households will receive a letter from the ABS, addressed ‘To the Resident’, including a unique login and instructions on how to complete the Census online.

Completing the Census online will be fast, easy, secure, environmentally friendly, and help to reduce the cost of the Census to the community.

Paper forms can be requested where needed and must be completed and returned in the Reply Paid envelope provided without delay.

The ABS needs the support of everyone in Australia on 9 August next year to make the Census a success. Everyone in Australia is encouraged to participate and take advantage of the fast, easy and secure online option.

Some stats …
Some interesting statistics that the Australian Bureau of Statistics quote, are that in 2016 they will:

  • Produce approximately 327 tonnes of less paper material than in the 2011 Census – equivalent to approximately 231 family sedans
  • Travel 230,000 less kilometres to deliver household materials than in 2011 Census – equivalent to more than 5 trips around the circumference of the Earth (or 58 return trips between Sydney and Perth)
  • Use 3,800 kilograms of ink and 16,000 litres of glue to produce household letters, envelopes and forms
  • Mail 13.5 million letters to households and establishments across Australia
  • Count all of Australia’s 10 million dwellings and 24 million people
  • Employ around 39,000 temporary field staff across a variety of roles, including up to 500 people to process the data
  • Scan paper forms as they arrive using industrial scanners operating 12 hours per day, 5 days per week, over 10 weeks, scanning close to 88 million pages
  • Produce and publish over 3 trillion cells of data as a result of the information collected in the Census.
  • The Census provides an important snapshot of Australia’s people and their housing. It helps estimate Australia’s population, which is used to distribute government funds and plan services for your community, including housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals and the environment.

And for genealogists …
While the questions for the next census haven’t been finalised as yet, I have been advised that it is “expected” that the question which asks if you “want this record kept for historical purposes” is likely to be in there. So if you see it, be sure to tick YES. Your ancestors will thank you!!