The 2016 Census embraces the digital age

As the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) continues delivering material to more than 9 million Australian households, the Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, today encouraged Australians to take part in next week's 2016 Census of Population and Housing on 9 August.

Mr McCormack said the ABS' innovative, digital-first approach to Census taking reflected the changes in Australian society, and would form the basis of Government policy development and service delivery over the coming years.

"As our economy and society continue to diversify, it is vital that we have highest quality data about our population to inform policy making that will drive economic growth and national prosperity," Mr McCormack said.

"The Census has been a pillar of our democracy, and critical to Governments for more than a century. This Government will make full use of statistics from the 2016 Census to facilitate innovation and investment as we govern through our next term."

Mr McCormack said the Government welcomes and congratulates the ABS on entering a new era of Census taking in 2016, with a majority of households expected to complete the Census online, saving taxpayers more than $100 million and delivering Census data earlier.

"This Census sees the ABS truly transition into our modern, digital economy, and will reinforce its relevance and global leadership in delivering official statistics for the benefit of Australia as a whole, our communities, and our citizens.

"Only through the Census can we get a full picture of who we are, where we live, where we come from, how we contribute to the economy, and so much more. It shows us how far we've come and will steer our nation into the future.

"I strongly encourage all Australians to participate and complete the 2016 Census to provide an accurate snapshot of Australian society as it currently stands.

"With more than 98 per cent of Australians participating in the 2011 Census, this shows the value the Australian community places in completing the Census."

People are urged to look out for a letter in the mail, addressed 'To the Resident'. The information contained in the letter, including a unique login number, will enable Australians to go online and complete their Census. In some metro, rural and remote areas Census Field Officers will drop off forms.

A dedicated telephone service has been established to assist the public with enquiries relating to the Census on 1300 214 531. There's also information on how to request a paper form if required – simply call a dedicated 24 hour paper form request line on 1300 820 275. The ABS has made additional call centre resources available to deal with an increasing number of enquiries ahead of Census night.

The online form is available now for early returns. To complete the Census online visit: https://www.census.abs.gov.au/.

The Census needs to be completed in relation to Census night, but can be completed in the days leading up to or following Tuesday 9 August.

Background information on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data collected from the 2016 Census will support funding decisions for services and infrastructure including housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals, and the environment.

Data from the 2011 Census revealed that Australians come from more than 200 countries, speak more than 300 languages, belong to more than 100 religious groups and work more than 1,000 occupations.

In 2011 Census data showed there were around 4,400 people over the age of 100 and one newborn baby is born every one minute and 44 seconds.

Key 2016 Census dates:

Late July to early Aug 2016

Census Instruction Letters and forms will be delivered

9 August 2016

Census night

Mid Aug to late Sept 2016

Household visits

April 2017

The first results from the 2016 Census released

Cristy Houghton