The eCensus – completing your Census form online

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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85 Responses

  1. Tanya Meldrum says:

    We will definitely be using eCensus. Best option all round. Please bring the AEC up to speed before the next election!

  2. Jenny says:

    I didn’t even realise there was an electronic form! So much easier. I’ll be using it.

    • joy says:

      how did you go with online census form?. we cant even find the tick to enter into the box on our ipad. Census inquiry phone number just hangs up, obviously bogged down?

  3. Peter McLean says:

    Opened up my eCensus form only to find that the field for the eCensus number is blank rendering it completely useless.

    Also the 1300 number requires you to wait on the phone indefinitely.

  4. Ruben Potts says:

    Where do I find the part which I have to use for the census ????

  5. Ruben Potts says:

    Where is the page where I write the required info??

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Ruben,

      This is not the eCensus site, just a discussion about it.

      You’ll need to go to http://www.census.gov.au which is the ABS eCensus page. You’ll need your form number and code from your Census collector.

      Enquiries about eCensus should be directed to the ABS. 1300 338 776.

  6. jack says:

    Like others ive seen: cant find the actual ecensus form to fill in.
    have used http://www.census.gov.au but cant find any link to locate the form.

    • Glenn says:

      You need a record number and eCensus envelope delivered by a Census collector. Without one of these you can’t complete eCensus. Collectors are still delivering at the moment.

  7. Michelle says:

    Hi Glenn,

    Do you know if i can submit my completed eCensus after the 9th? or does it have to submit it on the actual night? thanx

  8. Catherine Carter says:

    Can the ecensus be submitted before the 9th?

  9. paul maher says:

    this is the first time i have done this online.

  10. paul says:

    filling out census now

  11. peter says:

    With the census form number do you know how to do the check letter if it is a tick or cross

    • Glenn says:

      Census form number includes a check letter at the end, which is filled in by your Census Collector. It is not a tick or a cross.

    • Bohden says:

      mine is a C with a line through it. explain that.

    • Mel says:

      Mine has a tick in the Check Letter. Any idea what we should put?

    • Glenn says:

      It might be a V that looks like a tick?

    • Mel says:

      Thank you!! It is very clear hand writing on both the envelope and form and definately a tick! But I have tried a V and this works! I suspect the Census collector has done this by mistake! Thanks for your help 🙂

    • nick says:

      my check letter boxes have a 2 and a four in them. i thought maybe B and D would work but no so i cant log in. any ideas?

    • Glenn says:

      Not sure what’s going on there. I’d try the CIS again this morning. Hopefully they are not quite as busy as last night. Don’t worry eCensus is still available for weeks yet. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t filled in on Census night itself.

    • Matt says:

      Yeah. Our check letters were an X and… a unmistakable 7. Tried T, tried i, tried L, no idea what was intended. It’s a perfect seven, placed in the centre with good padding; not a Z with the box hiding the lower bar. Sigh.

  12. Sam says:

    Wondering if anyoe has seen any info on the date range (due dates?) or so for the eCensus mentioned on the paper foprm or the website or in the FAQ on the web or the eCensus enveope. Couldn’t find infoanywhere ….You can do this before the census date or after and how long etc. Did I miss this? (of course, found a itte info from a post here that .. can do for a few weeks after the 9th. Any ight on this? Why this info is missing or so hidden?/

  13. Sonia says:

    Well, it’s the 9th and at least 3 households in this town are still waiting for the census person.

    • Glenn says:

      If you haven’t got a form yet you should ring the Census Inquiry Service 1300 338 776 and they will send a form to you and also get a message to the collector that they may have missed dwellings.

  14. Chris says:

    No forms ever delivered. No visit from census person. Try to get eCN and web site tells me to call info number. Info line so busy that I cannot get through. Perhaps no one wants our information.

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Chris, keep trying! I’m sure being Census day that they’re very busy. The eCensus is open until September 5th, so it doesn’t matter if it isn’t filled in tonight. If you use the ABS website and request a Household Paper form you can put in your details and you’ll get an eCensus number mailed too, so you can do it online.

      http://www.abs.gov.au/census

    • Jayde says:

      Same problem here. I didn’t get anyone come to my door and it’s not easy to find any information out! On the phone on hold right now as I type this. This morning when I called they just directed me to the website, but the website is not easily telling me what to do if I did not recieve a census! It’s probably on there somewhere but I can’t find it.

    • Jayde says:

      Finally just got through. Took about five minutes. Lady on the phone was helpful, got my information and I’m apparently going to get an SMS with the two numbers I need to fill out the form. So that’s good.

  15. emylee says:

    My husband works away from home and i would like to know if i still have to include him on our form as being here? No one has given him a form of his own at work. He wont be home for a another week or so. Is this about where everyone is on that night?

    • John says:

      If he’s at a motel or similar they will have a form for him there.

    • moi says:

      You can give him yr census number providing you have not submitted the form and he can fill it in from where he is. Alternatively, call him and ask him if he wants you to fill out the form. As long as he is not counted somewhere else it is all ok.

  16. louise says:

    Love the idea of eCensus – pity it’s not working. Can’t log in and can’t get anyone on the ‘phone. Well done ABS!

  17. Michele says:

    Just opened my eCensus form and the eCensus Number field is blank. I tried calling the Census Inquiry Service, but a recorded message informed me the service is not currently available. Great, looks like I won’t be completing the Census tonight.

    • moi says:

      You probably looked at the receipt number so to speak… look a little higher there is a number there.

  18. Mary says:

    how do you no if you have completed your form correctly online can anyone help me please

    • moi says:

      Just fill in how many people in your household, If you look on the right hand side you will see person #1 #2 etc…. fill those in it will prompt you if you have missed certain information.

  19. sharlo says:

    Same here, went to use eCensus but it asks for an envelope number, trouble is no envelope was supplied. Tried to ring the help number but office is closed, you would think they would keep the lines open until late on census night!

    • Glenn says:

      You can go online to the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au/census) and go to “Request a form”. If your collector delivered a household form but not an eCensus envelope they should be able to SMS you the required number to complete eCensus. It’s open for several weeks yet so don’t worry that you couldn’t do it on the night!

  20. Lisa says:

    I’m annoyed! I threw out my pack as I heard on the radio I can complete the census online. Then I find out I needed the number off the form!! WhatThe!!

  21. Tristan says:

    How do I find my eCensus number?

    • moi says:

      i’t’s in the inside of the census form you were sent or received either in the mail or in person. All you need to do is open the envelope.

  22. Dianne says:

    Cant read the last check letter for the census form number. Looks like a backwards C. No one else can read it either. Cant get anyone on the phone.

  23. Glenn says:

    To all those asking questions about filling in the eCensus, unfortunately we can’t help you, as we are only commentators on Census issues, not running the Census. The only thing I’d say is that undoubtedly the Census Inquiry Service is deluged tonight, being Census night, but you can do the eCensus right up to the end of August, so there’s plenty of time to ring the CIS over the next few days and get them to clear up any issues.

  24. Darren Taljaard says:

    By what date do I need to complete my ecensus form and submit it?

    • Glenn says:

      Darren – all Census forms are meant to be filled out with reference to yesterday, Tuesday, August 9th – but the eCensus is open for the rest of August and accepting submissions that whole time. Collectors are collecting paper forms for the next few weeks.

  25. moi says:

    My partner was working and told me not to fill out his details…. When he got home I had already submitted my part without his info, Now what…?? He could not get back onto my listing.

    • Glenn says:

      That’s no good. I’d say you might have to do a paper form for collection as well. But you should ring the Census Inquiry Service and they will let you know what to do. 1300 338 776.

  26. Anne says:

    I have tried several time but keep getting error codes. I have two forms to fill one for my mum who lives next door and has no internet. I loved the idea of doing it online but miserable that it does not work. I expect more from a gov that what info but is no prepared to put up correct programs

  27. Tracie says:

    I’m STILL waiting to receive my form – not delivered in person. I’ve requested one via some web site I found, was advised it would be delivered by Australia Post (???????), and cannot get anyone on the ‘support’ number – censusational!

    • Glenn says:

      Yes, they’ll post you out a form if you have no form at all. The Census Collector will get a message that this has been done hopefully alerting them to the fact that they might have missed one or more dwellings. The eCensus is open for several weeks yet so you won’t miss it!

  28. Glenn says:

    Well my family filled out our eCensus last night, and I have to say it was a breeze. With millions of people doing it online in one night I was amazed how fast and responsive the application was. Took about 20 mins for 4 people and it guided through the form omitting questions not relevant. Well done ABS on a superb system!

    The main problems people seem to be having are where collectors have written the record numbers down wrong so the system won’t accept them. When you have a workforce of 30,000 people a few issues like this are to be expected, and this is why eCensus is open for the rest of August so people can submit later if unable to do it on the night.

  29. Andrew says:

    Filled out the ecensus last night. Was very easy to complete. However we were not given the choice of online or a form considering we never received a form. We received something with a couple of numbers on it to go online and complete the form but no form for if we had chosen to do it manually.

  30. Peter says:

    We had no form delivered to our house, nobody answers the 1300 number it tells me to go to the website. It’s all to hard.

    • Glenn says:

      Keep trying – your best chance is probably via the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au/census) and click the bit where it says if you have not received a Census form click here. You will need to order a household form but if you want to do eCensus, an eCensus envelope comes with it too.

      Also check your meter box and under your doormat. Sometimes collectors leave them there if you’re not home.

  31. Norlyper Carpio says:

    We will definitely be using eCensus. Best option all round. Please bring the AEC up to speed before the next election!

  32. Alisha says:

    I didn’t receive a Census form either!

  33. Kevin says:

    I filled it out the old fashion way on paper so when do they come knocking to collect it. After 6? Do you leave it at the door in a envelope?

    • Simone says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Your Census collector will come back to your house to collect your paper form. If you were home when your form was delivered then the collector may have asked you when was the best time to come back. If not, please be patient, because they will need to collect it from you personally and will try up to 5 times (so you don’t need to constantly be at home for the next two weeks). I do not recommend leaving your form outside on the off chance your collector will drop by when you’re out.

  34. Millie says:

    Where do i get a form number? I never got the form and I can’t complete it online without the number. I tried calling the helpline and its says we are currently not able to provide help!!!!! Can someone HELP ME!!

    • Simone says:

      Hi Millie,

      Sorry to hear that you didn’t receive your Census form. Please keep trying the Census Inquiry Service, or you can order them online from the ABS website as well.

  35. Tara says:

    I am the only person that lives at my residence and I wasn’t home at all on the 9th. I am down as a second person on someone else s form. do I still complete my form? if so do I do it as person 1 from the start or just go to question 53 as someone who was absent?

  36. neil vanderkolk says:

    we never received a census form, we must not be important enough .who do i send my fine for failing to deliver to ??

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Neil,

      Ring the Census Inquiry Service 1300 338 776, tell them you didn’t get a form, they’ll send one out and the relevant collector will get a message to let them know that they’ve missed one.

      You also might want to check under your doormat or in your meter box. Sometimes they’ve been left there.

      Glenn

  37. Danni says:

    I filled in my form online, and threw out all the details. Then I heard ALOT of people hadn’t done it properly and now I cant check whether mine submitted or not. I don’t want to get a fine- I’m worried.

    • Glenn says:

      Don’t worry Danni, ABS don’t fine you if you’ve made an honest attempt!

      If you were unsuccessful in submitting the eCensus, your collector won’t receive a message and will return to collect a form. At that time you could request another eCensus envelope and fill it in again, remembering to hit “Submit” this time. You have until September 5th. If the collector doesn’t return, that means you did it correctly in the first place and they’ve got the message it was submitted.

      Glenn

  38. karmichael Jones says:

    How much is the fine and how do they know iwho lives in the house or where someone lives how do you get that info if its confidential And what does our income where we work how much we get paid and if we worked last week have to do with improving the communitie

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Karmichael,

      Income is one of the most important questions in the Census for demographers – it gives us information about the economic resources of populations, need for particular services to assist those with limited means, and helps us understand gentrification and social change within suburbs and towns, including the need for different housing types. A lot of people for some reason are suspicious of the income question – particularly those on high incomes – in fact most of the interest in the data is at the low income end, the ABS do not share any data on individuals with the tax office, and in any case, it is collected in broad ranges which would be useless to the tax office even if they did.

      Hours worked is particularly important in looking at the economic productivity of an area and also addressing policy around work-life balance and child care needs in the community.

      Please see our profile.id and economy.id sites for an indication of how these variables are used. Remember that the ABS has no interest in you personally, only in the aggregate statistical picture of the community.

      As far as the fine goes – it only applies if you outright refuse to do the form, not if you just return it late or anything. In this case it can be applied at up to $110 per day from Census day, but you would receive plenty of warning including being directed in writing to complete the form. It’s a lot of effort to go to to avoid filling in a form that takes 20 minutes every 5 years! In any case, the vast majority of people have no problem with filling in the form due to the wealth of information on it (most people will have use of Census data at some point), and the questions are actually far less intrusive than what many people have on social media sites or held by private companies which don’t have the ABS safeguards on confidentiality.

      Glenn

  39. Julie says:

    My census form number does not have a no/letter in all the boxes. Is this why I get a 920 error code when I try to log in?

    • Glenn says:

      Most likely that’s the case – Form numbers are 7 digits, check letter then 4 digits, check letter. If you persist it may let you login after a few tries with an incorrect number but probably better to ring the CIS (1300 338 776) and get them to issue a new form number based on your address.

  40. Lasia says:

    I had submitted the eCensus online before 9th August, and thew my pack away.

    But I heard many people said i do need to return the paper even I have done the eCensus. Is it true???? I am worry I will get fine….

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Lasia,

      Don’t worry, if you submitted your eCensus correctly your collector won’t return and the ABS already has your completed form. You won’t get a fine.

      It’s fine to throw out the blank paper form, but you should keep your receipt number for a while as proof you’ve done the eCensus. Even if you didn’t keep that, as long as you hit “Submit” you should be fine.

      Glenn

  41. Tom says:

    Hi, my friend was at a friend’s house on census night and they did not fill out the form but we did that night. As my friend lives with us we already have submitted the form but without my friends information. Does my friend still need to fill out the form? As well as a different census number as I can’t remember our number?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Tom,

      I suspect that your friend would need to fill in a new eCensus with the original form number and the records will be merged at the ABS – but your best bet is to ring the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 338 776 and ask them. Today is the last day you can do an eCensus, so they should be able to give you a new code over the phone,

      Glenn

  42. matt says:

    My census collector never came around to collect my form. What do I do with it now?

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Matt,

      If you completed eCensus you can recycle your blank form – the collector won’t come back.

      If you didn’t complete eCensus but filled in a paper form and the collector didn’t return to collect it, you can still post it back to the ABS at the address:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics
      Census
      Reply Paid 86331
      Melbourne VIC 8060

      No need for a stamp as it’s a reply paid address.

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