Census 2021 consultation – call for topic suggestions
Is the Census missing something?
If you follow our blog, it’s likely you read and enjoy the fruits of the Census. But do you think the Census is missing something? Is there a part of our community that’s being overlooked? Is there an emerging issue you’re aware of, that Census data would shed light on, help quantify, and therefore address?
Now’s the time to speak up.
I previously wrote about the ABS consultation on new topics to go into the 2021 Census. This consultation asks for public input about how Census questions should be changed, and we are keen to put in a submission.
We provide Census data to over 300 Local Government Areas Australia-wide, presenting it in an easy-to-use format to help you tell the story of your area, advocate for and engage with your community.
As such, we are able to represent our clients in interactions with the ABS, so there is an opportunity for us to put in a submission. While you can put in your own submission (and we encourage this), we would like to consolidate the experiences and knowledge of our clients into our own submission as well.
On that basis, we are calling for any of our clients to suggest new topics or changes to topics you’d like to see on the 2021 Census. What are the burning issues you really need data to inform? Please contact us either through a comment to this blog, or directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few topics which the ABS are already looking at for 2021:
- Secondary home ownership
- Shared parenting
- Long-term health conditions
- Journey to Education
- More detail on sex/gender identification
- Reviewing the need for assistance/disability question
Are any of these going to be useful in informing Local Government policy? If they are relevant to your work, please comment and let us know how you would use it (particularly at the local area level). Are there other topics you really need info for? Please also let us know.
Vote to keep a question
The ABS have flagged (again – this comes up every Census) the possibility of removing the “Number of motor vehicles” question as they believe it’s collected elsewhere. I know that many of our council clients use this, so if you’d like to argue for the retention of this topic, please say so!
While we encourage any and all feedback to this call for input, the submission itself will ultimately need to address the following criteria:
- the topic is of current national importance
- there is a need for data from a Census of the whole population
- the topic can be accurately collected in a form which the household completes themselves
- the topic would be acceptable to Census respondents
- the topic can be collected efficiently
- there is likely to be a continuing need for data on the topic in the following Census
- there are no other suitable alternative data sources or solutions that could meet the topic need
We can answer these – but if you are suggesting a topic to us, have a think about some of the arguments for including it in the Census (bearing in mind that there is little scope to change the length of the form, so when something is added, usually something has to be dropped off).
We look forward to hearing from you!