Happy Census Day 2021!

Happy Census Day 2021!

To mark Census Day 2021, Glenn Capuano gives us a recap and update on where things sit with the Census – and reminds everyone to fill in your Census form!

Keep up-to-date on all Census 2021 news.

Census Day 2021 is here at last! 10th August is the day we all count in Australia: the datasets derived from today’s national collection will provide a snapshot of the nation and every town, city, suburb and locality in it, not just for the next 5 years but contributing to a long time series dating back 110 years to the first national Census in 1911!

ABS is doing things a bit differently this year – I’ve already filled in my Census early – and as of yesterday (9th August), almost 2.4 million households had already done so.

Early completion is now encouraged by the ABS, and I think many people are nervous about what happened in 2016, with the DDoS attacks bringing down the Census server on Census night meaning most people who sat down to do the Census then had to wait until the Thursday to fill it in. The whole system has been rebuilt from the ground up this time, so here’s hoping for no issues this time. Having done the Census online, it was a breeze! It’s very streamlined and guides you through all the questions which are relevant to you – however I missed being able to see the wording of the questions which don’t apply to me – which you can do on the paper form.

This Census is possibly the most important ever, as it will reveal changes in our way of life due to the pandemic. As COVID-19 tightens its grip on Australia, Census Day this year sees almost 50% of the nation’s population in some form of lockdown (ie some form of a stay-at-home order, leaving home for only essential reasons). Census Day in Melbourne is a fine, sunny and spring-like 18 degrees (if a little windy), though restrictions mean we can only leave home for exercise up to 2 hours a day, within 5km of home.

All of Greater Melbourne is in lockdown (excluding parts around the edges of the Greater Capital City Statistical Area that the State Government considers regional in its LGA-based definition: Gisborne, Bacchus Marsh, Wallan, Kinglake). Also in lockdown is all of Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Armidale, Tamworth, Lismore, Byron and Ballina in NSW, as well as Cairns and Yarrabah in Queensland. These restrictions will have an impact on the way some people answer the questions, so it’s worth keeping in mind when we get the results next year. But many questions won’t be impacted – see this article for my thoughts on the effect of lockdown on Census data. Across this week the ABS also swings into action with people out in remote communities conducting the Census, and also interviewing homeless populations to ensure they are counted.

So if you haven’t done your Census yet, today is the day to get in there and complete it, and be a part of history. The great thing is that this time, for the first time, you don’t even have to wait to receive a code or form delivered to you. If you haven’t got anything in the mail yet, you can request a Census number to do the form without it, provided you have internet access and a mobile phone. We know that sometimes there are issues getting forms to all parts of the country on time so this is an excellent innovation.

In the next few days we’ll publish my predictions for the top 12 results to come out of the Census. The data itself won’t be released until next June – but we can certainly think about what’s likely to have changed and what will stay the same! Stay tuned!

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is our resident Census expert. After ten years working at the ABS, Glenn's deep knowledge of the Census has been a crucial input in the development of our community profiles. These tools help everyday people uncover the rich and important stories about our communities that are often hidden deep in the Census data. Glenn is also our most prolific blogger - if you're reading this, you've just finished reading one of his blogs. Take a quick look at the front page of our blog and you'll no doubt find more of Glenn's latest work. As a client manager, Glenn travels the country giving sought-after briefings to councils and communities (these are also great opportunities for Glenn to tend to his rankings in Geolocation games such as Munzee and Geocaching).

Leave a Reply