For households in the Census test please see the 2015 Census test website.

Census is going digital


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.

In 2016, the ABS 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.

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.

Key Census dates:
  • 1 February 2016 – Area Supervisor recruitment begins
  • 2 May 2016 – Field Officer recruitment begins
  • 1 August 2016 – Delivery of instruction letters and forms begins
  • 9 August 2016 – Census night
  • Mid-2017 – The first results from the 2016 Census released.

Register your interest Census job opportunities today.

Nature and content

To find out more about the 2016 Census, including the types of questions that will be asked and how the Census will be conducted, go to Nature and Content.