2021 Census To Include 8 New Topics

2021 Census To Include 8 New Topics

Australian Bureau Of Statistics

ABS Tests Topics For 2021 Census To Reflect Changing Nation

Victor P Taffa

Thanks to feedback from many individuals and organisations in the community, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has identified new and existing topics for further testing and potential inclusion in the 2021 Census of Population and Housing.

8 new topics to be tested are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity,
  • Chronic health conditions,
  • Current or previous service in the Australian Defence Force,
  • Journey to education,
  • More contemporary measures of household and family relationships, including shared care of children.
  • Non-binary sex and/or gender identity,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Smoking status.

ABS will also explore enhancing existing information collected in areas such as disability and young carers.

2 topics are proposed for possible removal from the 2021 Census:

  • Household internet access (as the question is now less relevant; with most households reporting that they can access the internet due to the growth in mobile devices),
  • Number of motor vehicles in a household (as the information is available from other data sources).

ABS Director responsible for Census topic consultations, Caroline Deans, said today that the ABS’s topic review process was undertaken every Census to ensure information collected remains relevant as Australia changes.

“ABS identified the topics to be considered for the 2021 Census following an extensive public consultation process between April and June this year. This included over 450 submissions received and meetings with a range of stakeholders.” Ms. Deans said.

“ABS will now review these potential topics in-depth by consulting further with key stakeholders to refine data needs, ascertain statistical quality, assess cost and operational implications, and develop and test possible questions.”

“We want our most valuable dataset the Census to grow in its usefulness while not creating an unnecessarily long or complex form. This is especially important given the Census must be completed for every person in the country.” Ms. Deans said.

A final list of recommended new topics will be presented to the Federal Government in mid-2019 for its decision on which topics to include in the 2021 Census. The ABS will list the final 2021 Census questions in an information paper in late 2020.

“Topic consultation process is consistent with the ABS’s key principles of building trust, engaging and delivering value, and is a key milestone in our planning to ensure a successful Census in 2021.” Ms. Deans said.

Information collected in the Census underpins decisions impacting every aspect of the lives of Australians. The information is used for a range of purposes including setting electoral boundaries, allocating Federal Government funding to states and territories, planning educational and health services and other infrastructure for local communities.

Census also allows us to understand the cultural, economic and social diversity of our communities, providing information about the population across small geographic areas and long-time trends in key aspects of the lives of Australians.