About the Census

The Census of Population and Housing (Census) is Australia’s largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and one of the most important.

For more than 100 years, the Census has provided a snapshot of Australia, showing how our nation has changed over time, and helping us to plan for the future. It counts each household or dwelling in Australia and includes every person in Australia on Census night, including overseas visitors, in Australia, Norfolk Island, the Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The Census doesn't include Australian residents who are out of the country on Census night nor foreign diplomats and their families living in Australia.

The Census is held every five years. The Census is a snapshot of who we are. It's used to inform many things, from planning schools, healthcare and roads to local services for individuals, families and communities. 

Data collected in the Census helps governments, businesses and not for profit organisations across the country make informed decisions. In the past, Census data has been used to plan and deliver a variety of services across Australia. For example, the Royal Flying Doctors Service uses Census population data to determine health provision in rural and remote areas and predict what services are sent to what locations.

In 2016, the Census counted close to 10 million dwellings and approximately 24 million people. The next national Census will be held in August 2021.

For more information visit www.abs.gov.au/census