Settlement Guide

Settlement Guide: 10 things to know about the census

Source: AAP

The 2016 census is on August 9. Run every five years, the census identifies key characteristics of the population to help plan for the country’s future. This year the census goes online for the first time. So, what do you need to know?

1. The census is a compulsory survey involving residents of all dwellings on census night

You don’t have to be a citizen to fill out the census. Family visitors from overseas, international students, 457 visa holders and tourists must also complete it.



2. The information you give in the census is used to plan housing, transport, education and hospitals




3. This year the census goes online for the first time

From August 1 you’ll get a letter in the mail with your census login number and instruction on how to complete the census online.


Census online

4. You can also complete the census on paper instead of online

You’ll need to order a paper form by calling 1300 214 531.


Census form

5. You can request a translator to help you complete the census




6. You must answer every question on the census form except the one about religion

From very early in Australia’s history, it was decided that providing information on religion in the census should be an optional choice, whereas completing all the other questions should be compulsory.


Different Faiths

7. If you don’t complete the census you can get fined up to $180 per day until you complete it


Census fine


8. If you live in a regional area you may receive a visit from a Census Field Officer who will help you to complete the census


Population montage


9. The name and address you provide in the census will not be shared with any other government departments

There is a detailed privacy policy available on the ABS website.


Population Globe

10. If you are overseas on census night, you do not have to complete the census





For more information visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

To request a paper form call 1300 214 531.

If you need a translator call 13 14 50.