Census 2021
10 Aug 2021

What you need to know about the Census

Census night is 10 August 2021.

What is the Census?

Every five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics counts every person and home in Australia. This is called the Census. It asks questions about things like your age, country of birth, religion, ancestry, language used at home, work and education.

Everyone who is staying in your home on 10 August 2021 must be included. This includes international visitors and babies.

Why you need to do the Census

The Census helps us understand what we need now, and into the future.
Information from the Census helps governments, businesses and not for profit organisations across the country make informed decisions. The Census is also used by community groups to help plan local services for individuals, families and communities. For example:

  • libraries use Census data to understand languages spoken in local communities so they can stock in-language books for their readers
  • supermarkets use Census data to inform the products to stock for their customers – including international foods
  • broadcasters use Census data to determine which in-language radio and media services are needed for their listeners

How your information is kept safe

Your personal information is protected by law. It isn’t shared with other government agencies or anyone else. You can’t be identified by the information you share about yourself or your family in your Census.

How and when to complete the Census

You can complete your Census online, by paper, or with help from us. You can start as soon as you get instructions, if you know who will be home on Census night.

  • Most homes will get instructions in the mail to complete online. This will have your unique Census number and temporary password. Go to www.census.abs.gov.au when you receive your instructions in early August 2021. If you want to use a paper form, call the 24-hour automated paper form request service on 1800 130 250. You will need your 16-digit Census number from your Census letter.
  • Some homes will receive a paper form. This also applies to international students and visitors staying in venues such as hotels, camping grounds or student accommodation. Once completed, return to us using the reply-paid envelope that will be provided. There are instructions on the form if you prefer to complete online.

The Census form is in English only. You can ask family or friends to help with your Census. There will also be Census staff who can show you how to fill in the form.

Who needs to complete the Census

The Census is compulsory.* This means everyone in Australia except diplomats and their families must complete the Census wherever they are on Census night. This includes visa holders, tourists and international visitors like students studying at Australian universities.

Where to get help

There is support available if you need help to complete your Census.

  • Go to Find help near you to find face-to-face help near you.
  • Call us on 1800 512 441 to speak to someone in English.
  • For help in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450.