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Australia has a long and proud history of Census taking, playing an important role in mapping Australia’s history and shaping its future.

Questions asked in the Census

Since the first national Census in 1911, the content of Australian Censuses has changed over time. Some topics have been included in each Census since 1911, for example, age, marital status and religion, while others have been included or excluded depending on the national importance of the topic at the time.

Topics selected for a Census must have specific a purpose that are of national importance and a demonstrated need for policy development, planning, and program monitoring and evaluation. A public consultation process is undertaken before changes are made.


The Census includes certain terms and concepts that have specific meaning in the context of the Census. Definitions of these terms and concepts are outlined in the Census Dictionary Glossary

How Census data are used

Census data are used to support the planning, administration and policy development and activities of governments, businesses, communities, researchers and other users. While some of this information is available from other sources, only a Census can provide the information for the entire country and small geographic areas and small population groups.

For information about how you can use Census data, see Using Census data.

Nature and Content

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

2016 Census



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