Census in Australia
The census in Australia, or officially, the Census of Population and Housing, is a descriptive count of everyone who is in Australia on one night, and of their dwellings.
Participation in the census is compulsory, though answering some questions (such as religion) is optional.
The count is taken every five years and is managed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The first Australian census was held in 1911, on the night of 2 April (previous censuses being organised by the colonies) and subsequent censuses were held in 1921, 1933, 1947, 1954 and 1961. In 1961 the five-year period was introduced. Censuses are held on the second Tuesday of August.
The most recent was held on 9 August 2016.
The cost of the 2011 census was $440 million.
The census counts all people who are located within Australia and its external and internal territories other than Norfolk Island, with the exception of foreign diplomats and their families on the census night.
A separate census of Norfolk Island has been conducted by the Norfolk Island Government every five years since 1981, and occurs on the same day as the Australian census.
The census examines data such as age, gender, incomes, occupations, dwelling types and occupancy, transportation modes, ancestry, languages spoken, and optional questions, such as religion.
The Census and Statistics Act 1905 (Cth) led to the 1906 establishment of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (CBCS).
The Bureau was renamed the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975.
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