2011 Census

Today is the day of the 16th Australian Census.  Have you filled out your form?  Are you one of those people who quite enjoy filling out surveys? 

As a researcher who uses data from the census almost every day, I value this resource highly—it provides a plethora of information about the people of this country that simply cannot be collected any other way (with ease).  However I understand that not everyone is keen on completing their census form —it does contains private information and for some, there is always a fear that it could fall into the wrong hands.  I would encourage everyone to complete their forms—the information really is in the best hands (from my expereince) and is so useful for people like me.

Here is some census trivia for you!!:
  • The first population counts of Australia were known as musters and were made as early as 1788. The first census in Australia was that of New South Wales, held in November 1828
  • For the 1911 Census - 250 temporary staff sorted over 4 million cards into piles according to the answers to particular questions. Each pile was totaled, then the cards were re-sorted according to the answers to the next question. The main work began in August 1911 and was completed by the end of June 1912.  And without the use of computers!!
  • Because of the economic depression it was considered ill-advised to conduct the scheduled Census of 1931, the next Census was held in 1933.
  • No Census was held during World War 2, with the next Census in 1947 after an interval of 14 years. The five-yearly census commenced from 1961.
  • Indigenous Australians were not counted in Commonwealth censuses before 1967 .
  • The 1976 census was the largest undertaken, with 53 questions. Due to budgetary restraints, processing of the data was not completed and a 50% sample was processed.
  • Questions have changed considerable, earlier census asked about: materials of the roof and walls of your house, whether you had an outside toilet, if you own a TV, blindness/deafness and your war service.  Modern census ask about internet connect, defacto relationships and if you are married" and living in same-sex relationship.  How times have changed 
For those homeschooling Australian families - you might find this link interesting, it is about the very early counts (the musters) of the population in Australia: link



  1. Very interesting trivia, Jo! I found it very interesting that this is only the 16th Australian census. That means that the information they have doesn't really have a lot to compare or contrast with because 16 censuses in over 220 years isn't a lot (or so it seems to me)!

    I haven't done our census yet - I will do it tonight. I quite enjoy filling out surveys, so it will be fun. :)

  2. Clara - I will be interested in how you record homeschooling as it doesn't cater for it all.

    The most useful data is from 1911 (as in usable form) but I have used data from the late 1800's. The very first data is available from the Australian National Library website.

  3. Good - no dodgy answers I hope!!

  4. I hate these. My admission for the week. I do find them invasive & as the information gathered never seems to benefit us I get more & more loathe to fill them out. However it is once again done though almost impossible, given the questions, to answer correctly for this household. Seriously there is nowhere to explain homeschooling, missionaries & the way my Dearest's little business works. We just aren't that organized of a household. Never mind about Star, homeschooler extraordinaire, who also occassionally pulls an income from music & whose grade levels are all over the place. Like I said, it drives me nuts & is completely inadequate. Register of births, Deaths & Marriages would be about as much use & save me the bother.

  5. Ganeida - You are right in regards to the homeschooling (lack of) question. I was asked by someone else how to record homeschooling and there isn't anywhere it record it - it is about time it was an option. Considering there is no statistics on homeschooling numbers in this country.

    However the data is very usedul and what ever you have included will be of use to people like me!

  6. I thought it was fun! Always love filling in forms - the more questions the better! And these were easy questions!!!! I find it harder to give answers when they want opinions! Then they never have enough option answers to pick from =)

  7. Hate filling in forms but did it dutifully and this time did it online.. and answered yes to Ques 60 to help family tree researchers in 100 yrs time! Ha! Shaz in Oz.x

  8. Jo, you are a wealth of information as always:) confession - I've only looked at the form and am yet to fill it out:) I intend ticking "other non government" school for my homeschooled child, not sure if that's the right place but I couldn't find anywhere else to record it! I might see if I can send in some feedback somewhere so they include this in the next census!
    btw, I don't mind filling it in:) All those years as a public servant helps me in filling out forms lol!


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