WHAT SHOULD THE 2026 CENSUS ASK ABOUT?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today opened the first phase of public consultations on topics for the 2026 Census of Population and Housing.
These consultations are the first stage of a review the ABS conducts after each Census. This presents an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on information needs that are presently not met by the Census, and to have input on topics that should be added.
The feedback from this process will help to inform the ABS’s recommendations to the Australian Government on the topics that could be included in the 2026 Census.
As a result of the review process in the lead up to the 2021 Census the ABS included two new questions – about long-term health conditions such as arthritis, asthma and diabetes, and about Australian Defence Force participation.
The ABS is also seeking feedback about topics that might be discontinued. In previous decades, the Census has dropped questions about whether people have been married more than once, whether a household has a television, and whether the dwelling has an internet connection. Omitting less relevant topics makes it easier to add new questions.
Requests for new topics or changes to existing Census topics can be submitted through the ABS website.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh:
“The Census helps Australians understand how we’re changing as a nation. The public has a vital role to play in shaping the topics to be included in the Census. As Australia’s population changes, so too does the information we need to make the right policy decisions for our future.
Better data can help us build better policy, and these consultations are an opportunity for Australians to help the ABS gather the data we need.”