Students to help shape Australia’s future

On Tuesday 9 August the Census of Population and Housing will create a snapshot of the nation by counting every house and person in Australia. With 15 million people expected to complete the Census online, it’s not just your moment to help shape Australia’s future. It’s also your chance to participate in one of the largest online events in Australian history.

For more than 100 years the Census has helped to plan Australia’s education, health, transport and infrastructure. And for the first time, the Census can be completed using a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

And that means everyone! Even if you’re an international student, or just visiting, you still have to complete the Census wherever you are staying on Census night—August 9.

What is the Census?

The Census of Population and Housing takes a snapshot of Australia on Census night – August 9. It is conducted every five years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and everyone staying in Australia must participate.

The Census aims to count every person in Australia by collecting information on topics such as age, sex, education, employment, occupation, housing and family composition. For a complete statistical picture, it’s important that international students are counted.

Census data is used by a range of researchers and decision-makers. For example, governments and universities use Census data to plan important services that affect international students, including transport, healthcare and student support services.

How does the Census affect me?

Every person staying in Australia on Census night must complete the Census, regardless of their citizenship status or visa type. This means international students need to participate too.

How do I complete my Census?

There are two ways to complete your Census on August 9: either online or by paper Census form. It should take you about 30 mins to complete.

Completing the Census online is fast, easy and secure. You can complete the Census using a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

Most households will receive a letter from the ABS, containing a unique Census Login number, as well as instructions on how to complete the Census online or to order a paper form. If you are staying with a host family on Census night, you can be included in their Census.

If you are staying in paid accommodation such as student hostels, guest houses or university halls of residence, you will be given Census materials and instructions on how to complete them.

What is my “usual address”?

If you are visiting Australia for 12 months or more, you should answer the question “Where does the person usually live?” with your Australian address. Do not use an address in your home country.

Will my personal information be shared with anyone else?

The personal information collected in the Census is not shared with any other government departments or agencies, including the police, Australian Taxation Office or Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Any personal information you provide is strictly confidential, and the ABS is legally bound to protect your privacy.

What if I need help completing the Census?

The ABS is committed to making the Census accessible for everybody. For general inquiries, visit or contact the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531.

For translating and interpreting, call 131 450. The ABS has also produced posters, brochures and videos in a range of languages other than English.

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