Making Sense of the Census

Friday, August 05, 2016

It comes around once every five years and next Tuesday night, the census will count 10 million dwellings, making it the biggest in history. While the information helps to piece together where we live and what we do, changes to this year’s survey have sparked concerns over privacy. But that isn’t the only change. Faith is now in the spotlight with experts predicting Australia could be losing it’s religion.

How is this year’s census different?

The big change is the number of people expected to fill out the census form online or on a device. Such as this era five years ago, it was available as an e-census but less than one third filled it in that way. This year it is expected that more than two thirds will go for the online version.

How have the questions changed?

The religion question has changed, it used to list all the different religions and denominations and at the very bottom it said ‘no religion’. ‘No religion’ is now going to be the first option because a lot of people are going to select that. Nonetheless, as last time (where 61% chose Christianity in one form or another) it will probably be in the majority, but may fall a little bit.

For the first time the ABS is keeping some personal data, what about privacy?

People do worry about privacy and those names and details being kept for four years, but it’s for further ongoing analysis of where people live or how they move, age or people born in a certain year and further analysis of the data. The ABS or the Census have a pretty good track record of data security and I’ve even looked up the Census Act and there are serious penalties for people who in any way reveal data, so I think we can relax that it will be kept secure.

Are There are going to be new jobs included that weren’t there before?

If we even think of the five years since the last census, jobs like App Developer, Cyber Security Professional or Drone Pilot are new jobs that have emerged. I’m sure we will find a lot more jobs rather than just teacher and nurse in the Census under your occupation this year.

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