Australian Census 2016; What you need to know

Monday, August 08, 2016

As demographers and social researchers there are a few calendar events that cause for celebration. Among them include population milestones, special data set releases and, of course, the Census. Rolling around only every 5 years, the Census provides us all with vital information about our nation’s population growth, infrastructure and future-planning needs.

In 2016 the Census will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 9th August. It has been conducted every 5 years since 1911, and is the biggest democratic activity in Australia. While July’s election counted 14 million votes, the 2016 Census will include every household, age group, resident and visitor – all 24 million of us.

So here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2016 Census.


This will be the most unique Census Australia has ever seen. In keeping with these technological times, 2 in 3 people will complete their form online, up from just 1 in 3 in 2011 and 1 in 10 back in 2006 (the first time there was an electronic option).


Firstly, the Census will show that our national population is growing, having hit a new record in February of this year and surpassing a population of 24 million people. Additionally, it will also show that Australia’s largest city – Sydney, has broken through the 5 million milestone.

Not only will the Census show that our population is growing, but also that we are ageing. Our population profile will no longer be a “population pyramid”, because for the first time there will be more Australians aged over 55 than under 20.

So the Census will show that our population is growing, ageing and as a result, it will show that we are moving. For the first time this Census will reveal that one in four Australian households live in townhouses or apartments rather than detached houses – the highest figure ever, up from just one in ten in 1966.


This year there will be a change to the religion question with the option of “No religion” now appearing at the top of that question rather than at the bottom, so it might attract some more numbers.

Additionally the question asked of women: “How many babies has she ever given birth to” states “live births only”, but will now include stillbirths and give acknowledgement of that loss And the question: “Is the person male or female” - will allow an alternative blank box for those who identify with neither gender.


Like participating in the election, it is compulsory to complete the Census. But for everyone in the country, not just citizens or residents. The Census and Statistics Act takes sitting the Census very seriously, with fines for non-completion after receiving an order to complete incurring a fine of $180 per day, and false answers can attract a fine of $1800.

But the good news is that the Act takes privacy very seriously as well and answers cannot be divulged by the ABS to anyone – even government agencies. Confidentiality is assured.


If we thought we had to wait a while for the election results, be prepared for a longer wait for the Census findings. It will be analysed at record speed, but that still means a wait of 8 months, April 2017, with the full results not coming out until 2018!

McCrindle in the Media

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

Here are some of the most recent media pieces our research and team have been cited in:

Millenials found to be far more likely to quit work than other generations

“Millenials are a multi-career generation, moving from one job to another and from one job to further study or an overseas job. Mobility defines them,” he said.
“They’re a more educated cohort, they’re more tech-resourced. Even when they’re happy in a job they’re passive job hunters because they’re so well networked. People are approaching them on LinkedIn and they want to be future proofed.”
“They are looking for belonging and leading and shaping things. They want to be successful so if employers are empowering and involving them they will stay longer. A pay increase is a short-term fix but in the long term it’s all about engagement.”

Buyers Swap 'Traditional Aussie Dream' For High Density Apartments

McCrinde Research social demographer Mark McCrindle concedes many foreign buyers are getting into the market, but said the lift in demand was also due to more Australian singles, couples and families opting for apartments.

Australia's booming population was underpinning the shift, he said, by pushing up demand for property of which apartments were an affordable type. "In less than 2 weeks we hit the 24 million mark and that's an increase of a million people in just around three years, so it's pretty significant growth," he told The Huffington Post Australia.

Inside Sydney’s homes of the future: A city of cities as homes get smaller and taller

McCrinde Research social demographer Mark McCrindle says Sydney's residential landscape will be forced to change to cope with the population growth, with multi-use residential developments the way of the future and a move away from CBD workplaces.

“We’re essentially going to be a city of cities, with not everyone working in the CBD,” Mark explains. “People will work in the suburbs, in business parks, and we will have second, third and fourth CBD areas where you work, live and play all within the locale.”

Why money is a big issue for Australian retirees in 2016

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said financial instability was an enemy of retirees. After the GFC a lot of people had to change their retirement plans and expectations because so much was wiped off,” he said.

Falling house prices in several states were adding uncertainty to retirees looking to downsize, Mr McCrindle said, while there were social impacts caused by children failing to leave the nest. “Retirees can’t quite make their own independent decisions because they still have adult children living at home.”


According to Optus’ Renter of the Future report out today, three out of ten renting households consider themselves as “choice renters” who are not buying into the great Australian property dream. And when it comes to choice renters, they are three times more likely to be tech savvy.
The report, which was conducted by McCrindle Research shows that 2016 will see a new generation of tech-savvy renters who favour a lifestyle fuelled by freedom, flexibility and choice.
“We wanted to understand the renter and find out who they are. Demographically they’re got punch, geographically they’re got punch and as we’ve found from this technologically they’re amongst the earliest adopters,” said Mark McCrindle, social demographer.

Today's trends are coming at us faster than ever and have a life cycle that is shorter than we've ever seen before. Trends are increasingly global -- and with that, they're bigger, better, and faster.

From a generation who can track, monitor, record and analyse their every moment, to work that is increasingly being done in non-traditional places, here are some trends to watch in 2016.


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