View answers below to basic questions in relation to the 2011 Census and the role of the department.

What is a Census?

A Census is the process of collecting, compiling and publishing data on social, demographic and economic topics. A Census is taken of all persons in a country at a specific date once every five years in Australia.

The Census provides detailed information on the number and size of the population, age structure, education, labour force and socio-economic characteristics.

Why take a Census?

The Census provides a measurement of the characteristics of the population and its housing. These data then support the planning, administration and policy development activities of governments, business and other users.

While some of this information is available from other sources, only a Census can provide the information for the country as a whole, for small geographic areas and small population groups.

For more information about the Census, see the ABS website.

When was the last Census held?

The last Census was held on the 9 August 2016. The Census before that was the 2011 Census

When was Census data released?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2011 Census data over three phases.

  • Phase 1 – 21 June 2012: Core demographic data items were available in the first data release.
  • Phase 2 – 30 October 2012: Other data items that required more detailed processing were included in the second release.
  • Phase 3 – 28 March 2013: The third release related to the dissemination of highly specialised products, such as Social-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) and the Census Sample Files.

Products were released progressively until the end of 2013. This finalised all Census data output for the 2011 Census.

For more information, please visit the ABS website.

Who to contact about Victorian data, figures or other queries

The National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) at the ABS can assist you with a wide range of queries. Contact them by phoning 1300 135 070 or visit the NIRS web page.

What are the product changes between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses?

There were some major changes to classifications used in the 2011 Census. The largest change is around geographical units used to output Census data.

The ABS has produced several new products for the 2011 Census, including TableBuilder Basic and TableBuilder pro.

ABS has also discontinued several products,, including: Social Atlases, CData Online, Census Tables and MapStats.

The products above have, in part, been replaced by TableBuilder (Basic and Pro) which allows users to choose topics of interest and customise geographic areas on a map. Users can then export map images or data and boundaries in a wide range of formats.

How can we assist you?

The department produces research on urban and regional areas based on Census and other data. In the years of Census data releases the department releases products based on data from the last Census. It also uses that same data to update other products.

These products provide vital information on Victoria's population, including characteristics such as age, population distribution, education and household size.

If you require specific information or analysis that is not available on our website, we encourage you to contact us with your query.

What products have been released based on 2011 Census data?

The department has produced the following products based on the 2011 Census data:

  • Towns in Time series data
  • Social Atlas of Melbourne
  • Social Atlas of Greater Geelong
  • Victorian Population Bulletin – 2013 special edition
  • Research Matters - Special Editions
  • Xylophone Charts

Quick Facts from the Census