At last! Our Census is going electronic

24 07 2006

Australia has a Census every 5 years. Usual stuff. An army of census people deliver tonnes of census booklets to every household in Australia over the next couple of weeks, we fill in the forms on the night of Tuesday August 8, then the army of collectors comes back and picks up all the booklets and off they go for scanning and analysis.

I remember back in 1996 and again in 2001 questioning why they didn’t offer an online option for the census. 1996 would’ve been too early as the internet uptake was pretty low at that time and speeds were achingly slow compared to today, but it would’ve made a lot of sense in 2001.

Well, here we are – it’s 2006, and this year Australians will be able to take part in the census electronically! Cool!

On reading the FAQs on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website, it looks like they’ve got the “I’ve already filled it in” situation covered (http://tinyurl.com/ehswq). So I hope it works well. It would be good to save a few trees and to get this data written straight to the database. Over time, this should not only save a lot of taxpayer money but provide more responsive feedback to city planners and the like as I’d expect that the demographic trends etc. will be available much quicker.


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