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Australian Bureau of Statistics Considering New Topics for 2026 Census

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is reviewing the potential introduction of five new topics and the modification of 12 existing topics for the 2026 Census, following a consultative period. 

The topics and changes in review cover several areas, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity, population gender and sexual orientation, ancestry data, health condition categories, labour force and family structure questions.

In an ABS announcement, the bureau wrote that it had analysed more than 1000 feedback entries, covering a diverse range of themes. 

2026 Census Director Georgia Chapman said that given the Census provided some of Australia’s most valuable statistics, it was important for it to reflect contemporary society and capture emerging data needs.

“The ABS expanded the opportunity for public input to the 2026 Census content with two phases of consultation. Our aim was to give everyone in Australia an opportunity to provide feedback and help the ABS understand impacts of proposed changes,” Chapman said.  

“We considered over 1000 pieces of feedback during the consultations, across a diverse range of themes. The changes shortlisted cover a range of topics including increasing our understanding of cultural diversity and LGBTIQ+ populations, to expanding information on work, study and long-term health conditions. 

“We have assessed the community benefit of changes against the cost and complexity of collecting the data.”

While the public consultation phase for the 2026 Census topic review process has concluded, the final direction for these topics will consider consultation feedback and the relative priority of each topic against other content changes being considered for the 2026 Census.

Following its topic reviews the ABS will make a recommendation to the Government on topics for the next Census in mid-2024.

More information on 2026 Census topic directions can be found on the ABS’ website.