Census adds health and veteran questions

Daniel McCulloch
·1-min read

People taking part in the next national census will be asked new questions about long-term health conditions and service with the Australian Defence Force.

But participants will no longer be quizzed about household internet access, given the proliferation of mobile phones and personal devices.

A non-binary option will be added to the question about sex and there will be more options available in response to questions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics considers the various changes to be the most significant since 2006.

The bureau will collect data on conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes to inform health policies and planning for community services.

Questions about ADF service are designed to shape health, homelessness and employment services for vulnerable veterans in geographic areas of greatest need.

The census will be held on August 10 next year.

The last national survey was dogged by an online debacle that saw millions of people locked out of the website.

The ABS shut down the site over fears it was being hacked.

The failure raised serious concerns about the quality of the information gathered in 2016, with people questioning whether the census data was reliable.