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Next census to be three quarters online

Wednesday, 16 January 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Online: Census 2021 set to be three quarters online, despite shambles last time out

The government expects three quarters of the population to complete the next census online, pushing print further away. This is despite the shambles in 2016 when it went online for the first time only to infamously crash out on the day.

The company at the centre of the online census fail two years ago, IBM, has declined to tender for the next one, slated for 2021.

During census day last time only two million of the estimated 10 million online forms were able to be completed, turning what was promoted as triumph of new technology into a national debacle.

The 2016 census was the first time the census was available online, cutting millions of printed forms out. In 2011 some 14.5 million forms were printed, by IPMG, but in 2016 this number was down by two thirds, to five million, printed by Print Media Group.

The 2021 census is expected to have a similar number of forms printed to 2016, although demand may be higher as the public becomes increasingly aware of data hacking. The online version asks for names and addresses.

Eventually some 59 per cent of the population filled in the 2016 version online a figure the Australian Bureau of Statistics expects to rise to 75 per cent in 2021.

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