Author/s

Dan Steadman

Why the census matters

On Tuesday, every Australian will fill out the national census.

It happens every five years, and yet there always seems to be some level of resistance to the census, whether it’s because some people resent the perceived intrusion, they think that it’s going to take along to fill out, or most concerningly, they just think that it’s not really important.

But it is important, and for migrants who speak a language other than English, it can be vital. Here’s why.

Among the statistics tracked by the census is language, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (who co-ordinate the census) go into granular detail when the stats are released to the public following the census.

Thanks to the ABS, we can get a breakdown of languages spoken by state, local government area, age, gender and more. It’s a truly invaluable resource for us at ezispeak, as we use the data to help onboard new clients, and give them the language coverage they need.

But beyond that, there are even bigger benefits to the census – the Australian government uses the data to help provide additional resources and set budgets for many different areas across the country, and certainly among that is migrant and language support.

For example, if the census data reveals an increase of Dinka in certain areas, due to an increase in immigration of South Sudanese people, the local government can provide more in-language tools and facilities to help accommodate these new arrivals.

And the census is instrumental in delivering tangible results – an independent report from Lateral Economics shows that for every dollar of investment in the census, six dollars of benefits are generated in the Australian economy. Without the census, that level of investment would be less, or possibly non-existent.

Of course, the benefits of the census extend far beyond just language; as the census site itself states, agencies like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Council on the Ageing use this data to help benefit Australians.

So, this census night (Tuesday, 10th August), please take the time to fill it out – it is compulsory after all. Also you can actually do it beforehand, and it’ll actually take you less time than you think.

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