Changes to the Australian census will allow families to record stillborn babies for the first time.

The five-yearly national population survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has removed the phrase ‘live births’ allowing the government to recognise children lost during pregnancy.

The Daily Mail reports, Stillbirth Foundation Australia noted that six babies per day are still born and the number has not changed in decades.

‘This is not an official recognition, it’s not a certificate from the state saying you went into a hospit­al and gave birth, but at least it’s some way that the experience of motherhood is acknowledged,’ says former NSW premier Kristina Keneally.

Ms Keneally, who gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Caroline, in 1999, said families had felt excluded by a controversial instruction in the census to record “live births only”.

“Every year when I fill out that census I’ve been a bit rankled and a bit angry because the instruction says how many births have you had … it’s always stipulated live births,” she told 702 ABC Sydney.

Ms Keneally said the availability of census data would compel research into prevention.

Other changes include the recognition of people without a religion affiliation by moving the category of ‘no religion’ to the top option.

The 2016 census will also be the first to be offered online allowing respondents to fill the form before or after August 9.

Share your comments below.

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  • oh wow I never though the census form would ever be changed – good to see


  • “The 2016 census will also be the first to be offered online allowing respondents to fill the form before or after August 9″

    …I’m confused, as the letter we got in the mail says “Please complete the Census on Tuesday, 9 August 2016.”

    The letter gives no option nor indication that it’s possible to complete it prior to that date.

    • Yes, I understood the same. It has to be completed just on the 9th.


  • I am greatful to be able to a knowledge my first born daughter


  • I will be grateful to be able to acknowledge my son.


  • I’m glad a lot of the census won’t apply to me.
    I’ve never filled one in before but it looks plenty lengthy


  • The online census makes alot of sense!


  • The census could be used to gather so much more useful information, this is a step in the right direction. I frequently use census data in my line of work to better understand customers and their needs based on demographics and I’m also often wondering about true statistics in real world situations where they’ve always been estimated in the past.


  • I didn’t hear about this change in recording stillborn babies. Very good.
    It will be interesting to see if this online census will be as easy to complete as they say.
    I’ve got my letter. Now waiting for the 9th! Exciting! :-)


  • The more questions asked on Census night, the more information that is gathered, and the more services that can be provided for those who need them.


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