Aug 09 2011

Census Night – What would Joseph and Mary have given for an eCensus?


1. Do you live in Australia?

Yes          => Go to Question 2 
No            => You have completed the census

2. Did you complete your census tonight

Yes, I am a good citizen       => You have completed the census
No                                      =>  You have been fined $150. 

A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population.

Historically, governments tend to be keen on conducting a census as it assists in making sure they are raising the right amount of taxes. The oldest recorded data from a census is from China, and dates from about 4000BC. 

The Romans conducted a census every 5 years from about 600BC. The word ‘census’ originates in ancient Rome from the Latin word ‘censere’ (meaning ‘estimate’).

The most famous census in history was ordered by the emperor Tiberius in the year 1 BC, as recounted by Luke.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Australia has a long history with the census. The first was taken in NSW in 1828. Prior to this the population was counted in ‘musters’ – it appears everyone was just corralled together and counted! (just like Bethlehem)

In 1828, the white population was 36,598 of whom 20,870 were free and 15,728 were convicts. 23.8% of the population were born in the colony. 24.5% were women. There were 25,248 Protestants and 11,236 Catholics. Indigenous Australians were not counted. Of the 36,598, 638 were living in what is now Queensland. Perhaps NSW would have had chance at State or Origin.There were also 18,128 people in Tasmania.

1881 was the first time all the colonies participated in a census at the same time. The population of Australia had grown to 2,250,194.

The states each arranged their own census in the first year of Federation (1901 – pop 3,773,801), 1911 was the first year that the new Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics conducted a national census. Wikipedia points out that this and the following censuses (1921 and 1933) asked about deaf-mutism, and thereby  contributed to the discovery that rubella contracted by the mother while pregnant was the cause. This was the first time that maternal infection was identified as a cause of birth abnormality.

Census were also held in 1947, 1954, and then every five years from 1961

The last census in 2006 was a bargain at $300 million. It was the first to offer eCensus, and 8% of household completed the census online.There was an enormous ‘hit’ between 8 and 9pm on census night.

No doubt tonight a much more significant number of households will submit online.

eCensus sure would have saved Joseph and Mary a lot of hassle – I doubt travelling to Bethlehem was worth all the Myrhh.

The Australian today also released the results if its ‘alternative census’, which answers the serious questions.

59% of us dislike Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi.
4/5 are on Facebook.
3/5 of people fold rather than scrunch their toilet paper.
All states except Tasmania want a national holiday on Melbourne Cup Day. This is especially supported by females. 

More of these important questions are answered at ‘The Alternative Census’.…


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