The 2021 census is coming

July 29, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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How many Jews live in the Outback? To find out, we’d need the Australian census which is arriving in two weeks.

It will seek a mass of data covering everything from health, age, poverty, education, culture and yes, the outcomes will highlight how many Outback Jews there are. In fact, the data represented by the completed census, are chock-full of stories about the present and the past and even the future.

Let’s take the Outback then. Jews have been a part of the fabric of Australian society since the landing of the First Fleet. And contrary to what you may think, they don’t all live in Caufield or the Eastern Suburbs. In Broken Hill, a frontier mining town deep in the Outback of western NSW rises an imposing and beautifully preserved synagogue. And while this shul long ago ceased serving a Jewish community, we know from the last census there were still frontier Jews living in Broken Hill in 2016. Not only that, but the synagogue now forms part of our history in Australia and preserves these stories through the onsite museum.

Meanwhile, a very different story is told about Australia’s unique Holocaust survivor heritage. The census data tell us that in the decade from 2006 to 2016, the number of Jews born in Poland, Hungary and Germany declined by more than a third, reflecting the inevitable passing of a defining chapter in the Jewish Australian experience. This emphasises the urgent need to ensure the memory of these survivors lives on, even after they have passed away.

The census, due to take place on August 10th, is the most comprehensive snapshot of the country we can get. It is a vital resource for the Jewish community and all the organisations that are tasked with providing services and facilities, as well as planning for the future.

Dr David Graham, a demographer working with JCA in NSW told us “the census takes away the guesswork. It allows planners to make informed decisions about what is best for the community. It even helps them to peer into the future to make the best and most efficient use of scarce communal resources. The best choices can only be made through an informed decision making and that has to be based on evidence.”

“By reporting Jewish in the 2021 Census, Jewish people can help themselves by helping organisations such as JCA and its member organisations, take the guesswork out of understanding the community. For example, it will provide information about the number of Jewish schoolchildren there are now and how many there are likely to be in the future. Similarly, for understanding aged care service provision, community security, synagogues and every conceivable aspect of Jewish community life. In each case, the data help us answer key questions like, do we need to provide more, build more or consolidate what we already have?” continued Dr Graham.

This year, Census Night falls on 10th August 2021 but the census form will be available online from 28th July when login ID’s will start arriving in the post. We encourage all members of the community to fill it out as soon as possible and write Jewish in the religion question. “Ultimately the Census is about you, your family, and your community,” said Dr Graham.

The Census is a vital tool for the Jewish community.


One Response to “The 2021 census is coming”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Not only are WW2 Holocausts survivors dying out but a similar cohort the WW2 Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) survivors are also nearly all gone with about 3,000 still alive out of a force of nearly 1 million men and women who incidentally were all volunteers.

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