Australian Early Development Census


​​​​​Conducted every 3 years, AEDC is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world. The information gained from the census helps to shape the future and wellbeing of our children by providing evidence to support education, health and community policy and planning.

5 AEDC domains​

The AEDC measures how children are developing as they transition into their first year of school based on 5 key areas known as domains.

The 5 AEDC domains of child development are:

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills (school-based)
  • communication skills and general knowledge.​

What the AEDC data means for Early Childhood Education and Care services

AEDC data provides evidence to help guide Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), Queensland kindergarten learning guideline (QKLG) and National Quality Standard (NQS)​ planning. The data can inform educators​ about areas of developmental strengths and vulnerabilities in a community and support responsive environments and programs.

AEDC results can be used by early childhood education and care services to:

The department has worked with Early Childhood Australia to create ​ resources for early childhood education and care services.

What the AEDC data means for community organisations

The AEDC provides people with a common ground to work together to build and strengthen their community and help shape the future and wellbeing of Australian children.

AEDC data provide a snapshot of how children are developing in your community. By exploring the AEDC results, your community can work together to find out more about what works well in your area and what can be improved. This way, your community will be able to provide better support for local children and their families.

Specific examples of how communities have used the AEDC can be found in our AEDC community stories​.

​​2021 census​

​​The fifth AEDC data collection took place from 4 May to 25 June 2021, with previous collections in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018.

In 2021, Queensland saw its highest rate of participation, with 98.6% of Australian schools participating in the AEDC collection. For Queensland, the data is representative of approximately 65,000 children, or 98.4% of the 2021 Prep cohort.

Key findings

The results of the 2021 AEDC indicate that:

  • Queensland had the greatest level of improvement across all jurisdictions
  • Queensland has seen a significant increase in the proportion of children who are starting school on track on all developmental domains
  • Queensland vulnerability rates are still higher than the national average but the gap has narrowed
  • vulnerability is not equally distributed across all cohorts of children.​

Accessing 2021 data

​AEDC 2021 national, state and community level data is now available to access from the national AEDC website.​​ The AEDC 2021 Queensland data report​ provides a summary of the 2021 AEDC data. Download the report to find out about early childhood development using insights from the AEDC Queensland data. You can also view comparisons between Queensland's 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021 data and read suggestions drawn from research to respond to early childhood development needs.

Access the AEDC 2021 Queensland infographic (PDF, 546KB) for a brief overview of the highlights for Queensland.​

2021 AEDC community data can be accessed on the AEDC national website.

AEDC data is published in a range of formats, including tables, maps and community profiles on the AEDC website. To access data for your community, search for your suburb using the Data Explorer.


​Access the collection of resources to help ECEC ​​services, community organisations and schools understand their AEDC data and how it can be used to inform curriculum programming, planning and quality improvement.

The professional development package – teaching in kindy: linking the AEDC and Queensland kindergarten learning guideline has been developed for kindergarten teachers working in an early childhood setting in the Queensland context.

A range of other resources, including fact sheets, community stories and guidance on understanding and using the data, are available on the national AEDC website.​

Last updated 18 September 2023