Friday, December 21, 2007

Festive Facts and Figures

Some festive season figures:
  • In 2007 Santa Claus will be visiting around 5.2 million Australian families, 3.2 million of which have children under 15 years of age.

  • In preparation for Christmas, over $10 million worth of Christmas tree lighting and more than $56 million worth of other Christmas-related articles have been imported this year (up until October).

  • More Australian residents travel overseas on Christmas Day to "visit family and friends" (7,712 people last year) than those who travel to Australia for the same reason (5,235 short term visitors arrived in Australia on Christmas Day last year).

More Festive Facts and Figures from the ABS

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stats round-up: blogs, podcasts and a Christmas quiz

CSU Library Health blog: keep up-to-date with new research, reports, statistics and other information about health and psychology.

Blog about Stats: check what's new on the web with data visualisation and statistics dissemination.

More or Less: discover the truth behind the statistics with this BBC radio program. Test your knowledge of maths, statistics, economics and trivia with the More or Less Christmas numbers quiz.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is currently a topic of great interest in Australia, with the Childhood Obesity Summit being held in Sydney this week.
Several initiatives are underway which will lead to improved data on childhood obesity, nutrition, and physical activity levels.

  • The next ABS National Health Survey, being conducted August 2007 to June 2008, is collecting physical measurements from persons aged 5 and above, including height, weight, waist and hip circumference. Previous National Health Survey data for height and weight has been self-reported.

  • The proposed Federal Government strategy Healthy Kids Check will assess the body mass index of all four year olds.

  • The Kids Eat, Kids Play survey was undertaken by the CSIRO during 2007, aiming to measure children's nutrition and activity patterns, and record height, weight and waist measurements. Data from this survey will be directly comparable with the 1995 ABS National Nutrition survey.


Where to find current data on obesity
The latest issue of ABS News for Libraries has an overview of key resources for overweight and obesity data in the section Health Hot Spot: Obesity.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Water Watchers

For an insight into what Australians are doing to save water - take a look at the just released Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0).

Find out how many people turn off the tap when they clean their teeth (23.9%) or the number of households using grey water (55%).
Victorians are leading the way in flushing the toilet less often/only when needed; and Queensland has the highest proportion of people sharing baths or showers.

You can also discover the number of households with swimming pools or rainwater tanks; how people are watering their gardens; and who's not happy with the quality of their water and why. This is an annual survey, with a set of changing topics which rotate over a period of three years, so data can be compared with earlier years to see how views and practices have changed over time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

International Volunteer Day - 5th December

Over 5 million Australians do voluntary work. The 2006 Census was the first Australian Census to include questions on unpaid work, including voluntary work for organisations or groups.

This year also saw the release of data from the latest survey of Voluntary Work in Australia (cat. no. 4441.0). A factsheet of key statistics from the Survey is available from the Volunteering Australia website.

An example of how volunteering statistics can inform planning and decision-making can be seen in the recent Public Libraries Australia Conference paper Volunteering in the 21st Century - what does it mean for Libraries?

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore ...

Ever wanted to know how many people move address around Australia? Several ABS collections have data on this. You can find information about movement within and between states and territories. This is known as internal migration.

For data from the Census of Population and Housing, including thematic maps, go to the Census page and use the "Choosing a Topic" link. You'll find several data sets to choose from under the "Migration - Internal" topic.

Other ABS collections with information on internal migration include Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2007 (cat. no. 3101.0), Migration, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 3412.0) and Historical Population Statistics, 2006 (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001). Go to the Details tab to see the full range of data products available for each of these. Tables 64 and 65 of the Historical Population Statistics go back to 1860.

Graph created from data in 3101.0 Tables 16A and 16B

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Digital Divide: who has Internet access?

63% of homes across Australia had access to the Internet in 2006. While two-thirds of homes in major cities had internet access, only 42% in very remote Australia had access. Broadband was used by 46% of homes in major cities and 24% in very remote Australia.

Patterns of Internet Access in Australia (cat. no. 8146.0.55.001) uses Census 2006 data to look at internet access across Australia. Data is cross-tabulated with various socio-economic characteristics, such as age, income, disability, employment or indigenous status.

For information on Business use of the internet see Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2005-06 (cat. no. 8166.0), also a recently released new publication.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How literate are adult Australians?

Just over half (54%) of Australians were assessed as having the prose literacy skills (ability to read newspapers and magazines) needed to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work.

Results were similar for document literacy (ability to read timetables, job applications, maps) with 53% and numeracy with 47% achieving this level.

Data is now available for adult literacy levels in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (cat. no. 4228.0).

This survey also assesses problem solving and health literacy, and includes social and economic characteristics such as income level, educational attainment and employment status. Part of an international survey, Australia's results can also be compared with other countries.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What will your descendants find out about you?

Did you fill in Question 60 on Census night? Over 11 million people did in 2006. Question 60 gave people the option to have their name and address and other information on their Census form kept by the National Archives.

These forms are now stored in the National Archives vaults as microfilm, under highly secure conditions. After 99 years, social analysts, genealogists, historians and other members of the public will be able to access the data. Those who chose not to participate have their name and address destroyed once statistical processing is completed. Read more in the Census Time Capsule Factsheet and Retention facts and figures.

Pictures courtesy of the National Archives of Australia

Finding Migrant Data made easy with Matrices

There is a new way of finding migrant and ethnicity related data on the ABS website via a single access point. Users no longer need to search multiple publications to find the data they need.

Migrant Data Matrices (cat. no. 3415.0) provide quick and easy access to the latest migrant statistics. Click on a topic to see what data items are available from a range of ABS collections, then link directly to the data tables.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Older Australia at a Glance

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has just released the 4th edition of Older Australia at a glance. This vital resource provides 216 pages of information about the characteristics and circumstances of Australia's 2.7 million older Australians. It brings together the latest ABS data on older people, together with some AIHW analysis of ABS data, and key statistics from other relevant sources.

A wide range of topics are covered, including demographic, social, and economic data, health and functioning, use of health and aged care services, and special population groups. This edition also looks at mature age people (aged 45-64) for information about future generations of older people.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting to Work - who uses transport data?

Information on the direction and distance of journeys to and from work is needed for transport planning and is used extensively in land use planning.

Journey to work data is required by transport authorities for the analysis of travel patterns within major metropolitan areas, the modelling of fuel usage, the forecasting of public transport patronage and the analysis of catchment areas for transport routes. This data also assists policy makers in the planning of transport systems, industrial development and the release of residential and industrial land.

Method of Travel to Work data is currently available from the Transport Access and Use topic via 2006 Census Tables. Working population tables are due to be released February 2008. ABS Information Consultancy services can provide customised data on request. Journey to Work concepts are further explained in the Place of Work Fact Sheet.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mental Health

The ABS is currently conducting a second Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Last carried out a decade ago (cat. no. 4326.0), this survey will collect a range of detailed information about mental health conditions and issues.

If you're looking for data about mental health, an overview is available in Mental Health in Australia, a Snapshot, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4824.0.55.001). This largely draws on self-reported data from the National Health Survey (cat. no. 4364.0). Data about indigenous social and emotional wellbeing can be found in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (cat. no. 4715.0).

Other publications may also include relevant statistics: Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2003 (cat. no. 4430.0) contains some information about mental and behaviour disorders. Suicides, Australia (cat. no. 3309.0) reports registered deaths where the underlying cause was determined to be suicide. The General Social Survey, 2006 (cat. no.4159.0) also covers a range of aspects relating to wellbeing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Changes to Areas between Censuses

Around 20% of 2001 Census Collection Districts were redesigned for the 2006 Census. This makes it difficult for users who need to compare small area data between censuses. The ABS has constructed a set of comparability lists to help users make comparisons at the Collection District (CD) level.

These lists allow users to make an association between CDs that define the same geographic area, but may have different CD codes. Also, where there has been a boundary change they provide information about the type and degree of change which occurred.

A new factsheet has been released this week to help you understand and use the 2001 to 2006 Census Collection District Comparability Listing, Aug 2006 (cat. no. 2919.0.55.001).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keeping a Tab on Data

Do you sometimes have trouble finding what you are looking for on the ABS website? Not sure of the significance of the tabs you find on some of the pages? Hopefully this will clear a few things up for you.

Browser tabs allow you to view multiple web pages in the same browser without the need to open a new browser session. Several areas of the ABS website use tabs on the page. The tabs are there to assist you to find different components for a product, as in the Statistics Products pages, or to choose a search method, as in the Census pages.

Statistics Products
For a full explanation of what you may find on each tab see the Use the Statistics Products Pages section of our Help Index. Want the quick summary? Read on:

Start on the Summary page to get an overview of a product. To access the detailed information (ie. download the publication, spreadsheets etc) go to the Details tab. To find the metadata or relevant concepts click on the Explanatory Notes. There may be other products with similar information listed on the Related Information tab and if you want a previous or a more recent issue of a product click on the Past & Future Releases tab.

Census
Tabs are also used in the Census pages to provide different options. It's important to note the five tabs on the screen where you can choose your location: each tab allows you to select a different method for finding the geographic area you require (see Think Census Think Geography)

Remember, when you are looking for information on the ABS website, click on the tabs to fully explore what is available and make use of the help and information links.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Older Australians: family contact and friendship

What happens to our links with family and friends as we grow older? Does the incremental loss of family and friends mean that growing older is a path to loneliness and isolation?
A new feature article in today's Age Matters newsletter (cat. no. 4914.0.55.001) looks at older people and their connections with relatives and friends.

An analysis of grandparent families utilising 2006 Census data is also available in this issue of the newsletter. Grandparents caring for their grandchildren have become an increasing topic of interest in our community, and this Census is the first to enable identification of grandparent/grandchild relationships and living arrangements for children under 15.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Media round-up: CPI & BOP

Ross Gittins on understanding different CPI figures: When the underlying rate gets the headlines (Sydney Morning Herald); and Tony Fioretti on the Balance of Payments (The Advertiser).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Planning for Small Business

Are you looking for help in how to use ABS data for small business or franchise planning?

A new brochure Planning for Business has been released which outlines information available to assist new or established businesses with their planning and decision-making.

Case studies show how you can use ABS statistics to know your market, locate potential clients, target promotions, assess site location, grow your business, support your business case, improve your marketing strategy, or estimate your market share.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bungy Jump Masters, Baristas, and Librarians:

How many live in your area? Find out with the latest release of data from the 2006 Census. New data includes employment, hours worked, occupation and industry, journey to work, highest educational qualification, and field of study.

Check out the Census Tables topic 'Occupation by Sex - Alternative View: Culture and Leisure' to find the number of Librarians or Bungy Jump Masters in your selected area (data is available down to a Suburb or Statistical Local Area geographic level); or view the counts for occupations in the areas of Agriculture, Health, Information and Communication Technology, or Tourism and Hospitality.

Occupation data is available coded according the new classification: the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), but is also available based on the previous classification: the 1993 Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), which was used in the 2001 Census. Responses on Census forms as to the main job held during the week prior to Census Night are assigned to the occupations listed in the Classification. The classification listing is hierarchical, allowing occupation data to be grouped to different levels - major, sub-major, minor etc, depending upon the level of detail required.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Think Census Think Geography

To use Census data you need to know two things: your topic and your geographic area of interest. Understanding how the ABS organises and labels geography is critical to using Census data effectively.


When choosing a location, the 'Browse' tab introduces you to ABS geography by offering a hierarchical listing of all Census areas currently available. From this list you can drill down to select your required level of detail, and also view maps showing the boundaries for each location.
The Browse tab is also the easiest way to find Census Collection Districts - the smallest level of data currently available.

To find a description of each geographic area - for example, what is an Urban Centre? What does the (C) or (S) or (T) after a place name mean? click on the Census help pages link Which location do I select?

To see a diagram showing how Census geographies are structured, check the Factsheet on 2006 Australian Standard Geographical Classification and Census Geographic Areas.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Electoral Division Rankings: Census 2006

The Parliamentary Library has released an analysis by Commonwealth electoral division of socio-demographic data from the first release of the 2006 Census. The electoral boundaries used in the paper are those applicable to the next federal election. The electoral division rankings cover a range of Census topics, including religion, ethnicity, families, income and education.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Test your Statistical Literacy

Introductory online modules about statistical literacy can be found on the University of Wollongong Graduate Attributes webpages. The modules aim to introduce some basic statistical concepts and develop skills in understanding and interpreting statistical information. Take the online quizzes to check your own statistical literacy skills.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Children & Youth Statistical Portal

A new online service that improves access to data about Australia's children has been released.
The Children and Youth Statistical Portal is both a catalogue of information resources, and a forum for researchers and users to discuss issues impacting on the visibility and accessibility of children and youth data. It includes information from the ABS as well as other government and private sector sources.

The portal is a pilot project for the National Data Network (NDN) - an online research and collaboration tool developed by an ABS led consortium of federal government, state bodies and research organisations. The NDN aims to improve the accessibility and use of all Australian statistics, and more topic-based portals are planned. Data is not stored on the NDN, instead data custodians provide a catalogue record and link to their data holdings.

For a comprehensive list of national children and youth data sources, see the ABS information paper Improving Statistics on Children and Youth: an Information Development Plan (cat. no. 4907.0) - 'Appendix 3: Available Information'.

Friday, October 5, 2007

2011 Census - Your Chance to Have a Say

The ABS will soon be inviting public comment on the content and procedures of the next Census. The invitation to have a say in the way the nation’s largest statistical collection is undertaken will be contained in the Information Paper: 2011 Census of Population and Housing: ABS Views on Content and Procedures, which will be released on 26 October 2007.

This is the first in a series of information papers about the 2011 Census. It marks the first step in the public consultation process for 2011 and outlines ABS proposals for the next Census.

Users of Census data and interested members of the public will be invited to make submissions on any aspect of the Census. Submissions may be lodged either online, electronically by email, or in hardcopy. The submission period will extend from 26 October 2007 to 31 March 2008.

Census Information Sessions

Information sessions on 2006 Census products and 2011 Census topic development are planned for each capital city during October and November 2007. These meetings are open to all interested members of the public and provide an opportunity to hear more about plans for the next Census, meet ABS staff and ask questions. Information about session times and locations in your state or territory is available via the 2011 Census webpages.

Walk to Work Day

Today is Australia's national Walk to Work Day. About 5% of Australia's workforce and students (18 years and over) usually walk or cycle to work or study. The two most important reasons why people usually walk or cycle are proximity of home to place of work or study (59%) and exercise and health (48%). For further information see Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0).

The upcoming second release of 2006 Census data will include statistics on Method of travel to work. Data on how people travelled to work on the day of the Census will be available on the website 25 October 2007.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Census Tables List

Want to know what Census tables are currently available, and which tables are coming? A full listing of 2006 Census tables and their release dates can now be accessed from the Census Tables Templates cat. no. 2057.0.55.001 (select the first file from the list under the Details tab).

Counting the Homeless

The 2006 Census is an essential source for data about housing circumstances across Australia, and includes counts of people who were sleeping out, or in refuges on Census night. However, identifying and measuring different types of homelessness can be a complex issue. Definitions of homelessness include primary, secondary, and tertiary homelessness.

The ABS is undertaking specific analysis of Census data to determine the level of homelessness at the time of the 2006 Census. A report on this analysis will be available in 2008. More information about the issues and methodologies relating to homelessness statistics can be found in the Australian Census Analytic Program: Counting the Homeless, 2001 (cat. no. 2050.0).

To access housing characteristics data currently available online: select the 2006 Census Tables product from the Census pages, and choose the topic 'Dwellings' under the 'Location on Census Night' count method option.
Dwelling Structure tables include the category ‘improvised home, tent and sleepers out’.
Type of Non-Private Dwelling by Person tables include categories such as 'hostel for the homeless, night shelter, refuge' and 'boarding house, private hotel'.

It is important to note that although these tables contain data about housing characteristics, homelessness statistics will not be available until the 2006 Counting the Homeless report is released next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The full picture on religion

Census QuickStats and Community Profile tables for religion will give you broad categories of religious affiliation data: including counts for Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, or different Christian denominations such as Baptist or Catholic.

However if you want a table that includes all of the most detailed categories available, including religious affiliations such as Wiccan, Pantheism, or Rastafarianism, then you need to access the full classification list.

This can be found in the Census Tables product, under the topic Religion: select the 'Religious Affiliation (full classification list) by Sex' option. 2006 full classification lists are available at Suburb and Local Government Area level, as well as for larger geographic areas.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mean/Median/Mode explained with a catchy tune

There are some interesting statistical resources online - this is one of the more musical offerings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Comparing 2006 & 2001 Census data

When comparing how things have changed since the last Census, it's important to take into account a big difference in how Census data is being released this time around.

Most 2006 Census data is being made available based on where a person usually lives, not where they were on Census night. Previous Census data, such as from the 2001 Census, was released based on the opposite; that is, your location on Census night (known as 'place of enumeration').

Some regions, such as the snowfields and other tourism areas, may have significant differences between the data generated from different count methods. As a result it's vital to be careful when comparing 2006 QuickStats and Basic Community Profiles with earlier data.

Here are some tips on comparing data:
- The 2001 Usual Residents Profile, found under the Community Profiles, allows you to compare data with 2006 usual residence data.
- A 2006 Place of Enumeration Profile will be released 25 September 2007, which will allow data comparison with 2001 QuickStats and Basic Community Profiles.
- Some 2006 Census tables are available on the basis of 'Location on Census Night' count method - select this method from the Census Tables topics page.
- 2006 Time Series Profiles, which compare data from 1996, 2001 & 2006, are based on Place of Enumeration, not Place of Usual Residence.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Housing Costs

Housing Stress is a topical media issue at present. Here are some pointers to finding ABS housing costs data.

Census Tables will provide you with data about housing costs, for example loan repayments by family composition, or income by rent data. Time series tables also allow comparisons with 2001 and 1996 Census data.

Simply click on 'Census Tables' from the link above, choose your geographic area, and select 'Housing Costs' as the topic. You will then be presented the list of available tables.
Note: Different tables are available under 'Place of Usual Residence' and 'Location on Census Night' count method options.

MapStats allows you to create maps showing the proportion of households with housing costs 30% or more of gross income at either a local level, or more broadly.



Check the Housing theme pages for links to further housing data.

Can't find the data you need? Contact our helpline to discuss your specific information needs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Seeking Migrant Statistics?

A new resource is available to help you locate migrant statistics. Search by topic to find key data sources for both ABS and non-ABS statistics in the Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2007 (cat. no. 3414.0). This ready reference guide brings together summaries of Australian statistics collections relating to migrants and ethnicity, and includes government, academic and private sources.

The Census Ethnic Media Package allows you to access 2006 Census data on persons born overseas on a country by country basis (available as an Excel spreadsheet to download). A Factsheet on Ancestry is also available to help explain ancestry and ethnic background data from the 2006 Census.

Measuring Violence

Violence is a sensitive issue and a challenging phenomenon to measure. Violence takes both a human and economic toll on society and can have serious consequences for people who experience it and those around them. The latest edition of Australian Social Trends, 2007 (ABS cat. no. 4102.0) includes articles on Interpersonal Violence and Women's Experience of Partner Violence, drawing data from a number of sources.

These articles provide useful summaries for those seeking information about domestic violence and the characteristics of violence within the community, including physical and sexual violence, stalking and harassment.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More 2006 Census Tables

There are currently a wide range of Census tables containing first release 2006 Census data available on the website. More Census tables will be made available from 29 August.

Second release data (including employment, industry and occupation data) will be available from October. To find out when specific tableswill be available check the 2006 Census Tables - Release Dates schedule on the website, under the Census Tables Templates.

Search Tip: some tables are available via the 'Location on Census Night' count option rather than the default 'Place of Usual Residence' - for example, 'Number of Motor Vehicles by Dwellings'. You may need to check both count method options when selecting your table topics.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fun & Games for teachers and students

New Education Services pages: teachers and students can now view the new education services pages on the ABS website.



Included are a number of fun interactive online games that explore statistical concepts. These learning resources can assist in bringing data to life in the classroom.

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