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.

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).