Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Creative Commons licensing for ABS data

The ABS has introduced Creative Commons (CC) licensing for the bulk of the content on the ABS website.

This will lessen the restrictions on the use of free data from the website by changing the copyright from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved". In effect, what the ABS is asking is only that it be acknowledged as the source of the data.

People are now free to re-use, build upon and distribute ABS data, even commercially. This makes a wealth of data readily available to the community, researchers and business, facilitating innovative research and development projects based on quality statistics.

For more information see the ABS page on Creative Commons licensing.

Statistical Declaration - Working Together for an Informed Australia in the 21st Century

In November 2008 around 460 delegates from the statistical community across Australia met for the first time at the NatStats08 conference in Melbourne.

NatStats conference participants drafted a Statistical Declaration to guide the development of a national statistics strategy for Australia in the 21st century.

The NatStats conference discussed three main themes related to statistics: Informing the Nation; Measuring the Progress of Society; and Environmental Information for Informed Decisions. Speaker presentations from the conference will be available on the NatStats website shortly.

The NatStats conference was hosted by the National Statistical Service (NSS). The NSS is a community of government agencies building a rich statistical picture for a better informed Australia. It aims to develop and improve a statistical system that ensures providers and users of statistics have the confidence to trust the statistics produced within it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

International Day of People with Disability

On December 3 each year, the International Day of People with Disability is celebrated worldwide recognising the achievements and contributions of people with disability. The day aims to increase awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (cat. no. 4430.0) provides a range of information on people with a disability including disability status, main condition, assistance needed/received, use of aids, use of public transport and employment restrictions.

People with a Need for Assistance - A Snapshot, 2006 (cat. no. 4445.0) examines the age, sex, indigenous status, state/ territory, remoteness index, living arrangements, proficiency in English, labour force participation and occupation of people with a need for assistance.

The 2006 Census of Population and Housing includes questions for the first time that measure the characteristics of people with a profound or severe disability. CDATA Online allows users to create tables combining data relating to people with a core need for assistance with a range of other variables, for a variety of geographic areas.

Other resources relating to People with a disability can be found in:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Energy Use & Conservation in Australian Households

  • What proportion of the population are using energy saving lights?
  • How many households have a computer?
  • For how many months of the year are people using coolers?
  • How important is energy star rating compared with price or brand when people purchase white goods?

Find out in the new issue: Environmental Issues: energy use and conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001).

Household energy use and conservation data is collected every three years. This latest survey was conducted in March 2008. Previous data were published in 2005, 2002, 1999 and 1994 and available in Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0).

New data items for 2008 include type and number of televisions and solar hot water system or solar panels used to generate electricity. Existing data items have been modified in the 2008 survey to provide more detailed information on lighting, energy sources and household appliances.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mental Health & Homelessness

The recently released National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (cat. no. 4326.0) includes information on a selection of life experiences and mental health, including homelessness. Data is available for people who reported ever being homeless, and type of mental disorder experienced, such as anxiety disorders or substance use disorders.

Homelessness statistics for the Australian population can be found in the Australian Census Analytic Program publication: Counting the Homeless, 2006 (cat. no. 2050.0), released in September 2008.

This publication includes data from the 2006 Census complemented by data from other surveys of youth homelessness and users of support services. It also provides information on the change in the size and composition of the homeless population over time, and draws on earlier research using 1996 and 2001 Census data.

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW) released the 9th issue of Mental Health Services in Australia, 2004-05 in August 2008, which includes information on Mental Health-related Supported Accommodation Assistance Program Services (chapter 9); and the bulletin Homeless SAAP clients with mental health and substance use problems 2004-05 in 2007.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


If you are accessing CDATA Online to create and customise tables, maps and graphs you can now check Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) online for assistance using this product.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sport & Physical Activity

Is playing computer games a sport?
Does golf provide fitness benefits?
When is dancing a sport rather than a form of artistic expression?

A new Information Paper: Defining Sport and Physical Activity, A Conceptual Model (cat. no. 4149.0.55.001) looks a range of issues, key concepts, and definitions relating to survey research on sport and physical activity.

Check the Culture and Recreation theme pages to find the latest sporting and physical activity statistics.

National Accounts & AWE historical data now online

All ABS publications from 1994 onwards are available online. Recently the ABS added earlier issues to the ABS website for:

Access earlier issues via the 'Past & Future Releases' tab in the above publications.

1991 and 1986 Census publications have also been recently added to the website, with 1981 Census publications currently in the process of being digitised.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CDATA Online seminars

CDATA Online allows you to create and customise your own tables, maps and graphs using 2006 Census data. This product is available free online via the ABS website. Further description is available in the CDATA Online Product Brief.

Free introductory seminars on CDATA Online are available in some capital cities and regional areas. Check the ABS Training Calendar for upcoming scheduled sessions, or contact training@abs.gov.au for further information.

Housing: mirror and mould for Australian society?

The third in a series of essays from the Academy of the Social Sciences based on data from the 2006 Census: Andrew Beer's paper Housing: mirror and mould for Australian society looks at recent housing trends, including affordability, house size, and stay-at-home children.

Other papers in the Census Series include:
These papers were released today as part of the NatStats08 Conference in Melbourne. Further papers will be released progressively from March 2009.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sport in Australia

Australian sport issues and sporting programs are now featured in a new publication: Perspectives on Sport (cat. no. 4156.0.55.001).

The first issue includes articles on:
  • What motivates Australians to participate in sport?

  • Involvement in Organised Sport as a Coach, Instructor, Referee or Umpire

  • Sports and Physical Recreation Volunteers
Find further sport-related data in the October 2008 edition of Sports and Physical Recreation: a Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4156.0)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mental Health & Wellbeing

One in five Australians aged 16–85 years had a mental disorder in 2007, according to figures released today in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (cat. no.4326.0).

This survey provides information on the prevalence of mental disorders by three major disorder groups:
  • Anxiety disorders (eg Social Phobia)
  • Affective disorders (eg Depression)
  • Substance Use disorders (eg Alcohol Harmful Use)
It also provides information on :
  • level of impairment
  • health services used for mental health problems
  • physical conditions
  • social networks and caregiving
  • demographic and socio-economic characteristics
Respondents were asked about experiences throughout their lifetime.

The survey is based on an international survey instrument developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use by participants in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Therefore, it has been designed to provide data that are internationally comparable, rather than to provide comparisons with the previous 1997 ABS Mental Health and Wellbeing survey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CDATA Online

A new way of accessing and customising 2006 Census data will be released on 27 October 2008.
2006 CDATA Online will allow you to create your own tables of Census data on a range of different topics such as - age, education, housing, income, transport, religion, ethnicity, occupation and more. All Census geographies will be available, from a single Collection District to an entire State/Territory or total Australia.

You will even be able to make your own custom areas and view your Census data in tables, graphs and maps. CDATA 2006 is more powerful than ever before because the data used to construct your table is the same data used to create outputs inside the ABS. The CDATA Online Product Brief provides a full description of this product which will be available free online.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Marriage in Australia

2007 saw the highest number of marriages registered in a single year since 1990. The crude marriage rate (marriages per 1000 population) has however, decreased in the last 20 years from 7.1 in 1988 to 5.5 in 2007.

People are getting married at an older age, with the median age for first time marriage being 29.6 for males and 27.6 for females. This is in comparison to 26.1 years and 24.0 years back in 1989.

Civil celebrants were the preferred officiators throughout 2007, with 63% of couples choosing this service over marriages conducted by a Religious Minister.

Couples who lived together prior to marriage grew to 76.8%, and March was the most popular month to marry. To find out more, see Marriages, Australia 2007 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Homepage Changes

The latest changes to the ABS homepage have now been released. These changes follow current web trends in design and aim to provide greater accessibility and more relevance to our customers and key clients. Modifications include:
  • a new "Spotlight on" section, drawing attention to high profile and current issues
  • the Australian Population clock now on the homepage
  • an ongoing display of the 5 most recent "Media Releases"
For more detailed information see the page website changes explained.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Historical Data now available online

Publications from the 1991 Census are now available online.

These can be located from the 'Downloads' tab of the publication Census of Population and Housing, 1991 (cat. no. 2101.0).
Publications from the 1986 Census will be soon also be available from the ABS website.

Other historical data now online includes Labour Statistics publications back to 1912.
Available via the Past & Future Releases tab of the publication Labour Statistics, Australia (cat. no. 6101.0): several related titles have been grouped together, including the Labour Report, and Labour and Industrial Branch Report. These past publications include historical data on employment, prices, wages and more.

Data from the 1988-89 Household Expenditure Survey has also recently been made available online (see cat. no.'s 6530.0, 6535.0, 6537.0, 6527.0).

These historical (past) issues have been scanned from the original paper versions utilising character recognition software, which enables full-text searching capability within the stored .pdf.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Innovation in Australian Business

Over one-third of Australian businesses were reported as undertaking some form of innovation according to Innovation in Australian Business, 2006-07. This release presents information about the incidence of innovation in Australian business and related practices or influences. It reports data as collected by the 2006-07 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS).

Some other key findings from the publication include:
  • The Information Media and Telecommunications industry had the highest proportion of innovation activity
  • Information technology skills were the most prevalent skill type used for innovation purposes.
  • More than three-quarters of innovative-active businesses claimed that the most common driver of innovation was profit-related.
  • Over 25% of businesses claimed that a lack of skilled staff significantly hampered their ability to innovate.

Further information is available in the publication Innovation in Australian Business, 2006-07 cat. no. 8158.0.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Free Workshops for Teacher Librarians

The ABS provides a wealth of free educational resources that are invaluable for teachers and students. To help Teacher Librarians understand what is available and how to access it, the ABS is holding free hands-on information sessions, tailored especially for Teacher Librarians.

Check the ABS Training Calendar pages for details of workshop sessions in your State or Territory.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Water and the Murray-Darling Basin

Just over half of Australia's water use in 2004-05 was from the Murray-Darling Basin, according to Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06 (cat. no. 4610.0.55.007).

This publication presents a range of water, social, environmental and economic statistics relating to the Murray-Darling Basin, including:
  • climate
  • water availability
  • water consumption
  • agricultural production
  • population
  • employment
  • social characteristics
  • natural resource management

Friday, August 15, 2008

People with a Need for Assistance

A new snapshot looking at People with a Need for Assistance has been released this month. Disability affects about one in five Australians to varying degrees and in various ways. This can range from someone who has a mild hearing impairment that is overcome by the use of a hearing aid, to a person who cannot wash or dress without help.

In 2006, the Census of Population and Housing included questions for the first time on people with disabilities at the more severe end of this spectrum, that is those who need assistance with self-care, communication or mobility activities.

People with a Need for Assistance - A Snapshot, 2006 (cat. no. 4445.0) examines the age, sex, indigenous status, state/ territory, remoteness index, living arrangements, proficiency in English, labour force participation and occupation of people with a need for assistance. It also contains a brief assessment of the comparability of the data with the core-activity limitation data from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (cat. no. 4430.0).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

International comparison tables

The 2008 issue of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) contains international summary tables for a range of areas, from literacy to life expectancy.

Australia is compared with major OECD countries, our closest neighbours, and our trading partners in regard to population, employment, education and other areas.

Australian Social Trends, 2008 also includes summary tables at a national and state level for key areas of social concern, including housing, work and family. These tables bring together data from a variety of different sources to provide an overview of social change over the last decade.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dental Health

Data from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-06 has been released by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW) this week. National Survey of Oral Health publications have been released for each State and Territory.

These provide a detailed snapshot of oral health including:
  • levels of oral disease
  • perceived oral health and patterns of dental treatment
  • dental insurance
  • government assistance for dental care
The AIHW also released a summary report on the Oral Health of Adult Public Dental Patients utilising data from the oral health survey.

Visits to the dentist
The ABS National Health Survey 2004-05 (cat. no. 4364.0) contains data relating to the number, age and characteristics of people who had consulted a dentist in the two weeks prior to the survey.

How many dentists in your area?
Check the 2006 Census tables to find out how many dentists live in your city or local area. Select the Census topic 'Occupation' then select the option 'Occupation by Sex - 2006 ANZSCO Alternative View: Health Occupations'.

Dental labour force
For a summary of data relating to Dental Practitioners from the 2006 Census of Population & Housing see the ABS snapshot Selected Health Occupations, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 4819.0).

Find further data on the characteristics of the Dental Labour Force in a series of reports also released by AIHW this week. Data in the reports is from the 2005 National dental labour force survey.

Government Funding for Libraries

The latest release of Cultural Funding by Government, Australia 2006-07 (cat. no. 4183.0) includes data on library funding by government.

It includes comparison of funding levels for 2005-06 and 2006-07. Expenditure by local governments on libraries is provided separately for the first time in this issue. Previously only a total local government figure was provided.

Accessing ABS Information - free seminars

Free seminars on Accessing ABS Information will be held:

24 September 2008, 9.30 to 11 a.m.
13 November 2008, 9.30 to 11 a.m.

26 August 2008, 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.
23 September 2008, 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.
20 October 2008, 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.
26 November 2008, 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.

For further information and reservations please get in touch with the ABS Training Contact for Adelaide or Perth.

Sessions scheduled for Canberra and Sydney in August 2008 are currently full, but contact us if you would like to be notified of upcoming sessions in these cities, or other areas.
Check the ABS Training Calendar for further information on free Census sessions in Melbourne and more.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Historical Population Statistics

Find historical data online for Australian population size and growth, indigenous population, deaths, divorces, migration and more in the newly updated Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001).

This publication contains a wide range of demographic data in spreadsheet format (Microsoft Excel), going back, where possible, to the beginning of European settlement (1788) of Australia.

The 2008 update of Australian Historical Population Statistics will be released in two stages due to the availablity of new data relevant to this publication shortly after its initial release.
  • The first release, on 5 August 2008, includes statistics on population size and growth, population age-sex structure, births, deaths, migration, country of birth, overseas arrivals and depatures, marriages, divorces and population by marital status.
  • The second release, scheduled for September 2008, will include statistics on population distribution and the Indigenous population.

The ABS sees this as an evolving product, with new data sets being added in response to the need and the availability of data in electronic form. Comments on this product would be appreciated: email demography@abs.gov.au

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

National Data Network (NDN) closed

The National Data Network (NDN) has recently undergone a review process. Most of the development to date has been done in demonstration/pilot mode. As a result of the reviews the ABS has decided to bring the pilot phase to a close and cease further development on the network. This includes the Children and Youth Statistical Portal.

The vision of accessing and sharing of data is still very alive and the ABS will be focusing on expansion of the National Statistical Service (NSS). There are now other initiatives being pursued that have some similar objectives to those of the NDN.

The ABS will continue to develop strategies for 'whole of government' information sharing. For further information, see the NDN webpage.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Child Care

Data from the 2006 Australian Government Census of Child Care Services is now available from the Office of Early Childhood Education.

Conducted regularly since 1986, the Child Care Census examines information about child care users, staff and carers and operational details of child care services.

Data on unpaid childcare is available from the ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Access via the Census Tables (select topic 'Childcare'). Further statistics relating to child care can be found in the ABS publication Child Care, Australia 2005 (cat. no. 4402.0).

Risk Taking by Young People

Data on a range of risky behaviours by young people aged 15-24 years can be found in the latest edition of Australian Social Trends, 2008 (cat. no. 4102.0), including:
  • drinking at risky levels
  • illicit drug use
  • dangerous driving
  • violence

The latest data on youth suicide, mental health, road accidents and other areas are also covered in the article: Risk Taking by Young People.

Outcome of Review of ASGC

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is used for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The ASGC has formed the foundation of the statistical geography used by the ABS since 1984.

The ABS intends to replace the current ASGC with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) through an implementation strategy commencing in 2011.

The ASGS will be based upon mesh blocks creating more stable and consistent units than the ASGC. It will be the new basis for the publication of the complete range of ABS spatial statistics.

The ASGS will become the essential reference for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of ABS statistics. The ABS anticipates that it will be widely adopted outside the ABS to facilitate the cross comparison of spatial statistics.

A second Information Paper is now available outlining the new Australian Statistical Geography. It addresses the main concerns of stakeholders regarding the ASGS and summarises the strategy for its introduction. Information Paper: Outcome of the Review of the Standard Geographical Classification, 2008 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.002).

Structure of the ASGS

Health of Mature Age Workers

A snapshot released today presents data on the health of older workers in Australia.

Analysing data from the 2004-05 National Health Survey, the report found that mature age workers (between 45-74 years) were slightly healthier than their non-working counterparts, with 8 in 10 workers having a chronic health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity, compared with 9 in 10 of the non-working population.

See Health of Mature Age Workers in Australia: a Snapshot, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4837.0.55.001).

Monday, July 28, 2008

National Regional Profile Updated

The National Regional profile (NRP) has now been updated with a new look, extra Help, and more data. This release contains data spanning the years 2002 to 2006.

New features in this release include the introduction of an NRP Welcome Page which is the 'springboard' for finding regions and data of interest. The Welcome Page includes 'Help' information, such as 'How to's' and 'Frequently Asked Questions' to help users navigate and use the NRP.

A series of four videos have been created to provide a brief overview of the new NRP:
NRP Video Demonstration

In this release, NRP users are also able to access a range of data not available elsewhere on the ABS website including:
  • Estimated Resident Population by detailed age and sex ranges for Statistical Local Areas,

  • counts of Australian businesses, including entries and exits data,

  • time series Taxation Statistics data

  • and a range of state specific data
We are interested in obtaining your feedback on the latest NRP and its new features. This feedback will be used to improve future products and services. Please take a few minutes to complete the feedback form in the NRP.

Australian Social Trends

Australian Social Trends, 2008 (cat. no. 4102.0) describes aspects of Australian society and how these are changing over time. It covers such topics as population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, housing and other areas of interest including internet access and public transport use for work and study.

Also included are a set of international tables that compare Australian trends with those of 17 other nations.
The current 2008 edition shows:
  • Australians are more likely to have broadband over dial-up

  • the number of people working as complementary health professionals has nearly doubled in the ten years to 2006

  • women were more likely to volunteer than men

  • three quarters of adults in capital cities used cars as their main form of public transport - Sydney had the highest level of public transport use while Canberra had the lowest.

Monday, July 7, 2008

OECD Factbook and Trendalyzer

Data from the OECD Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics can be viewed as animated bubble charts using Trendalyzer software from Gapminder.

Track how Australia has changed over time in comparison with other countries. Just click "View Factbook data using Trendalyzer" from the Factbook entry page.

Hans Rosling's Gapminder website includes a range of resources aiming to 'convert boring numbers into enjoyable, animated and interactive graphics': http://www.gapminder.org/

Create your own bubble chart
Google acquired the software behind Trendalyzer in 2007 and their first output is now up and running as a free Google Gadget called Motion Chart. It allows everyone to make a gapminder-like bubble graph that you can publish on your web-page or blog, using google spreadsheets.

Changes to ABS website

Some changes have been made to the design of the ABS website. This is the first in a series of planned enhancements to the ABS website.

Changes include:
  • lightening of colours in the top banner
  • 'Details' tab now 'Downloads' tab
  • addThis 'Bookmark and Share' buttons
  • more efficient print functionality, and more

Check the ABS website changes page for information on all the changes.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spotlight on Maternity Leave

The latest Australian Labour Market Statistics release (cat. no. 6105.0) contains four new 'spotlight' articles - which bring together data on key topics relating to labour statistics.

Spotlight - Maternity Leave:
The issue of paid maternity leave has achieved increasing prominence in Australia over the past few years, particularly within the context of an ageing population and initiatives to increase the fertility rate in Australia; the ability of Australian families to balance their work and family responsibilities; and concerns over the costs and availability of child care. There has been ongoing debate about whether there should be a paid maternity leave scheme, and if so, who would fund such a scheme.

This article highlights changes in paid maternity leave coverage over the past five years, and explores some of the characteristics of female employees who have paid maternity leave entitlements.

Labour Underutilisation

A new series, the Quarterly Labour Force Underutilisation Rate is introduced in the July issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) released today.

Labour underutilisation is the extent to which available labour is underutilised - either through unemployment or underemployment.

This quarterly time series replaces the existing annual rate which was first published in 2002 in Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (cat. no. 6296.0). The new quarterly series has a more conceptually correct basis than the annual rate, and has provided the opportunity to produce more frequent and timely measures of changes in underemployment, and in turn, the underutilisation rate.

For more information see the Quarterly labour force underutilisation rate article in Australian Labour Market Statistics, Jul 2008.

Robbery on the rise in 2007

A snapshot of robbery in 2007 summarises data from the latest Recorded Crime - Victims release.

Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 4510.0) presents national crime statistics relating to victims of a selected range of offences that have been recorded by police.
Offences include murder, blackmail/extortion, motor vehicle theft, unlawful entry with intent, and other theft. Information is included on the age and sex of victims, the location where the offence occurred, and outcome of police investigations at 30 days.

Bizlinks seminars for small business in WA

Western Australia: the ABS has been involved in the organisation and conducting of Bizlinks, a seminar designed to assist small businesses during the initial stages of their start-up and development.

Bizlinks seminars incorporate presentations delivered by a collection of Government agencies. These include the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP) and the State Library of WA.

The first Bizlinks seminar is being held at 5.30pm - 8pm on Wednesday July 30 2008 at the State Library of WA. Check the latest issue of Stats Talk WA (cat. no. 1304.5) for information on how to register.

Identity theft, email scams and more

The results from the first National Personal Fraud Survey have now been released in Personal Fraud, 2007 (cat. no. 4528.0).

The survey measured three key elements of personal fraud:
  • people's exposure to a range of selected scams;
  • whether a person was a victim of either identity fraud or a range of selected scams
  • any financial losses incurred by victims of personal fraud

Identity fraud included: credit or bank card fraud, and identity theft.
Selected scams included: lotteries, pyramid schemes, phishing and related scams, financial advice, chain letters, advance fee fraud and other scams.

Detailed demographic characteristics about victims, as well as characteristics of the most recent incident for each type of personal fraud were also collected.

Riding the Boom: housing statistics

The ABS has a large range of housing related information that can be used to keep track of the fluctuations in Australia’s housing market.

This mini article: Riding the Boom in the June issue of Stats Talk WA (cat. no. 1304.5) provides a simple overview of housing market data available from the ABS website.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Statistical Language!

What is meant by time series? What is Relative Standard Error?

A new publication Statistical Language! (cat. no. 1332.0.55.002) aims to help you understand some fundamental statistical concepts.

Written in plain English, in an easy to use format, this resource will assist users to:
  • understand key statistical terminology

  • gain confidence with interpreting summarised information

  • make critical and informed use of data, whatever its source

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Health Literacy in Australia

What level of skills do Australians have in understanding and using information related to health issues? Health issues can include drugs and alcohol, disease prevention and treatment, safety and accident prevention, first aid, emergencies, and staying healthy.

A new publication: Health Literacy, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4233.0) has just been released. It presents detailed results on Australia's health literacy from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS), which was conducted in 2006.

It includes data relating to health literacy skill levels across different age groups, states and territories, and a range of demographic characteristics. Additional data cubes will be added to the website at a later date.

Australia's Health 2008

Australia's health 2008 is the 11th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Content includes:
An overview of the health of Australians
Whose health? how population groups vary
Determinants: keys to prevention
Diseases and injury
Health across the life stages
Health services
Expenditure and workforce

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Climate Change and Water: measuring the impact

At a recent United Nations conference, the ABS presented a paper on how water accounts can contribute to our understanding of climate change.

Water accounts can be used to inform our response, for instance, to changing water availability and distribution. Water accounts enable comparisons of the effects of changes in water use over time, both across industries and sectors and between regions. For example, within the agriculture industry water accounts can help to inform decisions about the cost-effectiveness of irrigating different crops.

Water accounts can also be used to track changing patterns of water use associated with evolving water pricing and trading policies, particularly when such policies target specific sectors of the economy to encourage more efficient water use.

The paper 'Climate Change and Water: how water accounts can help our understanding' was presented at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change and Official Statistics in April 2008.

New ABS course: 'Valuing Australia's Environment'
Open to people outside the ABS for the first time in July 2008, this one day course focuses on the emerging discipline of environmental accouting.

For further information check the latest issue of Environment and Energy News (cat. no. 4653.0)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Drug Action Week 22 - 28 June 2008

The Drug Action Week 2008 website has a range of Factsheets available which provide summary data about alcohol and drugs in relation to young people, sport, the workplace, indigenous peoples, and more.

Illicit Drugs Data
  • The latest summary results from Australia's major survey of drug use and related issues, the 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, were released in April 2008 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Data relating to illicit drugs in Australia can be found across a range of resources. A comprehensive overview of sources of data is provided in the AIHW publication Statistics on Drug Use in Australia, 2006. An earlier overview was released by the ABS in 2001: Illicit Drug Use, Sources of Australian Data (cat. no. 4808.0).

Links to key data resources are also available via the UNSW Drug Policy Monitoring Program webpage on Drug Statistics; and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) wepages on Illicit Drugs and Alcohol.

Children's Sports Participation

The ABS currently has a research project underway to study children's participation in sports over time. This study will use data from the three surveys on Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, which were conducted in 2000, 2003, and 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0).

Many experts recognise that children's participation in sports is beneficial to health and physical fitness and also facilitates the development of social/interpersonal skills and psychological well-being. This is why information on the range, frequency and duration of sporting activities, the characteristics of children who participate in them and changes in these characteristics over time, are of particular interest to researchers and policymakers.

Also of interest is any information on changes in participation during the childhood lifecycle. For example, do children continue to play the same sports or increase/decrease or rearrange their sporting activities as they grow older?
Detecting patterns in children's sports participation over their lifecycle and reasons behind these patterns could inform policymaking.

Read more about this cohort analysis of children's sports participation research project in the latest issue of Methodological News, Jun 2008 (cat. no. 1504.0).

Growing Up in Australia

In 2004, over 10,000 children and families around Australia agreed to take part in Growing Up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). The 2006-07 Annual Report has now been released, featuring preliminary analysis of the Wave 2 data from the study, collected in 2006-07.

LSAC is following the development of 2 groups of children until 2010 and possibly beyond. It addresses a range of key questions about children's development and wellbeing.

This report includes an examination of breastfeeding and return to work patterns, financial well-being of families, childcare and employment, and parental work and time with children.
The ABS is the data collection agency for the study, providing statistical advice and support to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Life at 3 documentary
The documentary 'Life at 1', drawing on the experience of the Growing Up in Australia study, was screened on ABC TV in October 2006. It followed 11 babies and their families through their ordinary routines and milestones, looking at the impact on their lives of factors such as their parents' relationships, finances, work, health and education.

Following the success of Life at 1, Film Australia has begun production of Life at 3. A Life at 2 website has been launched by the ABC, at www.abc.net.au/lifeat2, to provide updates on the families and their children between the documentary waves.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Health Workforce Snapshot

A new snapshot of Australia's health workforce is available. Selected Health Occupations, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4819.0) uses data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing to provide an overview of 4 key occupational groups:
  • Generalist medical practitioners
  • Specialists
  • Dental practitioners
  • Nurses (including midwives)

This release examines:

Geographic distribution - across different states, or by remoteness

Demographic characteristics - such as age and sex, if aged 60 and over, whether born overseas or recent arrival

Working arrangements - including hours worked, part-time workers

This data provides information about current trends in key health occupations and their longer term sustainability.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All The News That's Fit To Print ... *

If you are reading this you already know of at least one way to keep up to date with things statistical but did you know the ABS also produces a number of newsletters?

You'll find a link on the ABS website under Newsletters on the News & Media page.
Recent releases include:
Education and Training Matters (cat. no. 4211.0)
Statistics News NSW (cat. no. 1300.1.55.001)
CensusAtSchool (cat. no. 1332.0.55.001)
What's New in Regional Statistics (cat. no. 1386.0)
Demography News (cat. no. 3106.0)

Whether you are interested in a specific area or the work of the ABS in general we produce newsletters on most subjects so there is most likely one relevant to you. Subjects are as varied as the work of the ABS. For example we have newsletters related to Tourism, Agriculture, Culture and Recreation, Migration, the Environment and the Census.

So go to the News & Media page and have a look and don't forget that you can subscribe to our customisable free email notification service to keep up with our daily releases, including newsletters.

*Apologies to the venerable New York Times

Friday, June 13, 2008

NSW Statistics

  • Is NSW growing faster or slower?
  • What has happened with household income over the last decade?
  • Which industries contribute the most to income and employment growth?
  • What are the key trends for health, education and crime?

NSW in Focus, 2008 (cat. no. 1338.1) provides a snapshot of activity within the state. Drawing upon both ABS and non-ABS sources, NSW in Focus has twelve chapters presenting a rich array of social, economic and environmental data.

New in this year's publication is the inclusion of "Statistical Highlights" which provides some analysis and graphs on selected indicators. Each chapter also features a summary table of selected indicators allowing users to track changes over time, and a list of data sources which are a helpful reference for further research.

Feedback: Have Your Say
The ABS is actively seeking feedback on NSW in Focus content and indicators. You can contribute by clicking 'Have Your Say' on the Summary page of the publication.

Free NSW Seminar:
To complement the release of NSW in Focus, ABS NSW is conducting a free seminar. This information seminar will provide an overview of key social, economic and environmental trends for NSW, drawing on a wide range of data from NSW in Focus.

When: Tuesday 1 July, 9.30 - 10.30am
Where: ABS, Level 5, St Andrew’s House, Sydney Square, Sydney

To register interest attending the seminar, or for further information contact Grace Kim on (02) 9268 4092, or email nsw.statistics@abs.gov.au

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Household Preparedness for Emergencies

What steps have NSW, Vic., Qld and ACT households taken to prepare for emergencies?

Data has now been released from the Household Preparedness for Emergencies: NSW, Vic., Qld and ACT survey, which was conducted in October 2007 (cat. no. 4818.0.55.001).

The publication provides a range of information on households in NSW, Vic., Qld and the ACT including:
  • presence of safety precautions
  • access to emergency phone numbers
  • emergency plans and selected household characteristics
  • recent emergencies experienced by households

Other resources relating to Australian emergencies:
In 2006 the ABS published an Emergency Management Information Development Plan (cat. no. 1385.0) and Emergency Management Information Development Plan Matrix (cat. no. 1385.0.55.001 ). These publications identify some of the data available from different agencies and issues relating to emergency management information.

Some non-ABS resources: The Emergency Management Australia website includes the EMA Disasters Database. This database contains records of all natural and non-natural disasters within Australia (where information is available) dating from 1662 to present day.

Other interesting resources include: The National Database of Fire Statistics; Bushfire CRC; the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services 2008 (Part D Emergency Management); and the Australian Disaster Information Network (AusDIN) Portal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New data on Family Transitions

Statistics are now available for new family related topics.

For the first time the 2006-07 Family Characteristics and Transitions Survey collected information for persons aged 18 years and over about the family transitions they have experienced in their lives.

For example: the death or divorce of their parents, couple relationship history and relationship expectations; reasons for still living with parents, and reasons for leaving home; children born, and expectations of having children in the future.

Other data available in Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4442.0) can be compared with earlier Family Characteristics Surveys, and helps show how the number and proportions of various family types have changed over the last decade.
Data is available for:

  • household and family composition
  • grandparent families, foster families, same sex couple families
  • children with parents living elsewhere
  • contact arrangements

Further tables at a state and territory level will be available later this month.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Children and Youth News

The latest issue of Children and Youth News (cat. no. 4105.0) is now available. It includes articles on topics such as the amount of time parents spend with their children; how young people use their time; and more.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Venomous Data

Red back spiders, bees, snakes, or jellyfish?
Which animal causes the most hospitalisations in Australia?

Venomous bites and stings in Australia to 2005 was released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

This report describes the bites and stings due to contact with venomous animals and plants that resulted in a separation from an Australian hospital in the period 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2005. Analyses of bite and sting cases over time (1999–2005) are also presented.

Find data relating to deaths from contact with various venomous plants and animals in the latest ABS Causes of Death publication (cat. no. 3303.0).

How much do Australian households spend on health?

A snapshot of household expenditure on health 2004-05 was released today (cat. no. 4836.0.55.001).

It provides data relating to a range of areas, including:
  • average weekly expenditure on medical care and health expenses
  • expenditure on dental treatments
  • expenditure on accident and health insurance

It should be noted that this article is based mainly on data from the 2003–04 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and the 2004–05 National Health Survey (NHS). Data are presented on a household, rather than an individual basis.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Historical schools data online

Schools statistics from 1960 onwards are now available on the ABS website.

The current publication Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) now includes issues from earlier publications under the Past and Future Releases tab. These issues have been digitised from paper copies of the original publications, and encompass several changes of title or catalogue number.

Summary schools data prior to 1960 can be found online in historical issues of Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is an innovative web resource that makes information on Indigenous health easily accessible.

It aims to provide a 'one-stop info-shop' for people looking for quality, up-to-date knowledge and information about aspects of Indigenous health. It incorporates a range of ABS data.

The HealthInfoNet also supports 'yarning places' (electronic networks) that encourage information-sharing and collaboration among people working in health and related sectors.

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is part of the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at Edith Cowan University.

Animated Population Pyramids

A useful tool for demonstrating how Australia's population is changing over time, including population projections to 2051, can be found in the ABS animated population pyramids.

Data from 1971 onwards is available, and for each state and territory as well as Australia as a whole.

You can select your own age group and see it change over the years, with the option to highlight a surplus of males or females.

Access the pyramids via the Australia's Population quick link from the left of the ABS home page.

Arts and Culture

The latest update of Arts and Culture in Australia: a Statistical Overview, 2008 (cat. no. 4172.0) has just been released.

If you are looking for statistics about cultural tourism, the music industry, film and video, museums, arts education, employment and volunteers, or other arts and culture related data - this publication is essential. It brings together the latest data from a wide range of different sources.

Feature articles include a Libraries Factsheet: which provides information on topics such as 'Are some people more likely to visit libraries than others?'

Thursday, May 22, 2008

ACT Statistics

The first issue of the new publication inFACT (cat. no. 1308.8) was released today. It provides a comprehensive and detailed statistical overview of the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding region. It is the principal reference work produced by the ACT Office of the ABS, and replaces the previous compendium publications 'Australian Capital Territory in Focus' (cat. no. 1307.8) and ACT Stats (cat. no. 1344.8.55.001). It will be released on a quarterly basis.

What information can I find via inFACT?
A wide range of data from both ABS and non-ABS sources is available, including:

  • official population figures for Canberra suburbs (SLAs)
  • number of schools in the ACT
  • life expectancy
  • house price increases
  • average tax per capita
  • water useage and rainfall

Website user tip:
Looking for similar publications for other states and territories?
Access via the Australian Year Books link under Key Products Quick Link on the left side of the ABS home page; or check the Regional pages under Themes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Library & Information Week

To celebrate Library and Information Week (19 May - 25 May) the ABS has prepared a snapshot of Australian library facts and figures.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Service Industries Statistics: Public Libraries Survey

A number of ABS service industries surveys originally planned for the 2007/2008 reference year program have unfortunately been cancelled due to financial constraints. Cancelled collections include the previously advertised Public Libraries and Archives survey and the Pubs, Taverns and Bars, and Clubs (Hospitality) surveys. Legal Services and the Museums survey will still be conducted.

Further information is available in today's Service Industries Statistics Newsletter (cat. no. 8601.0) or via the Service Industries Statistics theme page.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Community Preparedness for Emergencies

Are Australian households prepared for emergencies such as bushfire, flood, cyclone, or other hazardous events?
Data has been released from the Western Australia Community Preparedness for Emergencies survey, which was conducted in October 2007 (cat. no. 4818.5).

This publication provides a range of information, including:

  • transportation needs during evacuation
  • whether anyone in the household would need help getting out of the dwelling in an emergency
  • availability of stored drinking water and emergency food stores
  • whether a household has a working torch
  • unwillingness to evacuate

Another new publication 'Household Preparedness for Emergencies: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Australian Capital Territory' (cat. no. 4818.0.55.001) is currently due to be released 8 June 2008.
Previously the ABS has released Community Preparedness for Emergencies, NSW, Oct 2003 (cat. no. 4818.1)

Website user tip:
To check the release schedule for upcoming ABS Publications Mar 2008 to Aug 2008: access the Release Advice page via the Future Releases link in the middle of the ABS homepage.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Families Week facts and figures

'Work and Family - getting the balance right' is the theme of National Families Week 2008 (11 May - 17 May).

An ABS Snapshot of work and the Australian family includes these facts and figures:

  • More mothers with children under 15 were employed in March 2008 than at any time in the last decade; 63% were employed in March 2008, compared with 54% ten years earlier; 60% of these mothers worked part time.

  • In 2006, mothers (with children under 15) in full-time employment spent on average 18 hours per week on domestic activities - twice as much as fathers employed full time.

  • In 2006 there were 2.2 million grandparents who had grandchildren under 15. In a 12 month period, 83% of these grandparents had been babysitters for their grandchildren; 39% provided school holiday care; and 28% regularly looked after their grandchildren while the children's parents were at work.

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents with children under 15 reported that they 'always or often' felt rushed or pressed for time.

Changes to ABS survey program for 2008-09

Information from the Australian Statistician about changes to the ABS survey program 2008-09 is now available from the ABS website.

This includes information that the Year Book Australia will not be produced for 2009, lists surveys that will not be conducted in 2008-09, and surveys which will have a change in sample size or content, such as the Labour Force Survey.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NatStats08 Conference

The NatStats08 Conference will be held in Melbourne from 19-21 November 2008.

NatStats08 will provide the opportunity to meet with a wide range of people involved in the production and use of official data which in turn helps inform and shape a great deal of public and private policy and investment decisions across our nation.

The Conference will also provide opportunities to discuss how we might improve and extend our measures of progress in Australian society and generally improve the statistical base for the nation.
See the conference program for further information .

To register your interest in the conference email: natstats@con-sol.com

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Indigenous Health and Welfare

The latest comprehensive statistical overview of Australian indigenous health and welfare has been released:
The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008 (cat. no. 4704.0) brings together data from a range of sources.

Topics include demographic and population characteristics; housing circumstances; maternal and child health; health risk factors; health status; disability; and access to, and use of, services.

Check the Expanded Contents to access sections on homelessness; overweight/obesity; child protection; trends in mortality; and many more areas.

The breadth and depth of data assembled for this report will also provide the basis for the development of an ABS Framework for the measurement of Indigenous wellbeing. The Framework has been identified as a key strategic area in the ABS Indigenous statistics program and will be developed in consultation with Indigenous researchers and stakeholders.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Information Sessions Regional Victoria

The ABS will be conducting a series of free Information Sessions in regional Victoria during May and June 2008. The ABS has a wealth of information freely available to assist regionally based organisations understand what is happening in their region and to more effectively target their services.

The Information Sessions will cover:
how you can access Census data for the areas you are interested in; practical case studies with a regional focus; and who to ask for assistance.

Session Dates / Venues:

6 May 2008 - Whittlesea
10.00am - 12.00 noon Civic Centre, City of Whittlesea

21 May - Geelong
1.30-3.30pm Deakin University, Waterfront Campus, Lecture Theatre D2, 194

27 May - Horsham
10.00am - 12.00 noon; & 2.00-4.00pm University of Ballarat, The Auditorium

11 June - Mildura
10.00am - 12.00 noon Latrobe University, Brian Grogan Lecture Theatre

18 June - Bairnsdale
1.00 - 3.00pm East Gippsland TAFE, Lecture Theatre

26 June - Wodonga
10.00am - 12.00 noon Latrobe University, Lecture Theatre 6101

RSVP: to reserve a place, please email vic.client.services@abs.gov.au or phone (03) 9615 7535 for further information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fatal Facts

Data about causes of death are published annually by the ABS, sourced from deaths registrations administered by the various state and territory Registars of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The latest Causes of Death, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 3303.0) was released in March 2008. The main publication includes data across a range of major causes of death, including both underlying causes of death and multiple causes of death.
Additional data cubes are now available providing detailed breakdowns by Causes of Death. For example, data is available for each year from 1997 to 2006 for deaths from diseases such as whooping cough, HIV, or eating disorders; or external causes such as 'victim of lightning', 'fall from a tree', or 'bitten or struck by crocodile or alligator'.

This year's release was accompanied by a new publication: Information Paper: ABS Causes of death statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2006 (cat. no. 3317.0.55.002). It is important to be aware of the issues explored in this paper when using causes of death statistics. They include the way in which the data may fluctuate from year to year, differences between jurisdictions in the practices of registrars and coroners, and the impact of incomplete information on coding.

Suicide data is now also included in the Causes of Death publication, where previously it was released as a separate publication. A recent paper in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, April 2008: Deaths due to suicide: the effects of certification and coding practices in Australia looks at the importance of understanding the official suicide data in light of the issues inherent in death registration, certification and coding practices before interpreting suicide trend data.

The Explanatory Notes for Causes of Death, Australia, 2006 are also vital for highlighting issues related to the publication's data: for example, including a discussion of differences in number of deaths due to assault (murder) in comparison with the numbers in Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4510.0).

The National Coroners Information System (NCIS) is another source of detailed data relating to Australian deaths. This database contains information about every death reported to an Australian coroner since July 2000, and also releases several publications available to the general public. These include:
Fatal Facts - which identifies and summarises all coronial recommendations added to the NCIS and provides in depth cases where recommendations were made, for example: level crossing fatalities, deaths related to the prescription of medication, or bicycle deaths.
Also the House Fires Bulletin, and the Product Related Bulletin - which provides an overview of deaths contributed to by a faulty, misused or poorly maintained consumer product - such as car jacks or prams.

Additional resources to note:
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau releases Road Deaths Australia (monthly and annual data).
The Research Centre for Injury Studies (RCIS), incorporating the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Injury Surveillance Unit (NISU) releases a range of relevant publications including Injury deaths in Australia; recent releases include Deaths and hospitalisations due to drowning, Australia 1999-00 to 2003-04 (March 2008).

Further information is also available via the AIHW Mortality portal, which includes the 2006 publication: Mortality over the twentieth century in Australia: trends and patterns in major causes of death.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is life in Australia getting better?

The ABS has released new information to help Australians assess how our society, economy and environment are developing.

Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators gives a snapshot of national progress over the last decade, using key measures. The publication also includes an article on the relationships between society, economy and the environment.

This publication is part of the suite of Measures of Australia's Progress products produced by the ABS. This suite includes Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1370.0), which presents a detailed set of indicators, currently released every five years, and Measures of Australia's Progress: At a Glance (cat. no. 1383.0.55.002), a small summary booklet released annually. The MAP products are designed to inform Australians of changes in their lives and the human and natural environment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Community Indicators Victoria

Community Indicators Victoria (CIV)
offers a wide range of local community data for Victorians in the form of Wellbeing Reports for each Local Government Area (LGA). The data used to compile these reports comes from a range of sources including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victorian Government departments and a new statewide Community Indicators Victoria Survey (2007).

CIV is a jointly supported project, funded by VicHealth and hosted by the McCaughey Centre, School of Population Health, at the University of Melbourne.

This survey was conducted to close the gaps of data that other sources were not able to fill. Validated questions, previously used in other ABS surveys were used in this survey. Details of how this survey was conducted are provided on the website.

The CIV website was launched in July 2007, and has included 2006 Census data from the ABS since November. The website is easy to navigate, using a geographically segmented map of Victoria to allow users quick access to data of their preferred community sector. There is also an added option of selecting between metro and non-metro LGAs. Upon selecting a local area, a Wellbeing Report is compiled offering measures of wellbeing across a range of social, economic, environmental, democratic and cultural trends.

CIV aims to improve citizen engagement, community planning and policy making. Therefore, the data is particularly useful for anyone with a general interest in the wellbeing of their local community, local and state government members - particularly policy and planning staff, and other non-government organisations, for example local businesses wanting to better align their products and services to meet the needs of the community.

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