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, 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

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.