Census Data Enhancement
The Census will be made more useful to future researchers with the decision, announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to establish a Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset based on a five per cent sample of the Census.
This decision on the Census Data Enhancement proposal follows a period of public consultation involving the release of a discussion paper and consideration of submissions received.
The primary objective of the project was to enhance the value of the Census by combining it with future censuses and possibly other datasets held by the ABS. The ABS consulted extensively on the proposal and received a number of submissions on the proposal, which are available on the ABS website.
A privacy impact assessment was undertaken and this assessment, along with the ABS response, can also be found on the ABS website.
The vast majority of the submissions were supportive and pointed to the value of the proposal in providing an enhanced dataset for research.
The nature and content of these submissions was wide ranging and covered many areas of potential use, for example studies relating to community planning, occupational mobility, migrant settlement, socioeconomic and environmental impacts on health, and better understanding of Indigenous mortality.
On the other hand other submissions expressed significant concern at the privacy risks associated with the development of a rich longitudinal dataset that related to the whole population.
After consideration of these submissions, the Australian Statistician decided to substantially modify the original proposal.
Rather than covering the whole population the ABS will create a statistical longitudinal census dataset covering a 5% sample of the population enumerated during the 2006 Census.
The ABS has also decided not to proceed with the option to include data from the 2001 Census.
This strategy removes the main cause of concern raised during the public consultation process - the comprehensive nature of the statistical longitudinal Census dataset. At the same time it does enable many, although certainly not all, of the identified uses.
For more information including the Privacy Impact Assessment, the ABS response to the Privacy Impact Assessment and public submissions see Census of Population and Housing - Enhancing the Population Census - Privacy Impact Assessment and Public Submissions.
The original proposal is available as a Discussion Paper Enhancing the Population Census: Developing a Longitudinal View on the ABS web site.