Australian Bureau of Statistics
Help: Use Census Data
WHY USE CENSUS DATA?
Let's say you are thinking of moving to the Queensland Gold Coast, and you would like to do some research about the area. You can get demographic information from a Basic Community Profile (BCP). For example, the number of people living there, the age profile, housing costs, average weekly income, the industries that employ people or the age and sex of computer users.
There are special geographic areas that are used for the collection and publication of Census data. These geographic areas are known as spatial units. These spatial units are defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) - Cat. No.1216.0.
The main ASGC hierarchy includes the following geographic areas:
You can get more information about Census geography from the following links:
Collection District (CD)
A CD is the smallest unit used for collecting and recording Census data. The CD is the base unit used to build the other Census spatial units. CD's can be added up, or aggregated, to cover larger areas, like Statistical Local Areas (SLA's).
The traditional concept of a CD is that it defines an area that one Census collector can cover (delivering and collecting census forms) in about a ten-day period.
However, in the 2001 Census, many urban CD's are of a size such that Census collectors may be allocated more than one CD. In urban areas CD's average about 220 dwellings. In rural areas the number of dwellings per CD reduces as population densities decrease.
For the 2001 Census there were 37,209 CD's defined throughout Australia.
Statistical Local Area (SLA)
The SLA is a general purpose spatial unit. In Census years, the SLA consists of one or more whole CD's. In non-Census years, the SLA is the smallest unit defined in the ASGC. The SLA is also the base spatial unit used to collect and disseminate statistics other than those collected from the Population Census.
In aggregate (when you add them all up), SLA's cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.
For the 2001 Census there were 1,353 SLA's defined throughout Australia.
Statistical Subdivisions (SSD)
The SSD is a general purpose spatial unit of intermediate size between the SLA (smaller) and the SD (larger) in the main structure.
SSD's consist of one or more SLA's. In aggregate, they cover Australia without gaps or overlaps. For the 2001 Census there were 207 SSD's defined throughout Australia.
Statistical Divisions (SD)
The SD is a general purpose spatial unit and is the largest and most stable unit within each S/T in the main structure.
SD's consist of one or more SSD's. In aggregate, they cover Australia without gaps or overlaps. SD's aggregate to form S/T's. For the 2001 Census there were 66 SD's defined throughout Australia.
The S/T is the largest spatial unit in the main structure and the ASGC. Six States and five Territories are recognised in the ASGC: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and the external Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
These spatial units are political entities with fixed boundaries. S/T's consist of one or more SD's. In aggregate, they cover Australia without gaps or overlaps.
BASIC COMMUNITY PROFILE (BCP)
The BCP provides detailed Census data for small areas in Excel formatted tables. They provide all the basic demographic information (about persons, families and dwellings) needed to gain a statistical profile of an area. BCP's cover a wide range of areas, from smallest areas (called a Collection District, made up of approximately 220 households) up to the whole of Australia. The BCP is one of the key outputs from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.
BCP's contain information on:
Read more detailed information about Basic Community Profiles and other Census products.
CENSUS DATA USING MAPS
To find the maps follow these steps -
1. Go to the ABS home page (www.abs.gov.au)
2. Click on the Census link
3. Click on the 2001 Census Data by Location Map link in the left navigation menu. This opens a map of Australia.
To view the map you need freeware called SVG viewer installed. If this it is not installed, or an older version of the viewer is detected, you can go to the Adobe web site and download the free viewer from http://www.adobe.com/svg/viewer/install/main.html - opens in a new window.
You can navigate Census geographic areas using the map. Your cursor turns to a hand icon when you are in the map. Move your cursor across the map to highlight different areas. The name of the area will be displayed above the map. The 'View information about .......' link above the map allows you to view Census information relating to the geographic area of interest.
You are thinking of moving to the Queensland Gold Coast and would like to find information about the people that live there, such as the age profile, housing costs, average weekly income and the industries of occupation.
Step 1: Find your geographic area
Step 2: Download your file
You now have the option to view Census information such as the Snapshot or download the Basic Community Profile.
CENSUS DATA BY LOCATION NAMES
Census data in name order is organised in a collapsible list by the main ASGC geography units.
Use this method if you know the name of the Statistical Division (SD), Statistical Subdivision (SSD) and SLA (Statistical Local Area) you need.
You are looking for the Census information about Brisbane City.
You also know that Brisbane City is a Statistical Subdivision of Brisbane, so you can find information on this area by name:
1. Select the Census link
2. Follow the link to the 2001 Census Data by Location Name link in the left navigation menu
3. Expand the links next to Queensland, you are now in the State/Territory division
4. Next expand the link to Brisbane, you are now in the (Statistical Division) level
5. Now click on the underlined title Brisbane City, you are now in the (Statistical Subdivision) level
6. You now have access to information available for this area e.g. click the Basic Community Profile link to download this file
CENSUS DATA BY PROFILE
Census data is organised by the profile type. For example, Basic Community Profile, Indigenous Profile, Working Population Profile.
Use this method if you know the type of profile that you are interested in. Once you have selected your profile, you will then need to select the area of interest using a list or map.
You are looking for the BCP about Gold Coast City.
You also know that Gold Coast City Part B is a Statistical Subdivision of Brisbane, so you can find your BCP by name:
1. Select the Census link
2. Under the '2001 Census Data' tab in the left navigation menu, click on 'By Profile'
3. Next click on the 'Basic Community Profile' link
4. You can now choose a method of how you would like to select an area, in this case we click on 'Main Areas - By Location Name'
5. Next expand the link to Brisbane, you are now in the (Statistical Division)
6. Now click on the underlined title Gold Coast City Part B, you are now in the (Statistical Subdivision) level
7. Select the Basic Community Profile link and download the BCP
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD CENSUS DATA
To view Census maps:
If your browser does not display the Census maps, you will need to download and install the free SVG viewer from the Adobe web site. Click on this link for more information on the SVG viewer http://www.adobe.com/svg/viewer/install/main.html - opens in a new window.
Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher. Netscape Navigator or Communicator versions 4.0 through 4.75 (but not Netscape 6).
Windows 95, 98, SE, 2000, ME, XP or NT4.0 Service Pack 4 and above
System 8.6 through 9.2, or 10.1 (not 10.0 through 10.0.4)
To download a BCP:
You need WinZip or equivalent software to unzip or decompress the file. See Help on Open Zipped Files.
The file itself needs a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel.
This page last updated 1 April 2008