1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, June 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/2011   
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The Census of Population and Housing will be held on 9 August this year. Census teams across Australia within the ABS are gearing up to count the approximately 22 million people in Australia that night, using a contingent of 43,000 Australian citizens or permanent residents to help achieve this, hired within their local communities.

The Australian Census is a massive logistical exercise and pays dividends in the rich data-set it provides governments, businesses and members of the public for the years following release.

We can determine from the Census an up-to-date set of information on a vast range of statistics including:

    • The current population of Australia
    • Key characteristics of small population groups and the dwellings they live in
    • The country of birth of Australian citizens or permanent residents
    • The proportion of Australians with Indigenous heritage and in which areas these population groups are concentrated
    • The proportion of Australians with non-anglo ethnic backgrounds and in which areas these population groups are concentrated
While a vast majority of Australians will find out about the Census from mainstream sources, such as television, radio, print or online, there are some who are unlikely to find out in this way, who still need to be on a Census form.

These groups include:
    • Homeless people or rough sleepers
    • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse groups, including those who have arrived as refugees since the last Census
    • Indigenous Australians living in remote communities
    • Australians who work for mining companies as fly-in-fly-out workers and will be at their work site on Census night
    • People who work on ships or offshore oil rigs
    • People working in the Australian Antarctic Territories
    • Tourists visiting Australia from overseas on 9 August
    • Patients within hospitals and aged care centres
    • Prisoners
In addition there are people who have become increasingly difficult to access because of their type of accommodation, such as those living in secure apartment buildings, where the Collector is unable to access individual front doors.

For each of these groups special strategies are deployed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to ensure the Australian Census counts everyone in Australia on Census night.
eCensus - a fast, easy and secure alternative

In 2011, the ABS hopes to build on the success of the 2006 eCensus pilot, an option that provides respondents with an alternative to the traditional paper form. The eCensus application has been designed to work on commonly used computer technology and be accessible for everyone. It should only take about 24 minutes to complete the eCensus form for an individual, plus ten minutes for each additional person.

The eCensus website will be open from 28 July 2011 and although it is possible to complete the eCensus from that point onwards, it should be completed on Census night. It is expected that 25% of the population (and hopefully up to 40%) will choose the eCensus option. The ABS has taken measures to ensure that there is plenty of reserve capacity to cope with the anticipated traffic.

For further reading, see the Census of Population and Housing page on the ABS website or How Australia takes a Census, 2011 (cat. no. 2903.0).

Outcomes from the 2011 Census Output Geography Discussion Paper, 2011

On 22 February, 2011, the ABS published Census of Population and Housing: Outcomes from the 2011 Census Output Geography Discussion Paper, 2011 (cat. no. 2911.0.55.003). This summarises plans for output from the 2011 Census and was a follow-up to Discussion Paper: Census of Population and Housing - ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography (cat. no. 2911.0.55.002).

The paper confirmed that the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Statistical Local Area geography will be supported as a transitional unit for 2011 Census data; however, 2016 Census data will only be available under the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) areas. Additionally, the ABS will continue to provide a wide range of census data for Local Government Areas, including Place of Work, Address 1 Year Ago and Address 5 Years Ago. Data for Local Government Areas will continue to be supported.

Community Profiles received a substantial amount of feedback; particularly, the Time Series Profile and the Indigenous Profile. The Time Series Profile will contain 2001, 2006 and 2011 Census data. They will be available for ASGS Statistical Areas 2, 3 and 4, as well as Local Government Areas, States/Territories, Australia and the ASGC-defined Statistical Local Areas.

The Indigenous Profile will contain Census data relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with some possibilities for comparison with the non-Indigenous population. Indigenous Profiles will now be available for an expanded range of geographies. They were originally proposed to be available for Australia, State, Capital City, Remoteness Area, Local Government Area and the Indigenous Structure of the ASGS, but will now also be available for Statistical Area levels 2, 3 and 4 and for Statistical Local Areas.

The paper also includes information about Estimated Resident Population, 2011 Census Output Geography, and ASGS implementation. A particularly useful feature for Census data users is the section, 'Products by Geographic Availability', which shows the final range of products that will be available for the various levels of ABS and non-ABS geography.