1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, Jun 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/06/2010   
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New Google map

Exploring regions using the NRP

New data in the latest edition of the NRP

Finding the NRP on the ABS website and accessing help information

On 29 April 2010 a new and improved issue of the National Regional Profile (NRP) was released to the ABS website. This release of the NRP is unique as it now uses a Google map based interface to make it easier to find data for more than 2,000 Regional Profiles. This edition also has new data items that will be of interest to users of regional statistics.

The NRP contains a range of interesting social and economic data items pulled together from ABS and non ABS sources, covering the topics of Economy, Population/People, Industry and Environment/Energy. Data is available in a 5 years time series (where available) for the period from 2004 to 2008.

This article will show how users can access a range of social and economic data using the NRP, for geographic areas such as Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas right up to the state/territory level and Australia. It will also highlight new data items included in this release and explore how the NRP can be used to analyse your region's social and economic characteristics.

New Google map

In an ABS 'first', the latest release of the NRP now has a Google map based entry point to find data on your region of interest. Users can find their region through familiar features like an address search box, or by using the map, or by picking a region from lists.

Once a region is located, a data profile containing a variety of economic and social data can be downloaded with one click of the mouse. In the example below, the Kempsey (A) Local Government Area (LGA) on the north coast of New South Wales has been selected. The shaded area shows the boundary of the region, with topographic features of the Kempsey area shown in the Google map underneath. Users can zoom in or zoom out to see more or less detail. A data profile for 'Kempsey (A) (LGA)' can be downloaded by clicking on the 'Get data about..' link in the information window.

image: Google map of Kempsey LGA

Users can also download a detailed Excel spreadsheet of data for their region from the data profile, or compare data for regions using the SuperTABLE datacube which is accessed from the 'Compare Regions' link at the top of the NRP Welcome Page.

Exploring regions using the NRP

Once data for a region has been accessed it can be used to explore the characteristics of the region. Characteristics can be analysed from a particular point in time or compared over time using the 5 year time series. As mentioned above, users can also compare data for a region with other regions using the SuperTABLE datacubes (accessed from the 'Compare Regions' link).

The following example continues to use the LGA of Kempsey shown above.

In 2008, the population of Kempsey LGA had a slightly higher percentage of males (50.7%) than females (49.3%). Persons aged 0 to 14 years comprised 19.5% of the total population, and nearly a third (30.7%) were aged between 0 to 24 years. The number of births in this region remained reasonably consistent from 2004 to 2008, recording 297 in 2008.

Kempsey (along with nearby Bellingen) had the oldest vehicles in NSW in 2008 with 59% of registered vehicles over 10 years old. At this time Kempsey had 481 registered passenger vehicles and 668 total registered motor vehicles per 1000 population. Kempsey had an average taxable income in 2006-07 of $39,275, compared to an average of $54,742 in New South Wales. As seen in the graph below, there has been a considerable increase in the average value of private sector houses in the Kempsey LGA, increasing from $163,100 in 2003-04 to $228,600 in 2007-08, a rise of 40.2% over the period. The percentage increase was greater than the percentage rise in the average value of private sector houses in NSW (32.9%), which increased from $199,100 to $264,600 over the same period.

Average value of private sector houses
Graph: Average value of private sector houses

Other interesting data about the Kempsey LGA found in the NRP:
  • There were 237 deaths in 2008, a fall from 244 in 2007 and the third consecutive year the figure had fallen.
  • In 2008 Kempsey had a higher proportion of people on Newstart Allowance for more than a year, than the proportion in NSW (69% compared with 61% respectively ).
  • Kempsey had 2,400 total businesses as at 30 June 2007, most of which were non-employing businesses (1,512).
  • The total area of agricultural land in the Kempsey LGA for 2006 was 149,000 hectares, of which 1,000 hectares were irrigated.

New data in the latest edition of the NRP

Some of the examples given for the Kempsey LGA are data items that are new to this issue of the NRP. New data to this issue of the NRP includes:
  • Estimates of household wealth
  • Age of motor vehicles
  • Value of agricultural production
  • Water Use on Australian farms
  • Selected Government pensions and allowances

Examples of this new data for the Kempsey LGA include:
  • The number of people receiving a Disability Support Pension was 2,046 in 2008.
  • There were 3,219 registered motor vehicles aged less than five years in 2008, and 11,414 were ten years or older.
  • The amount of water used on farms in 2006 was 6,591ML.
  • The total gross value of agricultural production was $37.6 million in 2006.

Finding the NRP on the ABS website and accessing help information

The NRP can be accessed directly from the links on the left of the ABS Home page.

image: Navigation from Home Page to NRP

A range of updated 'help' material is available from the NRP welcome page in clearly marked coloured tabs above the map.

image: NRP Welcome Page

The first three tabs detail how to find a region, compare regions, and information about the data available in the release. The last tab,'Videos and other Help' contains video demonstrations on how to use the NRP, information about the regions, and frequently asked questions.