1392.0 - Statistical News SA, Mar 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/03/2009   
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A Picture of the Nation: the Statistician's Report on the 2006 Census, 2006 (cat. no. 2070.0)

The Statistician's Report analyses information collected in the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. It also incorporates information from previous censuses - in some instances going back as far as 1911. It presents stories about contemporary society and trends that affect the lives of Australian people. Drawing on the rich variety of topics covered by the census and looking across different geographic areas and population groups, this report showcases the many strengths of census data.

The report consists of eight chapters, each focusing on different areas of social interest and concern:

  • population
  • cultural diversity
  • community
  • living arrangements
  • education
  • work
  • economic resources and
  • housing.

Each chapter contains an overview and two or three feature articles. The overviews report on relevant census findings at a broad level. The feature articles focus on specific social issues or populations subgroups.

The fact that high quality national censuses have been held in Australia for almost a century, allows the characteristics of Australia's diverse population to be analysed in many different ways. Two approaches for examining sub-groups of the population have been used in this report: Life cycle and Generational group analysis. By grouping together people at similar stages of life, Life-cycle groups help to reveal the common stories and trends experienced by members of these groups. For instance, young adults have the greatest diversity in living arrangements, reflecting the many transitions they are facing (see the 'Living arrangements overview', p. 60 - 72). Similarly, by splitting the population into five age-based Generation groups, such as the Lucky and Baby Boomer Generations, and Generation X and Y (see 'Religion across the generations', p.54 - 58).
Information paper: Changes to the Dissemination of Retail Trade Statistics, January 2009 (cat. no. 8501.0.55.005)

In response to the tightening financial situation faced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in July 2008 changes were introduced to the scope, sample size and collection methodology of the Retail Business Survey. These changes involved:
  • Hotels and licensed clubs, Video hire outlets and Hairdressing and beauty salons being excluded from the survey
  • the monthly sample size being reduced by 59%
  • a 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme being implemented for collecting data from the sampled units.

On 4 November 2008, the Australian Statistician announced that the 'full' monthly Retail Trade sample would be reinstated. The Statistician recognised that global developments over recent months had heightened public interest in government action to support the economy and consequently, there was closer scrutiny of economic data. In addition, key macroeconomic statistics users had indicated that more robust monthly retail trade data are their top priority at this time for improved economic statistics. Therefore the 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme was terminated. However, the industries excluded from the survey from July 2008 continue to be excluded.

This information paper describes changes that will be made to Retail Trade statistics following the reinstatement of a 'full' sample each month. The paper briefly sets out:
  • the background to the changes
  • the timing of the changes
  • the content of the revised monthly publication including the data that will be available on the ABS website
  • the availability of detailed industry by state monthly data for the July to October 2008 reference months
  • the impact of the changes on seasonal adjustment.