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2001 Census of Population and Housing - Geographic Areas
 
 


The links on this page provide a brief description of the geographic areas available for 2001 Census products

Please Note: Boundaries for geographic areas are subject to change over time. All 2001 Census data is based on the geographical boundaries that were applicable at the time of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


Basic Community Profiles & Snapshots (First Release)
Main Areas (locations)(ASGC)

Australia
States and Territories
Statistical Divisions
Statistical Sub Divisions
Statistical Local Areas
Census Collection Districts

Local Government Areas

State Suburbs
Postal Areas
Statistical Districts
Commonwealth Electoral Divisions
State Electoral Divisions
Statistical Regions
Sections of State
Urban Centres and Localities
Remoteness Areas


Indigenous Profiles (Second Release)

Indigenous Geography

ATSIC Region
Indigenous Areas
Indigenous Locations

Main Areas (locations)(ASGC)

Local Government Areas
Remoteness Areas
Classification Counts (Census data by topic) (Second Release)

Classification Counts


For all Census classifications and glossary, please see the Census Dictionary

Geographic Structure
Flowchart - Australian Standard Geographical Classification Areas


Flowchart - Census Geographic Areas
footnote to flowchart


Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) was developed by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographic statistics. It is a hierarchically structured classification with a number of spatial units to satisfy different statistical purposes.

The ASGC areas used for the Census are:
  • Collection District (CD)
  • Statistical Local Area (SLA)
  • Local Government Area (LGA)
  • Statistical Subdivision (SSD)
  • Statistical Division (SD)
  • Statistical District (S Dist)
  • Statistical Region (SR)
  • Major Statistical Region (MSR)
  • Urban Centre/Locality (UC/L)
  • Section of State (SOS)
  • State/Territory (S/T)

There is a separate entry in this dictionary defining each of these geographical areas.


The ASGC facilitates the standardisation of terminology and comparability of data.

For more information see:
See also
Census Geographic Areas.


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Census Geographic Areas

The Census Geographic Areas include Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) areas and the following census-specific (non ASGC) geographical areas:
  • Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED);
  • State Electoral Division (SED);
  • Postal Area (POA);
  • State Suburb (SSC);
  • ATSIC Region (AREG);
  • Indigenous Area (IARE);
  • Indigenous Location (ILOC); and
  • Journey to Work (JTW).

Census statistical data and digital boundary data are readily available for all of these areas. Census data for these areas are aggregated from Collection District level.


For more details refer to, Statistical Geography Volume 2: Census Geographic Areas, Australia (Cat. no. 2905.0).


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Statistical Division (SD)
A Statistical Division (SD) is an Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) defined area which represents a large, general purpose, regional type geographic area. SDs represent relatively homogeneous regions characterised by identifiable social and economic links between the inhabitants and between the economic units within the region, under the unifying influence of one or more major towns or cities. They consist of one or more Statistical Subdivisions (SSDs) and cover, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.  They do not cross State or Territory boundaries and are the largest statistical building blocks of States and Territories.

In New South Wales, proclaimed New South Wales Government Regions coincide with SDs except for North Coast, which consists of the SDs of Richmond-Tweed and Mid-North Coast.

In the remaining States and Territories, SDs are designed in line with the ASGC general purpose regional spatial unit definition.

For more information and a list of the Statistical Divisions in each State/Territory, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0). Maps are available from ABS Information Consultancy.


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Statistical Subdivision (SSD)
The Statistical Subdivision (SSD) is an Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) defined area which represents an intermediate level, general purpose, regional type geographic unit. SSDs consist of one or more Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and cover, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

For more information and a list of the Statistical Subdivisions in each State/Territory, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0). Maps are available from ABS Information Consultancy.


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Statistical Local Area (SLA)
The Statistical Local Area (SLA) is an Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) defined area which consists of one or more Collection Districts (CDs). SLAs are Local Government Areas (LGAs), or parts thereof. Where there is no incorporated body of local government, SLAs are defined to cover the unincorporated areas. SLAs cover, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

For more information and a list of the Statistical Local Areas in each State/Territory, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0). Maps are available from ABS Information Consultancy.


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Collection District (CD)

The census Collection District (CD) is the smallest geographic area defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). It has been designed for use in the Census of Population and Housing as the smallest unit for collection, processing and output of data (except for some Work Destination Zones). CDs also serve as the basic building block in the ASGC and are used for the aggregation of statistics to larger census geographic areas.

A CD is represented by a unique seven digit code. For the 2001 Census there is an average of about 225 dwellings in each CD. In rural areas the number of dwellings per CD declines as population densities decrease.

CDs are defined for each census and are current only at census time. For the 2001 Census, there are about 37,000 CDs throughout Australia (this includes the Other Territories of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay).

The criteria for the design of CDs for the 2001 Census are as follows:
  • CDs should be consistent with both their role as a useful spatial unit and building block capable of aggregation into broader level ASGC spatial units and with the collectors' workload requirements.
  • The chosen CD boundaries should, if possible, be readily identifiable on the ground and be defined in terms of permanent features; follow the centre of a road or river if these features are used; and should delimit CDs which conform to existing and proposed land uses. The use of major roads as CD boundaries in rural areas is avoided, where possible, to minimise splitting of identifiable rural localities.
  • CDs should conform where possible to existing/gazetted suburb boundaries, and must not cross Statistical Local Area (SLA) boundaries and, as a consequence, any other ASGC spatial unit boundary.
  • CDs in aggregate must cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.
    CDs are created in response to significant changes in population within a given area, or if boundaries of larger geographic areas change. For example:
  • If the population within an existing CD increases to the point of being too large for one collector, the CD may be split into two or more CDs.
  • If growth in the population of a locality or urban centre results in expansion of its boundary, new CDs may be created by division of the CDs into which the growth intrudes, so that the new boundary may adequately reflect the urban growth in census results (this process is often referred to as fragmentation).

Where necessary, CDs are created or boundaries adjusted to conform with changes to LGA boundaries.


The aim of these procedures is to maintain as much comparability between censuses as possible.

New CD boundaries are designed with reference to information obtained from:
  • government authorities;
  • census collector comments from the previous census;
  • local knowledge;
  • field inspections; and
  • aerial photography.

See also Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).


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Local Government Area (LGA)

The Local Government Area (LGA) is a geographical area under the responsibility of an incorporated local government council, or an incorporated Community Government Council of sufficient size and statistical significance in the Northern Territory. The LGAs in Australia collectively cover only a part of Australia. The main areas not covered by LGAs are the extensive northern parts of South Australia, a large part of the Northern Territory, all of the Australian Capital Territory and the Other Territories.

The number of LGAs and their boundaries can change over time. Their creation and delimitation is the responsibility of the respective State/Territory Governments, and are governed by the provisions of State/Territory local government Acts. The LGAs applicable to the 2001 Census output are those which existed at 7 August, 2000. This early cut off date allows time for the Census mapping to be completed. These LGAs are represented in the 2001 Edition of the ASGC.

The types of LGAs in each State and the Northern Territory are:
  • New South Wales: Cities, and Areas;
  • Victoria: Cities, Rural Cities, Boroughs and Shires;
  • Queensland: Cities, Towns and Shires;
  • South Australia: Cities, Rural Cities, Municipalities and District Councils;
  • Western Australia: Cities, Towns and Shires;
  • Tasmania: Cities and Municipalities; and
  • Northern Territory: Cities, Towns, Shires and Community Government Councils.

For more information and a list of the Local Government Areas in each State and the Northern Territory, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0).


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State Suburb (SSC)
This is a census-specific area where Collection Districts are aggregated to approximate suburbs. It is applicable only to the larger urban centres e.g. Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Perth and major towns in Tasmania. For a list of State Suburbs, see Statistical Geography Volume 2: Census Geographic Areas, Australia Cat. no. 2905.0).

Note that the ASGC Statistical Local Areas in Brisbane and other major urban areas in Queensland, Darwin and Canberra are aligned closely with suburbs. For a list of these, see Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0).


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Postal Area

Postal Areas are ABS approximations of Australia Post postcodes, created by allocating whole Collection Districts (CDs) on a 'best fit' basis to postcodes.

Census Postal Areas exclude non-mappable Australia Post postcodes such as:
  • post office box postcodes;
  • some delivery route postcodes, which are also covered by other postcodes (a situation which often occurs in rural areas); and
  • some postcodes which, because of the application of the 'best fit' principle, do not get a CD allocated to them.
    This means that there are more Australia Post postcodes than census Postal Areas.

Every CD is allocated one valid Australia Post postcode as the Postal Area for that CD. When a person is enumerated in that CD, the Postal Area is allocated to the person as their Postal Area of enumeration.

When a person's address is coded to their CD of Usual Residence, the Postal Area of the CD is allocated to the person as their Postal Area of Usual Residence.

See also Collection District (CD), and the Census Dictionary entries: Census counts, Digital boundaries.


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Statistical District (S Dist)
A Statistical District (S Dist) is an Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) defined area which bounds a large predominantly urban area outside the Capital City Statistical Divisions (SDs). A S Dist consists of one or more urban centres in close proximity to each other, with a total population of 25,000 or more. The boundaries of S Dists are defined to contain the anticipated urban spread of the area for a period of at least twenty years.

S Dists consist of one or more Statistical Subdivisions (SSDs) and may cross Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries. Statistical Districts can, and in three cases do, straddle Statistical Division and State/Territory boundaries. The Gold Coast-Tweed S Dist encompasses an urban area which lies partly in Queensland and partly in New South Wales. The Albury-Wodonga S Dist straddles the New South Wales/Victorian border. The Canberra-Queanbeyan S Dist is partly in the Australian Capital Territory and partly in New South Wales.

For a list of Statistical Districts, and their component Statistical Subdivisions and Statistical Local Areas, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0). For maps of these areas contact ABS Information Consultancy.


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Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED)

See Electoral Division.


State Electoral Division (SED)

See Electoral Division.


Electoral division

An electoral division is an area legally prescribed for the purpose of returning one member (or more in the case of the Tasmanian House of Assembly and the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly) to the Federal, State or Territory Lower Houses of Parliament. Queensland has only one House of Parliament at the State level, with each member representing an electoral district. Electoral divisions are approximated by aggregating the data for Collection Districts (CDs) that lie wholly or partly within the area.

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs) have different boundaries to State Electoral Divisions (SEDs), except in Tasmania and the ACT where they are the same. CEDs cover all of Australia.

For a list of CEDs and SEDs, see Statistical Geography Volume 2: Census Geographic Areas, Australia (Cat. no. 2905.0).


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Statistical Regions (SR)

The SR Structure has been in use since 1986 for the production of standard statistical outputs from Population Censuses and labour force surveys.

SRs are maintained as a separate structure from the Main Structure because of the complex manner in which they relate to SSDs and SDs. For example, SRs can be whole SSDs, aggregates of SSDs, or part of an SSD. Similarly they can be whole SDs, aggregates of SDs or part of an SD. SRs can also be as large as a State or Territory. SRs are aggregates of SLAs.

The SR Structure has six levels of hierarchy in census years, comprising in ascending hierarchical order: Collection District (CDs) - Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) - Statistical Region Sector (SRSs) - Statistical Regions (SRs) - Major Statistical Region (MSRs) - States/Territory (S/Ts). In non-census years, with CDs undefined, it has only five levels of hierarchy.

The spatial units in adjoining levels relate to each other by aggregation and disaggregation. For example, Statistical Region Sector (SRSs) aggregate to Statistical Regions (SRs) while SRs are disaggregates of Major Statistical Region (MSRs). The spatial units within each level of the SR Structure cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.


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Sections of State (SOS)

The SOS Structure uses population counts from the latest Census of Population and Housing to class CDs as urban or rural. Unlike the Urban Centre/Locality (UC/L) Structure, the SOS Structure includes all CDs and therefore, in aggregate, the SOS Structure covers all of Australia. For the 2001 edition, three of the five different SOS have been divided into sub categories based on population size.

The SOS Structure is used for the production of standard statistical outputs from Population Censuses such as Selected Social and Housing Characteristics for Urban Centres and Localities (Cat. no.s 2016.0-.7) and CDATA 2001 (Cat. Nos 2019.0.30.001-.8.30.001). It is also used to classify data collected from the labour force surveys.

The SOS Structure is maintained as a separate structure in the ASGC because SOS spatial units do not align with spatial units from any of the other structures.

The SOS Structure is defined only in census years. It contains three hierarchical levels, comprising in ascending order: CDs-SOS-S/Ts. In this structure, CDs aggregate to SOS and SOS aggregate to S/Ts without gaps or overlaps. Consequently, the structure covers all of Australia.


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Urban Centres and Localities (UC/L)

The UC/L Structure groups CDs together to form defined areas according to population size criteria. The resulting areas are known as Urban Centres or Localities. Population counts (place of enumeration) from the latest Census of Population and Housing are used to define the UC/L Structure which means this classification structure is only current at the time of the Census. Both the Urban Centre and the Locality spatial units are made up of one or more contiguous CDs. As the UC/L Structure relates to CDs within defined areas only, the structure, in aggregate, does not cover all of Australia.

The UC/L Structure is used for the production of standard ABS statistical outputs from Population Censuses such as Selected Social and Housing Characteristics for Urban Centres and Localities (Cat. no.s 2016.0-.7), CDATA 2001 (Cat. no.s 2019.0.30.001-.8.30.001) and Community Profiles (Cat. no.s 2020.0-.9).

The UC/L Structure is separate from the Main Structure because:
  • the boundaries do not generally coincide with SLAs and the higher level spatial units in the Main Structure; and
  • its total area covers only part of Australia.

The UC/L Structure is defined at Population Census times only. It comprises in ascending hierarchical order: CDs-Urban Centres/Localities. CDs within this structure are confined to those within defined Urban Centre and Locality boundaries. As a consequence, Urban Centres and Localities aggregate to cover only part of a State or Territory and thus the structure covers part of Australia only.

Urban Centres may be bisected by an S/T boundary. Where this occurs each portion of the urban centre is separately identified and is included in the Urban Centre/Locality Structure for the relevant S/T. For example, the urban centre of Albury-Wodonga is partly in New South Wales and partly in Victoria. One part is shown under New South Wales and the other under Victoria.


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Remoteness Areas (RA)

The final structure listed in the ASGC is the Remoteness Structure. This is the first edition of the ASGC to include a structure describing Australia in terms of a measurement of Remoteness. The Remoteness Structure includes all CDs and therefore, in aggregate, it covers the whole of Australia. The purpose of the structure is to classify CDs which share common characteristics of remoteness into broad geographical regions called Remoteness Areas (RAs).

There are six RAs in this structure.

The Remoteness Structure will be used for the production of standard ABS statistical outputs from Population Censuses and some ABS surveys.

The Remoteness Structure will be maintained as a separate structure in the ASGC because the spatial units (RAs) do not align with those from any of the other structures.

The Remoteness Structure is defined only in census years, commencing with the census year 2001. It contains three hierarchical levels, comprising in ascending order: CDs-RAs-S/Ts.

In this structure, CDs aggregate to RAs and RAs aggregate to S/Ts without gaps or overlaps. Consequently the structure covers all of Australia.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) regions

See ATSIC Region, Census Geographic Areas.


ATSIC Region

There are 36 administrative areas used by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) for the election of Regional Councils which represent the local Indigenous population. The administrative areas consist of 35 ATSIC Regions and one Torres Strait Regional Authority provided for under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act, 1989, sections 91(1) and 142(1) respectively. In general terms all 36 administrative areas are collectively referred to as 'ATSIC Regions'.

For Census purposes, an ATSIC Region is approximated by aggregating the Collection Districts (CDs) which lie mostly or completely within the ATSIC Region. The 36 ABS derived ATSIC Regions cover in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

(Note: the ATSIC boundaries used in the 1996 Census changed in 1999 resulting in corresponding changes to the ABS derived boundaries.)

Census statistics, including a range of Indigenous statistics, are available by ATSIC Region. Indigenous Profiles are also produced for ATSIC Regions.

See also Indigenous Area, Indigenous Location.


Indigenous Area (IARE)

Indigenous Areas (IAREs) are aggregates of Collection Districts (CDs) which represent a population of at least around 300 Indigenous persons grouped on the basis of language or culture. IAREs aggregate to ATSIC Regions. IAREs, cover the whole of Australia.

See also ATSIC Region, Indigenous Location (ILOC).


Indigenous Location (ILOC)

Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) are single CDs or aggregates of CDs which have a population of at least 80 Indigenous persons. ILOCs aggregate to Indigenous Areas (IAREs). ILOCs cover the whole of Australia. See also ATSIC Region, Indigenous Area (IARE).


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Classification Counts

Classification Counts, comprise census counts for each category of most output classifications in full, for every State/Territory or Capital City Statistical Division. These are cross-classified by sex for all person based classifications.

Classification Counts consist of a column for each State/Territory or Capital City Statistical Division, and rows for classificatory detail, providing comparisons of all States/Territories or all capital cities.

The counts are available for first and second release data and can be provided on either hard copy or in electronic formats.

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