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Newsletters - Age Matters - Issue Number 17, March 2006



Welcome to the 17th edition of Age Matters. This issue contains:

Latest news from NASU - what’s new from the National Ageing Statistics Unit
  • Article reviews - relevant articles and publications from government and international agencies
  • Selected ABS releases - a quick guide to recent ABS and AIHW publications of interest
  • Test your knowledge - a short quiz to keep you up to date on the latest demographic finds
  • Upcoming conferences - information and links to Australian and International conferences

The Australian Bureau of Statistics now provides all the information on the ABS website <>, free of charge. On 27 January, a new look ABS website was released. A new feature includes topic based searching.

Work on the Information Development Plan (IDP) for Ageing is progressing with the Phase 1 consultation process underway. These consultations are occurring in each capital city over the period March to early May 2006. Key stakeholders from Federal, State and Local governments, research and community organisations have been invited to participate.

The information collated from these workshops will be analysed in conjunction with the key priorities already identified by the National Ageing Statistics Advisory Group. Priorities currently identified include: housing and the built environment; community and social participation; retirement; labour force participation; health and care; and the impacts of ageing on population sub-groups.

A draft IDP will be prepared and provided to a wide range of government, academic and community organisations for further comment prior to publication of the plan. This broader community consultation is expected to occur in August and September 2006. If you would like to be involved in this consultation round, please email with IDP Consultation Phase 2 in the subject line.

We would welcome any comments, suggestions or feedback that you may have on this newsletter or the Ageing theme page. Please email and let us know what you think.

Tara Pritchard
National Ageing Statistics Unit

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1. Small Area Estimates Manual

The ABS has been evaluating statistical methods for producing small area estimates and determining their quality. This has been due to increasing user demand for small area estimates, together with practical difficulties in increasing survey sample sizes. The culmination of this work is A Guide to Small Area Estimation - Version 1.0, which has recently been released on the National Statistical Service website <>. Although the manual is mainly aimed at small area practitioners, it is relevant to anyone interested in the processes and methods for producing and validating small area data.

2. DELSA Newsletter

The Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (DELSA) at the OECD works on labour markets, social policy, international migration and health. DELSA produce a newsletter which is available from their website <>. Currently two issues have been published.

Issue 1 topics include:
  • OECD Pensions at a Glance;
  • Pension modernisation: the Ministerial mandate; and
  • Long-term care for older people.

Issue 2 topics include:
  • Live longer, work longer;
  • Health care in Finland;
  • Korea Centre for Health and Social Policy; and
  • Integrating migrants.

3. Ageing and Employment Policies, Australia

The OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee initiated a thematic review of policies which aim to improve labour market prospects for older workers. The policies reviewed covered both supply-side and demand-side aspects. The report on Australia is one in a series of around 20 OECD country reports that will be published as part of the older workers thematic review.

Each country report analyses the main existing barriers to the employment of older people and assesses the effectiveness of policies in removing these barriers. The reports also present a set of recommendations on measures that government and social partners should implement.

The Executive Summary is available from the OECD web site at <>.

4. National Community Services Information Strategic Plan 2005–2009 (AIHW cat. no. AUS 68)

This plan was released by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in December 2005. It provides an overview of the national community services information system and sets clear directions for the future. It highlights emerging challenges as well as future work priorities for the National Community Services Information Management Group (NCSIMG).

The plan is available from the AIHW web site <>.

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The following listing is a selection of ABS releases published since January 2006 which may be of particular interest to readers.

A complete listing of all ABS releases is available on the ABS Website <>.


cat. no. 1209.0.30.001 - Mesh Blocks (Draft) Digital Boundaries, Australia, 2005
Mesh Blocks are a new micro level of statistical geography for Australia. They will in future replace Census Collection Districts (CDs) as the smallest unit of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). This first release of Mesh Block digital boundaries is a draft version on which comments will be sought from expert users and key stakeholders. This product is produced in CD-ROM format on an annual basis.

cat. no. 1352.0.55.072 - Research Paper: A Review of Confidentiality Protections for Statistical Tables (Methodology Advisory Committee), Jun 2005
Improvements in Information Technology and increased sophistication among data users have created extra demands for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS is working to meet these needs, particularly with Population Census output where users are often interested in small areas or other small subpopulations. However, increasing the range of possible output introduces new challenges for the confidentiality protection of Population Census data. In particular, any system must protect against table differencing.

This paper describes the threat to confidentiality posed by table differencing. It reviews a number of techniques that could be used to develop a tabular confidentiality system that protects against differencing.

cat. no. 1352.0.55.075 - Research Paper: Imputation in Longitudinal Surveys: The Case of HILDA (Methodology Advisory Committee), Nov 2005
This paper outlines the methodological issues relating to imputation for longitudinal household surveys. A brief review of the imputation methods adopted by major longitudinal surveys is reported.

cat. no. 1352.0.55.076 - Research Paper: Exploring Methods for Creating a Longitudinal Census Dataset (Methodology Advisory Committee), Nov 2005
The ABS has embarked on a project to create a Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset (SLCD) by linking records from the 2006 and subsequent Population Censuses. The SLCD will be based upon a 5% sample of the population. As names and addresses will not be retained, probabilistic matching will be used to link records.

This paper outlines previous work in this area, results from similar projects, the methodology proposed for linkage and preliminary results achieved so far.

cat. no. 1362.0 - Information Development Plan for Rural and Regional Statistics 2005
This publication provides a series of statistical development recommendations to expand the future availability and relevance of rural and regional statistics in Australia.

The IDP presents a detailed overview of the concepts, issues and themes associated with this field of statistics, with a particular focus on the nature and extent of current statistical demand. Through investigation of existing survey and administrative data sources, it highlights specific gaps in the currently available suite of rural and regional information and proposes a plan via which significant gaps may be addressed.

Census of Population and Housing

cat. no. 2903.0 - How Australia Takes a Census, 2006
This publication describes the history of the Census, the planning process for the 2006 Census, how it will be conducted and processed, and the type of output that will be available.


cat. No. 3101.0 Australian Demographic Statistics, Sep 2005
Quarterly estimates of total population for states, territories and Australia. Includes the most recent estimates of the population in five-year age groups; numbers (and some rates) of births, deaths, infant deaths, interstate and overseas movements. Included are quarterly and/or annual time series tables. Also included are population projections and estimated resident households for states, territories and Australia.

cat. no. 3107.0.55.003 - Information Paper: Improved Methods for Estimating Net Overseas Migration, 2006
Net overseas migration (NOM) is currently a major driver of quarterly movements in the ERP, accounting for around half of population growth at the national level. NOM is also a volatile phenomenon, with a wide range of demographic, social, economic and political determinants. Although the conceptual basis for usual residence has not changed, the ABS is currently developing improved methods for estimating NOM. The ABS expects to implement these methods in official population estimates from June 2007.

cat. no. 3311.0.55.001 - Demography, Australia, 2004 Final
This electronic product provides a demographic overview of Australia for 2004. It contains summary tables and commentary on trends in the components of population change including births, deaths and migration. This product also includes marriages, divorces and the estimated resident population.

Social Statistics

cat. no. 4362.0 - National Health Survey: Summary of Results; State Tables, 2004-05
Contains a selection of tables from the publication 2004/5 National Health Survey: Summary of Results, Australia (4364.0) compiled for individual states and the ACT.

cat. no. 4364.0 - National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05
Contains a cross-section of survey results, including selected national statistics about:
  • long-term illnesses experienced;
  • mental wellbeing;
  • injuries;
  • consultations with doctors and other health professionals; and
  • health risk factors including alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, body mass and dietary practices.

Labour Statistics and Prices

cat. no. 6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2005
This publication presents information about people aged 15 years and over who are not in the labour force: that is, neither employed nor unemployed. For these people, the survey collected details about:
  • whether they wanted to work;
  • reasons why they were not actively looking for work;
  • their availability for work; and
  • their main activity while not in the labour force.

The scope of the Persons Not in the Labour Force survey was expanded in September 2005 to include all people aged 15 years and over. Previously the scope was restricted to people aged 15-69 years. This change has resulted in an extra 1.6 million people coming within the scope of this survey.

cat. no. 6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, Aug 2004 to Jun 2005
This publication presents information about retirement and retirement intentions of people aged 45 years and over who have, at some time, worked for two weeks or more. The data examines retirement trends, factors which influence decisions to retire, and the income arrangements retirees and potential retirees have made to provide for their retirement. The data are cross-classified by a range of demographic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status and country of birth, as well as labour force characteristics. This topic will be repeated every two years.

cat. no. 6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, Aug 2004 to Jun 2005
This publication focuses on people aged 18 years and over who are either not employed or work very few hours (0-15 hours), as they have the potential to increase their labour force participation. The data provides information on the characteristics of this potential labour force. Data from this survey are used to obtain a better understanding of the factors that influence people to join or leave the labour force. By knowing the barriers people face to joining the labour force or taking up (more) employment, a range of incentives to labour force participation can be indirectly identified.

cat. no. 6265.0 - Underemployed Workers, Australia, Sep 2005
This publication presents information about underemployed workers. The number of underemployed workers is an important component of underutilised labour resources in the economy, along with the number of unemployed and some people with marginal attachment to the labour force. A range of information is presented on underemployed workers including the number of hours usually worked, number of preferred hours, steps taken to find work with more hours, and difficulties finding work with more hours.

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Source: National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4364.0)

1. In 2004-05, what proportion of the population reported that they had one or more long term medical conditions?

a) 57%
b) 67%
c) 77%
d) 87%

2. The most common long term condition among those aged 75 years and over was:

a) Long sightedness
b) Arthritis
c) Hearing loss
d) Hypertension

3. In 2004-05, what proportion of the population reported that they currently had diabetes mellitus which had been medically diagnosed?

a) 2.0%
b) 3.5%
c) 7.0%
d) 10.0%

4. The proportion of people drinking at risky or high risk levels was highest in which age group?

a) 18–24 years
b) 25–34 years
c) 45–54 years
d) 55–64 years

5. In 2004-05, what proportion of the 75 years and over age group had consulted a doctor in the previous two weeks?

a) 27%
b) 37%
c) 47%
d) 57%

6. The proportion of people without private health insurance was highest in which age group?

a) 25–34 years
b) 45–54 years
c) 55–64 years
d) 75 years and over

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1. c) 77% (From P. 3 of 4364.0)
2. a) Long sightedness; the other conditions are listed in order of prevalence (From P. 4 of 4364.0)
3. b) 3.5% (From P. 6 of 4364.0)
4. b) 45–54 years at 15.6% followed closely by c) 55–64 years at 15.5%. (From P. 10 of 4364.0)
5. c) 47% (From P. 13 of 4364.0)
6. a) 25–34 years at 58.8% followed closely by d) 75 years and over at 58.4%.(From P. 13 of 4364.0)

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3 - 5 May 2006 - Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) 1st National Community Care Conference
: Riding the Wave of the Future, Darling Harbour, Sydney.

"Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is organising this first National Conference to cover the full spectrum of community care - in ageing and disability. The theme 'Riding the Wave of the Future'represents the excitement, the unexpected, the fun and the challenges of community care."

Further information is available at:<>

30 May - 2 June 2006 - The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) 8th Global Conference Global Ageing: the North-South Challenge
, Copenhagen, Denmark.

"This International Federation on Ageing 8th Global Conference is aimed at highlighting ageing as a truly global issue of demographically staggering dimensions, and will involve and engage key stakeholders in meeting the challenges of global ageing in all countries ie not only those countries experiencing a demographic quake. This biennial conference will confront the ' threat' perspective which is often ascribed to the issue of an ageing population particularly in countries where resources are scarce and infrastructures are weak.

Globally, the IFA are working towards changing attitudes and creating a world where older people have a right to a good quality of life and are accepted and welcomed as worthwhile and active members of our communities. Global efforts are required to initiate, facilitate and strengthen commitments on successful ageing across the world."

Further information is available at

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An Ageing theme page containing ageing-relevant information from the ABS and other Commonwealth Government agencies can be found at the ABS web site. The Ageing theme page highlights the type and range of data available for ageing analyses and will be updated to highlight new data releases as they become available.

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Tara Pritchard
Telephone: (07) 3222 6312

Assistant Director

Mae Mulheran
Telephone: (07) 3222 6206

Mailing address

National Ageing Statistics Unit (NASU)
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 9817, BRISBANE QLD 4001
Fax: (02) 6252 8107

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