About CURF Microdata

Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are microdata files containing individual responses, which have been treated to protect privacy and confidentiality using a range of statistical techniques. There are two types of CURFs:

BASIC CURFS are designed for use in the researcher's own environment. There are over 100 basic CURFs available, covering many ABS social surveys, the Census of Population and Housing and some business data. Individual data items in basic CURFs are likely to be reported at a broader level than that offered in other ABS microdata products. Basic CURFs are available in MicrodataDownload.

EXPANDED CURFS have been designed for use in the secure Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and DataLab environments. Due to these protected environments, researchers are able to access finer levels of detail than on a basic CURF. For example, where a basic CURF might report an age classification in five-yearly increments, an expanded CURF may include data by single year of age.

Alternatively, the ABS may be able to produce customised CURFs. Customised CURFs may include data items and levels of detail not otherwise disseminated, or may be configured in other ways responding to particular user needs. Customised CURFS are fully cost recovered and production is dependent on availability of ABS resources. For more information email microdata.access@abs.gov.au.


  1. Only Australian organisations may apply for MicrodataDownload. International organisations may request access to specific basic CURFs, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Organisations must have a valid Responsible Officer Undertaking in place.
  3. Users must be registered and joined to their organisation through the Registration Centre.
  4. Contact Officers must comply with the requirements for managing Basic CURF distribution within their organisation.
  5. Users must comply with the conditions agreed to by their Responsible Officer and understand their obligations as a microdata user, detailed in the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata Guide. This includes:
    • using your own log in credentials to access microdata systems and not sharing your credentials with any other user
    • securely storing microdata from basic CURFs
    • not sharing microdata with unauthorised people
    • not attempting to match the unit record data with any other list, database or repository of persons or organisations.


The ABS provides access to CURF microdata on a wide range of topics such as health, education, labour force, migrants, crime, disability, ageing and carers. Not all CURFs are available in both basic and expanded formats. Available microdata contains information on which CURF products are available as well as links to supporting materials such as data item lists. Access Modes and Levels of Detail provides information about how basic and expanded CURF microdata compare to other types of data and access modes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the RADL User Guide provide further assistance for microdata users.


To apply for access to CURF microdata, see How to apply and Prices. If you already have a Registration Centre account you can log in to view the list of products your organisation has subscribed to. Users in participating universities are entitled to access microdata and TableBuilder products at no additional charge under the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement.

BASIC CURFS are available from MicrodataDownload. All basic CURFs are available to download for registered subscribers.

EXPANDED CURFS are accessible through the RADL and DataLab. If you want to request access to an expanded CURF, contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au with your name, user ID, organisation and the expanded CURFs you are interested in accessing. ABS privacy policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.