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Regional FAQs
 

Q. Where can I find the population for my region?
Q. What data can I find for Local Government Areas?
Q. What types of regions can I find data for?
Q. Can I compare data from different time periods?
Q. What is the smallest type of region there is data for?
Q. Can I find a measure of locational disadvantage?
Q. Does the ABS collect any information on remote areas of Australia?
Q. How do I find out more about the Geographies used in ABS statistics?


Q. Where can I find the population for my region?

A. The most up-to-date population estimates for small areas can be found in Regional Population Growth, Australia (cat. no. 3218.0). This release contains the Estimated Resident Population (ERP), which is the official ABS estimate of the population. ERP is based on the five-yearly Population Census, updated for the components of population change (births, deaths and indicators of migration). The Census of Population and Housing is a good source for data on the characteristics of the population such as occupation. It is a snapshot at a particular point in time.


Q. What data can I find for Local Government Areas?

A. A variety of ABS data is available for Local Government Areas (LGAs). Key data sources include:

  • the National Regional Profile, which presents summary regional data on a variety of topics, available through the Data by Region navigator; and
  • the Census of Population and Housing, which presents comprehensive socio-economic data for small areas.

There are many other ABS sources of Local Government data. The Local Government page gives you an overview of how to find data for LGAs and links to some key releases.

Some historical ABS releases use Statistical Local Areas (SLA). The SLA was a general purpose spatial unit used to collect and disseminate statistics. Some data at SLA level can be aggregated to LGAs. To see which SLAs made up your LGA, look up your LGA in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0). A list of LGAs and corresponding SLAs can be found in Chapter 15.
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Q. What types of regions can I find data for?

A. ABS provides statistics for numerous geographies. The level and type of geography may vary, depending on the source of the data and how it is collected. For example, sample survey data may provide State/Territory and Capital City/Balance of State data, but not for smaller regions.

A complete list of geographical boundaries that the ABS releases data for can be found on the Statistical Geography page.

A variety of ABS data is available for Australian regions. Key data sources include:
  • the National Regional Profile, which presents summary regional data on a variety of topics, available through the Data by Region navigator; and
  • the Census of Population and Housing, which presents comprehensive socio-economic data for small areas.

There are many other ABS sources of regional data. Some popular examples include Regional Population Growth, Australia (cat. no. 3218.0), Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0) and Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0).

The Regional Data in ABS Products page helps you locate regional data in ABS publications.
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Q. Can I compare data from different time periods?

A. Generally regional data from different time periods cannot be compared unless it is presented on the same geographic boundaries.

For example, comparisons of change over time for Local Government Areas (LGAs) may be more difficult. Since LGAs change their boundaries from time to time, it is important to be aware of this when making comparisons. An LGA that has expanded its boundaries may have grown in population, but this may only be due to a boundary change.

The National Regional Profile, accessed through the Data by Region navigator, is an example of a dataset which allows a comparison over time. The National Regional Profile presents five years of data for a variety of topics, presented on the same geographic boundaries, allowing comparisons of data across time periods for the same geographic boundaries.

However, you may be interested in how a region has grown in area over time, in which case changes to the defined geographic boundary may not be an issue. For example you may want to compare the population of the urban area of 'Adelaide' from the past with the current urban area of 'Adelaide'. In this case it does not matter if the geographic boundary has changed as you are interested in how the population of the urban area known as 'Adelaide' has grown.

Please be aware that the collection methodology and data item definitions may have also changed between time periods, in which case care should be taken in comparing data from different time periods. Information relating to methodological changes are described in the Explanatory Notes of each product.

If there have been no changes to methodology or definitions, data can be converted to the same geographic boundaries using a correspondence file. For information on correspondences, see the Statistical Geography page.
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Q. What is the smallest type of region there is data for?

A. Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) is the smallest output level of geography in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). There are approximately 55,000 SA1s across the whole of Australia. SA1s have an average population of approximately 400 people. For more information see the Statistical Geography page.


Q. Can I find a measure of locational disadvantage?

A. The ABS produces Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) which is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from the Census of Population and Housing. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA index number, which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia, for more information see the SEIFA page.


Q. Does the ABS collect any information on remote areas of Australia?

A. The ABS has defined remoteness by the Remoteness Structure in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). A range of Census data is available on the basis of remoteness. Some other data is also available by Remoteness Structure, for example there is data by remoteness in the General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia (4159.0).


Q. How do I find out more about the Geographies used in ABS statistics?

A. Information about the geographies used in ABS statistics can be found on the Statistical Geography page.
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