1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/10/2003   
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Contents >> Section 4 - ABS Outputs >> Chapter 7 - Population and Social Statistics Output - Review of Components

The remainder of this Chapter reviews the activities and achievements of each component of the Population and Social Statistics program during 2002-03.


The census component develops and conducts the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The results are used to revise population estimates for each of the states and territories, and to provide detailed statistics on the population and its housing within small geographic areas and for small groups within the population. These statistics are used for electoral purposes, for the distribution of government funds, and for a variety of planning, administration, policy and research activities of government, business and other users.

The first release of 2001 Census data took place on 10 June 2002. Since that time a wide range of 2001 Census products have been released. These include:

  • the wide range of community profile data, available free of charge on the ABS web site
  • a range of publications, including a social atlas for each capital city
  • CDATA 2001, and a CD-ROM product, which allows data users to analyse and map census data alongside their own data
  • CLIB2001, a product designed for libraries and available both on CD-ROM and on the Internet
  • the conduct of a conference involving statistical agencies from several countries to examine the possible developments for the next census round
  • the conduct of a pilot test of the Internet as a basis for collecting census data in 2006
  • commencement of consultation with key users on census data topics for the 2006 Census. New topics under consideration include disability and unpaid work.


The demography component produces estimates of the population by age, sex, country of birth, Indigenous status, registered marital status and geographical distribution, and estimates of families and households. Projections of the population, families and households, according to specified demographic assumptions, are published on a regular basis and produced for individual clients. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures, and internal migration.

Achievements during the year included:
  • working closely with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to recover the delay in the processing of passenger cards from August 2000 onwards. Outstanding final statistics based on passenger cards for August 2000 to June 2001 were released in quarterly issues of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0)
  • the release of Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0) covering two financial years 2000-01 and 2001-02
  • review of the high level of the preliminary 1996-2001 intercensal discrepancy and implementation of consequential revisions to final estimated resident populations for 30 June 2001
  • compilation of final state, territory and national estimated resident populations from September quarter 1996 to June quarter 2001 based on the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, outstanding net overseas migration statistics, and revised components of population growth, released in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)
  • the introduction of a new electronic release Population, Australian States and Territories - Electronic Publication (cat. no. 3239.0.55.001) to meet timeliness requirements for specific population estimates required under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Relations) Act 1999
  • the release of a comprehensive analysis of population growth, internal migration and distribution between 1996 and 2001 in Census of Population and Housing: Population Growth and Distribution, Australia (cat. no. 2035.0).

Labour and Education Statistics

The labour and education statistics component provides information on the composition and characteristics of the labour force; operations of the labour market; earnings, labour costs and other conditions of employment; and educational attainment and participation.

A senior officer is outposted to the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), in recognition of their needs for labour market and education statistics and the importance of facilitating their access to, and understanding of, these statistics.

Labour market information

Labour force statistics are collected in a monthly survey of households. These statistics provide timely estimates of employment and unemployment, together with basic demographic data, enabling various characteristics of the employed and unemployed to be analysed. In addition, supplementary surveys are run in conjunction with the labour force survey to collect more detailed data on specific labour market issues.

Topics covered by supplementary surveys in 2002-03 included labour force experience; employee earnings; employee benefits; trade union membership; underemployment; job search experience; and persons not in the labour force.

The component also produces: monthly statistics on industrial disputes; quarterly data on average weekly earnings, job vacancies, and public sector employment and earnings; biennial data on the distribution and composition of employee earnings, hours, and methods of setting pay; and periodic data on employers’ labour costs.

Achievements during the year included:
  • a review of the National Education and Training Statistics Unit, which was conducted during March and April 2003. The main outcome of the review was a recommendation for continued user funding of the Unit for a further three years
  • development and production of a new quarterly publication Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0). The publication includes tables and feature articles covering a wide range of labour market issues
  • introduction of a new sample to the labour force survey, based on updated geographic information from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing
  • development and production of a new set of electronic products for the monthly release of detailed data from the labour force survey, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001).

National Centre for Education and Training Statistics

Statistics on schools, school students and staff are compiled by the ABS from collections conducted in cooperation with the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. For government schools, the data are collected initially by state and territory education departments, and for non-government schools, the data are initially collected by DEST. Statistics on educational attainment, participation in education and training, and transition from education to work, are produced from regular household surveys and from the Population Census.

The Centre also has a major role in statistical leadership and coordination across all sectors of education and training, and is represented on each sector’s peak statistical committee.

Achievements during the year included:
  • release of Education and Training Indicators, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 4230.0), a new biennial publication presenting summary statistics and commentary using national level data from a wide range of ABS and non-ABS sources
  • release of Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia - A Framework for Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4213.0). The framework was a joint initiative of the ABS, DEST, the Australian National Training Authority, and all state and territory education and training departments
  • release of results from the 2001-02 Training Expenditure and Practices Survey in Employer Training Expenditure and Practices, Australia, 2001-02 (cat. no. 6362.0)
  • development of an Information Development Plan to improve the quality, coverage and use of education and training statistics, in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

Social Conditions Statistics

The social conditions statistics component provides information about the social wellbeing of Australia’s population, within a framework of areas of social concern and population groups at risk of disadvantage. This includes statistics relating to the housing, economic and general social wellbeing of the population as well as for subgroups such as Indigenous Australians, women, children, youth, older people, social security beneficiaries, people living in rural and regional areas, and people whose first language is not English.

The component produces statistics from a range of social surveys in the areas of housing, income, superannuation and household expenditure. Reports are also produced, drawing widely on ABS and other data, to address a range of contemporary social issues and to monitor changes in Australian social conditions over time.

Achievements during the year included:
  • release of the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) where users can analyse confidentialised ABS survey unit record files (microdata) via a secure web arrangement. The security that RADL offers, by holding the microdata within the ABS environment, will allow researchers to analyse more detailed microdata than could be provided through the more traditional microdata releases on CD-ROM
  • a series of seminars for external clients to look more closely at the analyses and issues in Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0)
  • publication of revised household income statistics, from 1994-95 to 1999-2000, in a feature article in the June 2003 issue of Australian Economic Indicators (cat. no. 1350.0). The revisions followed ABS investigations into aspects of the quality of the statistics, as well as adoption of certain international statistical standards not previously applied by the ABS in this field of statistics
  • completion of analysis of issues surrounding comparability of historic ABS surveys of household income and expenditure. This work was undertaken as part of an Australian Research Council funded project with the Social Policy Research Centre of the University of New South Wales
  • completion of the development of the 2003-04 Household Income and Expenditure survey (HIES). The redeveloped survey, which is six-yearly, will collect some new information on assets and liabilities to both improve the quality of the income information collected in the survey and provide for analysis of the household distribution of wealth
  • conduct, in respect of 2002-03, of the biennial Survey of Income and Housing Costs
  • participation as a member of the Rio Group of experts, which was established by the UN Statistical Commission in 1996, to harness the experience and concerns of different groups and organisations in the world that are working on the measurement, interpretation and use of poverty statistics, to progress development of a compendium of better practice in this field of statistics.

National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics

The National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics has responsibility for national leadership in the production and dissemination of statistics about Australia’s Indigenous population. The Centre works closely with other areas of the ABS and with a wide range of external agencies, to provide expertise on these statistics and advice on related statistical issues. It coordinates initiatives to improve the quality, use and availability of Indigenous data from a range of sources and assists Indigenous organisations to improve their capacity to use statistics effectively.

Achievements during the year included:
  • conduct of the field collection phase of the 2002 Indigenous Social Survey (ISS), the first such survey since the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS). The ISS surveyed Indigenous Australians 15 years and older, including those living in discrete Indigenous communities in remote areas of Australia. The ISS has significant content overlap with the 2002 general social survey, to allow comparisons between the personal and social circumstances of Indigenous and other Australians and the 1994 NATSIS so that comparisons in the circumstances of Indigenous Australians can be analysed over time
  • publication of National Health Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia (cat. no. 4715.0) which presents summary Indigenous results from the 2001 survey, with concurrent electronic release of the published results, associated user guide, and progressive electronic release of more detailed cross-tabulations of the results.
  • the development of the 2004-05 Indigenous Health Survey, with a much larger sample than in 2001
  • publication of the CD-ROM product Australian Indigenous Geographical Classification Maps and Census Profiles (cat. no. 4706.0.30.001) presenting for the first time in one product a visual representation, through multiple maps in adobe acrobat format, of the geographic levels of the Australian Indigenous geographic classification (comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Regions, Indigenous areas and Indigenous locations), together with Census Indigenous data profiles for each ATSIC region and Indigenous area
  • publication of the Occasional Paper: Hospital Statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 4711.0), which was prepared jointly by the ABS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Health and Community Statistics

This component is responsible for social analysis related to health and community subject fields, and for providing information on health, family and the community. It is also responsible for developing and promoting standard statistical concepts, definitions and classifications in these areas. The component produces reports describing social conditions in Australia, and the social wellbeing of the population and special population groups (such as women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, aged persons and families). The component produces statistics on health (including causes of death, health status and risk factors, use of health services by the population, and statistics about private health establishments), family and community welfare and wellbeing
(including statistics about disability, ageing and carers, voluntary work, child care and time use) and population groups such as persons with a disability, aged persons, families, women and children.

Achievements during the year included:
  • publication of results from the 2001 National Health Survey (NHS) including a comprehensive printed publication, National Health Survey: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4364.0); detailed additional tables; a Confidentialised Unit Record File (microdata) available both through the Remote Access Data Laboratory and on CD-ROM; and a survey user guide, 2001 National Health Survey: Users’ Guide - Electronic Publication (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001), available through the ABS web site
  • extensive consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and other major users of health survey data, and commencement of testing as part of the development of content and methodology for the NHS 2004-05
  • a major contribution to improving dissemination and understanding of national health surveys and health statistics through the release of five web-based Information Papers on Suicides, Australia (cat. no. 3309.0.55.001); Use of Kessler Psychological Distress Scale in ABS Health Surveys, Australia (cat. no. 4817.0.55.001); Measuring Dietary Habits in the 2001 National Health Survey, Australia (cat. no. 4814.0.55.001); Long-term Health Conditions - A Guide to Time Series Comparability From The National Health Survey, Australia (cat. no. 4816.0.55.001); Vaccination Coverage in Australian Children - ABS Statistics and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) (cat. no. 4813.0.55.001)
  • assistance to state and territory governments in the development of core modules of health surveys
  • release of Mortality Atlas, Australia, 1997-2000 (cat. no. 3318.0), which is a compilation and analysis in map format of the geographical distribution of causes of death registered between 1997 and 2000
  • development of, and wide user community and expert consultation on, a framework to measure social capital. Presentation of Australian social capital developments at international forums involved in the development of collaborative approaches to the measurement of social capital
  • successful development and commencement of data collection for the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
  • contribution to international discussions on the development of standards for the measurement of disability
  • continuing consultancy work for the Office of the Status of Women providing data for their information warehouse Window on Women
  • release of data from the child care survey in Child Care, Australia, June 2002, (cat. no. 4402.0).

National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics

The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics is responsible for informing decision making in the area of crime and justice through the production of national statistics about the crime and justice sector, including reported and unreported crime, criminal court processes and resulting imprisonment in correctional institutions or alternative arrangements. It coordinates data collection activities within the ABS, and across other public agencies relating to this field, and provides a statistical service which includes provision of statistical information, training of data providers, advice on statistical standards and development of quality control procedures.

Achievements during the year included:
  • commencement of the development of an Information Development Plan for the crime and justice sector, which identifies key crime and justice issues, the data sources available to address those issues and suggested strategies to address data gaps and deficiencies
  • agreement on a framework for an offender based series for recorded crime statistics and continuing development of a collection
  • the release of the 2002 National Crime and Safety Survey results
  • the release of offence and sentencing information for the Higher Criminal Courts
  • the addition of experimental data for Magistrates Criminal Courts
  • the preparation of an Information Framework for Sexual Assault, for release as an ABS Information Paper
  • organisation and convening, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Criminology, of a major conference on Evaluation in Crime and Justice: Trends and Methods.

National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics

The National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics has responsibility for the coordination of national statistical activity in the fields of culture and recreation. It provides expertise within the ABS regarding the collection and analysis of data related to culture and recreation, as well as informing external users about culture and recreation statistics, relevant classifications and standards and appropriate data analysis.

Achievements during the year included:
  • implementation in ABS output, and promotion of, the Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications (cat. no. 4902.0)
  • the release of the Directory of Culture and Leisure Statistics - Website Version (cat. no. 1143.0.55.001) containing information about a wide range of ABS data sources of relevance to culture, recreation and leisure
  • the release of a collection of statistics on Sport and Recreation Funding by Government, Australia (cat. no. 4147.0)
  • the publication of data from the first book retailers survey in Book Retailers, Australia, 2000-01 (cat. no. 1371.0)
  • the release of two publications providing information from the 2001 Census about employment in culture and recreation - Employment in Culture, Australia (cat. no. 6273.0) and Employment in Sport and Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4148.0).

National Ageing Statistics Unit

The National Ageing Statistics Unit was established in July 2002 in response to the need for a statistical evidence base to support government policy development related to ageing and aged persons. The unit will improve the understanding of ageing trends and current issues through the production of analytical reports, as well as undertaking a leadership role in the development of statistics on ageing, and related concepts and definitions.

Achievements during the year included:
  • the development of a report on characteristics of the ageing population based on 2001 Census data
  • the release of an article on changes in labour force participation across generations in Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0)
  • commencement of the development of an Information Development Plan (IDP) for ageing statistics. The IDP will identify key ageing issues, data sources and suggested strategies to address data gaps and deficiencies
  • the development of a newsletter and web site theme page on ageing issues
  • presentations to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Ageing and other ageing policy forums.

National Children and Youth Statistics Unit

The recently established National Children and Youth Statistics Unit provides statistical leadership and coordination in the children and youth field. There is a critical emerging need for an effective evidence base to support policy development on children and youth issues. Recent initiatives such as the establishment of the Australian Research Alliance on Children and Youth and the National Agenda on Early Childhood, as well as the Department of Family and Community Services commissioned Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children, will improve the information and research on these important population groups.

Achievements during the year included:
  • establishment of a statistical advisory group on children and youth to identify key requirements for information in the children and youth field
  • collaborative work with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research on outputs related to the Western Australia Aboriginal Child Health Survey
  • progress on the development of a youth report based on 2001 Census data
  • release of an article on youth migration, in Australian Social Trends.


The geography component is responsible for developing and maintaining geographic products and services for use by the ABS and its clients. Activities include the production of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) and associated products, provision of a geographic information system, geocoding, and mapping services to the ABS, and continuing development of the Integrated Regional Data Base - an annual regional statistics CD-ROM product.

Achievements during the year included:
  • finalising of arrangements with the Public Sector Mapping Agencies for the production of the Geocoded National Address File for use in coding mesh blocks for the 2006 Census
  • release of Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0), 2002 edition, incorporating Queensland Aboriginal and Island council areas
  • release of Statistical Geography: Volume 3 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Urban Centres/Localities (cat. no. 2909.0)
  • release of digital boundary files for the ASGC 2002 edition and ASGC 2001 edition Urban Centres and Localities
  • release of a suite of geographical concordances, Postal Area to Statistical Local Area Concordance, Australia (cat. no. 1253.0) based on the 2001 Census geography
  • release of the National Localities Index, Australia (cat. no. 1252.0.55.001) on the ABS web site. This is the ABS statistical local area coding tool
  • release of ASGC Remoteness Classification - Purpose and Use (Census Paper 03/01).

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