Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD)

What is the ACLD?

The Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD) uses data from the Census of Population and Housing to build a rich research tool for exploring how Australian society changes over time. It can provide new insights into the dynamics and transitions that drive social and economic change over time, and how these vary for diverse population groups and geographies.

Four waves of Census data have so far contributed to the ACLD from the 2006 Census (wave 1), 2011 Census (wave 2), 2016 Census (wave 3) and 2021 Census (wave 4).

For further information on the ACLD and the datasets available, see Microdata and TableBuilder: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset.

How does it work?

The ACLD sample is maintained through the application of a multi-panel framework. There are three ACLD panels, representing a 5% sample of persons enumerated in Australia on the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census nights. There are several ACLD datasets which have been generated that initiate from one of these panels.

The ACLD commenced with a 5% panel sample from the 2006 Census which was linked to subsequent Censuses using statistical techniques. 

Panel samples from later Censuses were formed using the same sample selection strategy which was designed to maintain a linked sample size of 5%, but also introduce new records to subsequent panels to account for new births, migrants and missed links in previous panels. 

This multi-panel framework allows flexibility for users to draw on the most appropriate panel for their research question. 

For further information on the multi-panel sampling framework and linking methodologies refer to Information Paper: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset, Methodology and Quality Assessment.

Research project and outcomes

Research project and outcomes

The ACLD has been used to investigate questions such as: 

  • Were Australians who were unemployed in 2011 and had moved regions by 2016 more likely to be employed than those who had remained in the same area?
  • What are the characteristics of persons transitioning into aged care facilities? How do they compare to those who didn’t go into aged care facilities?
  • What are recent school leavers up to?
  • How is family structure changing over time?
  • What are the characteristics and changes resulting from transitioning single parenthood?

To find out more about how the ACLD, and data integration in general, can be used to advance research and benefit the public, visit the Use and benefits page.

Privacy and security

The ABS protects your privacy and is committed to Keeping integrated data safe.

Accessing ACLD data

The ACLD is available as a detailed microdata product accessible by approved users within the ABS’ secure DataLab environment, and is also available within TableBuilder where users can create their own customised tables. 

To apply, see the TableBuilder and DataLab pages.

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