Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD)

What is the ACLD?

The Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD) combines a 5% sample of data from the three most recent Censuses to create a research tool for exploring how Australian society changes over time. This dataset provides insights into the pathways that lead to particular outcomes for population groups of interest in Australia, and how these pathways vary for different groups.

It contains information such as age, sex, country of birth, labour force status, as well as dwelling, household and family characteristics, across each of these Censuses.

How does it work?

This dataset combined a representative 5% sample of Census data from 2006 with linked records from 2011 Census data, to create the 2006-2011 ACLD.

Similarly, a representative 5% sample from 2011 was combined with corresponding records from the 2016 Census, resulting in a dataset with over 1.2 million records, to create the 2011-2016 ACLD.

In March 2019, the sample from the 2006-2011 ACLD was combined with linked records from the 2016 Census to make the three wave ACLD. The Information Paper: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset, Methodology and Quality Assessment (cat. no. 2080.5) contains detailed information about the sampling and linking methodologies, and linkage results.

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?

Selected tables covering, for example, labour force status; volunteer status and Year 11 and Year 12 student outcomes, are available in Australian’s journeys through life: Stories from the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (cat. No. 2081.0).

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

ACLD is available to registered users as a charged product in TableBuilder, where users can create their own customised tables. In addition, the ACLD is available in the ABS Datalab as a detailed microdata product that enables approved researchers to unlock the full power of the longitudinal Census file, using a range of statistical software.

Microdata: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (cat. no. 2080.0) contains information about registration, pricing and access to the ACLD, as well as details about data items contained in the dataset.

Access and services provides an outline of how to apply to apply for and access integrated data like the ACLD.