1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/1999   
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Contents >> Chapter 2. Main Structure >> The spatial units >> Census Collection District (CD)

Census Collection Districts (CDs) are designed for use in census years for the collection and dissemination of Population Census data. In non-census years, CDs are undefined. In aggregate, CDs cover the whole of Australia (as defined in chapter 1) without gaps or overlaps.

The CD is the smallest spatial unit in the ASGC. CDs aggregate to form the larger spatial units of SLAs in the Main, Statistical Region, Statistical District and LGA Structures, SOS in the SOS Structure and Urban Centres and Localities in the UC/L Structure. Aggregation of SLAs in turn forms the remaining spatial units in the ASGC. Therefore, in census years, the CD is the common denominator which integrates all six classification structures in the ASGC (see diagram 3, chapter 1).

The basic concept of a CD is that it defines an area that one census collector can cover, delivering and collecting census forms, in about a ten-day period. In urban areas CDs average about 220 dwellings. In rural areas the number of dwellings per CD reduces as population densities decrease. By design, CD boundaries do not cross SLA (and thus LGA) boundaries. Therefore, an aggregation of CDs covers the administrative area of a local government.

For the last (1996) Census, 34,500 CDs were defined throughout Australia.

Delimitation of CDs

For the 1996 Census, the following criteria were used for delimiting CDs:

      • CDs should be consistent with both the collector’s workload requirements and their role as a useful spatial unit and building block capable of aggregation into broader level ASGC spatial units;
      • the area and population delimited by a CD boundary must not be so great that one collector cannot deliver and collect census forms within about ten days;
      • the chosen CD boundaries should, if possible, be readily identifiable on the ground, be defined in terms of permanent features, follow the centre of a road or river if these features are used and should delimit CDs which conform to existing and proposed land uses. The use of major roads as CD boundaries in rural areas should be avoided where possible, i.e. to minimise splitting of identifiable rural localities;
      • CDs should conform where possible to existing/gazetted suburb boundaries. CDs must not cross SLA boundaries and, as a consequence, any other ASGC spatial unit boundary;
      • CDs should not be designed in such a way as to make them confidential for publication of data. Accordingly, a CD should contain, where possible, at least 100 persons at the next census. For dissemination purposes, Indigenous Community CDs will have a limit of 80 persons; and
      • CDs in aggregate must cover the whole of Australia (as defined in chapter 1) without gaps or overlaps.

Special purpose CDs

Special purpose CDs are created so that special enumeration procedures can be applied. They include:

      • Indigenous Community CDs;
      • Defence Establishments CDs;
      • Mining or Construction towns or camps CDs; and
      • Major Waterways CDs.

A number of these special purpose CDs have no actual boundary. They are represented as points instead of areas on maps.

Indigenous Community CDs are defined where there is a significant Indigenous population.

Defence Establishments CDs are defined where there is a clear boundary and special enumeration procedures are required.

Mining or Construction CDs are defined when the town or camp is expected to exist for at least two censuses.

Major Waterways CDs consist of water only and contain no population. They are found particularly in major urban areas where an LGA boundary extends from the shore to include part of a body of water.

Off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs

Off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs are not spatial units in the usual sense—they have no defined boundaries. They are designed to facilitate the recording of people on census night who are off-shore on oil rigs, drilling platforms and other structures; on board vessels in and between Australian ports; or are in transit on board long distance trains, buses and aircraft.

Off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs are not defined for the Australian Capital Territory and the Other Territories.

For the 1996 Census, Australian residents temporarily in Antarctica were included in the off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs of Tasmania.

CD codes

CDs are identified by unique six-digit codes within each S/T.

160501 of New South Wales
051901 of Western Australia

The first two digits of the 1996 CD code identify the Field Management Area (FMA). FMAs closely follow federal electoral boundaries and, in most cases, are aggregates of LGAs. The next two digits identify the Field Group Area (FGA). The last two digits identify CDs within an FGA. The six-digit code must be used in conjunction with the one-digit S/T code to uniquely identify a CD.

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