2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Oct 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/2002   
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ACAP - Research projects awarded

The Census provides a vast source of information on Australia’s ethnic diversity, labour force activity, income, housing and many other topics for small geographic areas and small population groups. When Census data are combined with other statistical and information bases the potential for research and analysis is virtually limitless.

The standard output planned for the 2001 Census includes a series of products, some of which may be considered analytic in nature. However, these are limited in scope, presenting general analyses about segments of the population. The objective of the Australian Census Analytic Program (ACAP) is to extend beyond summary analyses. ACAP is a collaborative venture between the ABS and selected researchers to provide substantive and in-depth analyses for selected themes which will often cut across traditional “subject matter” boundaries.

ACAP was introduced to assist and encourage the conduct of issue-driven research on topics critical to the development of Australian society. It is hoped that it will add to the understanding of major socio-economic trends and issues in Australia, and contribute to the development of Australia’s social and economic policy agenda over the next decade. Last year, researchers from both government and private sectors were invited to submit research proposals. An evaluation of the proposals submitted was conducted by the ACAP Steering Committee and proponents were advised of the results in July 2002.

The ABS is pleased to announce the awarding of eight research projects:
Counting the Homeless in 2001
Dr Chris Chamberlain - School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University & Mr David MacKenzie - RMIT University
To establish the extent of homelessness in Australia at the time of the 2001 Census, using Census data complemented by data from other surveys of youth homelessness and users of support services. It will also for the first time, provide reliable information on the change in the homeless population over time. It will draw on earlier research using 1996 Census data which was published in Counting the Homeless: Implications for Policy Development (ABS cat. no. 2041.0).

Australia’s Most Recent Immigrants
Professor Graeme Hugo - GISCA, Adelaide University
A comprehensive analysis of who Australia’s recent immigrants are, including how they have adjusted to Australian conditions, their impact on the labour market, the housing sector etc. This monograph will also examine where recent immigrants live and their effects on population distribution as well as making comparisons with older immigrant and Australian-born communities.
Digital Divide? Who Uses Computers and the Internet in Australia Today?
Rachel Lloyd, Ben Phillips & Harry Greenwell - NATSEM, University of Canberra
This project will examine the social, economic and regional factors which impact on computer and Internet use in 2001. The 2001 Census provides the first real opportunity for regional analysis of computer and Internet use in households by looking at a range of socio-economic factors including age, sex, income level, educational qualifications, and dependent children.

Factors Underlying Indigenous Labour Force Status, 1981 - 2001
Dr Boyd Hunter - CAEPR, Australian National University
To describe the current state of the Indigenous labour market focussing on the last two censuses but also describing trends going back to the 1971 Census. This monograph will place emphasis on structuring the economic analysis into supply and demand side approaches to Indigenous involvement in the labour market. Thus it will examine demographic trends and changes in labour force participation rates as well as the industry and occupation of Indigenous people who are employed. In doing so the project will also examine the impact of changing indigenous identification between censuses on such analysis.

The Emergence of Low Fertility in Australia; Family Formation and Social Characteristics
Prof Peter McDonald & Rebecca Kippen - Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
To provide background to the underlying causes of low fertility in Australia using detailed analyses of Australian fertility trends by birth order and social characteristics from 1978 to 2001. The family formation patterns of women (in effect a birth history of women showing birth order and intervals between births) will be cross classified by socio-economic characteristics such as household type, labour force status, level of education, hours of work and ethnicity. The results may then be used in providing a method for predicting future fertility in the medium term.

Ethnic Diversity, Ethnic Intermixture and the Development of “Australian Ancestry”
Dr Siew-Ean Khoo, Dr Dimitria Giorgas, Dr David Lucas - Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
To examine a number of issues relating to ethnic diversity, ethnic intermixture and the development of the concept of “Australian Ancestry” through a comprehensive analysis of the Census ancestry data. This monograph will look at the trend in ethnic diversity since 1986 when a similar question on ancestry was asked. The project will also look closely at issues such as persons stating multiple ancestries, the heterogeneity of birthplace groups, patterns in ethnic intermarriage, generational differences and the characteristics of those who stated “Australian” ancestry as a sole or multiple response.

Understanding the Changing Structure of Rural Communities
Dr Neil Barr - Centre for Land Protection Research, National Resources and Environment Victoria
To provide a better understanding of the changes within rural Australia, particularly in the farm sector and the implications for resource management. While rural adjustment trends are well documented in other countries such as Canada and the United States, this is not so in Australia. The project will explore methods of combining socio-economic data of persons and households from the Population Census, with agricultural activity data from farms as collected by the Agricultural Census to help provide some answers.

Australia’s Caring Labour Force
Dr Gabrielle Meagher & Dr Karen Healy - School of Economics and Political Science, University of Sydney
This project will examine the composition, structure and dynamics of the labour force involved in direct community service provision in Australia. There is increasing demand for high quality caring services and this project will examine factors and constraints that may impact on service delivery. It will examine such questions as who the care workers are, what are their resources and skills, how well do their skills match the occupation requirements, what is their quality of employment (ie.working arrangements and remuneration), and what is their geographic and ethnic distribution.

ACAP will lead to the publication of important information incorporating 2001 Census and other data in the form of monographs, which has not previously been published. It is expected that these monographs will be published from November 2003.