2903.0 - How Australia Takes a Census, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2011   
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Data Output

Product Development

The ABS is developing a range of products and services from the 2011 Census to meet the objective of providing users of statistics with the information they need. The 2011 Census results will be published via the Internet. Emphasis will be placed on providing a timely and responsive range of products.

Two-Staged Release

As with the 2006 Census, there will be a two-staged release of the data. Basic data items will be available in the first data release (June 2012) and others that require more detailed processing will be released as part of the second data release (October 2012). The ABS website will continue to be used as the main channel for the release of Census data.

Census Data

Census data will be released on two different bases: place of usual residence and place of enumeration. Census data at place of usual residence are based on the reported usual residence of all people enumerated on Census Night. Overseas visitors and Australians overseas are excluded. Usual addresses are coded to Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1s). Usual residence Census data will be available for SA1s and aggregates of SA1s.

Census data at place of enumeration are based on each person's actual location on Census Night. Overseas visitors are included while Australians overseas are excluded.

Population Estimates

Population estimates (estimated resident population) are derived by making two adjustments to the usual residence Census counts. The first is an adjustment for Census undercounting as measured by the Post Enumeration Survey. This adjustment is made to the counts of males and females by age for Australia, states/territories and at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) level.

The second adjustment is the addition of estimates of Australian residents temporarily overseas on Census Night. This adjustment is also made by age at SLA level.

Products Available

The Internet will continue to be the main dissemination tool for the 2011 Census. Previously the ABS released Census data as a defined range of products containing predefined tables for most levels of geography. While this defined data will still be available in 2011, other Internet-based products will also be available. These products will have greater flexibility, allowing clients to choose topics rather than just geography and even to have some ability to create or alter cross-classifications. Predominantly, data from the 2011 Census will be released free of charge.

Information planned for electronic release includes:

    Community Profiles

    The Community Profiles Series will continue to be available for the 2011 Census. Each Community Profile is a set of tables containing key Census characteristics of people, families and dwellings covering most topics on the Census form. Below is a list of the type of community profiles expected to be released for 2011.

    • Usual residence;
    • Place of enumeration;
    • Expanded community;
    • Working population;
    • Time series; and
    • Indigenous.

    All profiles will be available via the Internet and will be free of charge. Area selections for these profiles will be through an intuitive, drill-down map or locality interface.


    QuickStats is a fast, simple way to understand an area of interest at a glance. QuickStats will be released as a series of web pages and will use a variety of techniques to share the stories from the Census, including data in tables, graphs and text. QuickStats provides a snapshot of information for the selected area and includes data on people, their families and dwellings in which they live.


    DataPacks contain data for all of Australia, along with digital boundaries, and are designed for clients with existing databases or analysis systems e.g. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), other mapping or tabulation systems where Census data can be imported. The 2011 DataPacks will be available free of charge from the ABS website.

    DataPacks contain the main Census characteristics for people, families and dwellings. There are seven profiles that make up the Census DataPacks series, reflecting the same table structure as the Community Profiles:

    • Basic Community;
    • Place of Enumeration;
    • Indigenous;
    • Time Series;
    • Working Population;
    • Expanded Community; and
    • Estimated Residential Profiles.

    Census Analysis Papers

    Census Analysis Papers will include a series of analytical articles and working papers based on results of the 2011 Census. They will be available free of charge from the ABS website. The series will aim to increase awareness and understanding of Census data by explaining new or complex Census terms, investigating data characteristics, and providing social commentary and analysis. In addition, some articles will complement the use of Census data by providing insight into data quality issues and technical information comparing Census data to other data sources.

    Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

    SEIFA is a set of four indexes which rank geographical areas across Australia. These indexes are ranked by a score based on the characteristics of the people, families and dwellings in these areas. This can be used to determine areas with higher proportions of wealthy persons or disadvantaged persons or highly skilled and educated persons. SEIFA can be used for research into the relationship between socio-economic status and various health and educational outcomes. SEIFA will be released in Microsoft Excel format and will be available free of charge from the ABS website.


    TableBuilder is an online tool that enables the creation of customised tables. TableBuilder is designed to provide clients with the highest degree of freedom in selecting and combining data items and geographical areas for cross-tabulation.

    Reference publications

    A number of reference publications will be released enabling clients to understand what the Census data and various geographical codes mean. These include the 2011 Census Dictionary. All reference information will be available via the Internet.

For more information about products see Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing - Proposed Products and Services, 2011 (cat. no. 2011.0)