The Business Demography Program is responsible for providing a range of information about the structure, characteristics and performance of businesses in the Australian economy. The program supports the development of robust business definitions and classifications to ensure the production of a consistent framework for all ABS business statistics.
Key external clients of the program are Australian and state government agencies and industry associations.
Government policy analysts and researchers make extensive use of ABS business statistics. Business and business operator counts produced by the program are important for users in understanding the likely impact of particular policies or events. The data are used mainly to monitor the structure and performance of the business sector; and to assess the need for, and effectiveness of, policies relating to the business sector.
In times of disaster (natural or otherwise), information relating to business location, counts, industry and size becomes particularly important in understanding the potential impact of an event and the support required to assist recovery.
The program releases an annual publication Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits (ABS cat. no. 8165.0) which provides data relevant to users interested in understanding businesses that actively trade in goods or services.
The publication Counts of Australian Business Operators (ABS cat. no. 8175.0), first released in 2008, sources data from the Census of Population and Housing (Census) and the Forms of Employment Survey. The next release is due in 2013, using data collected in the 2011 Census and Forms of Employment Survey.
These outputs, together with a range of relevant information, are available on the Business Demography Topics @ a Glance page on the ABS website.
The main medium term developments in the program are to:
- investigate user-driven data access options to better support diverse user demand for business demography data - due June 2014
- review the range of business demography information produced and disseminated to better meet user requirements - due June 2015
- work with the Australian Business Register to promote coherence between their outputs and ABS business demography statistics - ongoing
- investigate opportunities to improve regional business demographics through leveraging off work undertaken by the Australian Business Register - due December 2014.
Bill Allen, Assistant Statistician, Environment Statistics & Integration Branch
Topics @ a Glance - Business Demography