1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Jun 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2008   
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Population Observation

The Demography Program
The ABS Demography section and those who staff it are interested in three main areas that directly affect population change - fertility, mortality and migration.

While many issues of demography are common across states, others are particular to one or two states. In WA, key areas of interest include the growth associated with the resources boom, interstate and international migration to ease the skills shortage, the effects of an ageing and increasingly urbanised population, and the different life outcomes experienced by the state’s Indigenous people.

Program management for the ABS Demography section is in Central Office in Canberra. Each state office has a staff member with Demography responsibility who focuses population issues within their region. Deborah Wade-Marshall currently fills this role in the WA Office.

A State Statistical Priority
Improving demographic statistics at the local level has recently been identified as a statistical priority. Activities currently underway in the WA Office that align with this focus include the development of a regional engagement strategy for Census 2011, an analysis of migration into the state, and a review of long distance commuting, including fly-in/fly-out practices, associated with the mining and construction industries.

A Publication and a Course
The ABS is also trying to improve clients’ awareness of demography. A recently released publication and a forthcoming course can assist this process.

The publication is titled Population Concepts (cat. no. 3107.0.55.006) and explains that while population may be simply defined, issues associated with its measurement are increasingly complex.

The paper discusses six different population concepts, highlights the differences between them and identifies some to the measurement issues associated with them. In response to rising interest in service populations, various definitions, conceptual clarifications and issues associated with service populations are discussed. The publication can be downloaded free of charge from the ABS website - www.abs.gov.au.

The course is a redeveloped one day learning event, Understanding Demographic Data, which we intend to offer in Perth in November 2008.

Topics covered in the course include population components: births, deaths, overseas and interstate migration, population estimates, small area population estimates and population projections. The challenges involved in producing estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are also covered. At the completion of the course participants will have a basic understanding of demography, how demographic statistics are produced, quality issues and concerns with source data, and the outputs that are produced by the ABS.

Regular Demography Publications
Along with the rest of the Bureau, the Demography work program is sharing the challenge of continuing to provide a high quality statistical service within its budget appropriation for 2008-09. The focus has been on removing duplication and improving efficiency without compromising the quality and availability of data.

Most of our regular products will continue to be released without change; others are being reviewed and will be released with reduced content.

For Further information regarding the Demography Program operating from the ABS WA office, please contact Deborah Wade-Marshall on (08) 9360 5389. For demographic statistics, please contact the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070.