3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/2012   
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Australia's official statistical geography has changed. In July 2011 the ABS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The ASGS defines more stable, consistent and meaningful areas than the ASGC and is now the essential reference for understanding and interpreting ABS spatial statistics. Old regions such as Census Collection Districts, Statistical Local Areas and Statistical Divisions have been replaced by the new Statistical Areas Level 1 to 4 (SA1s - SA4s) and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas.

Local Government Areas (LGAs) remain part of the new geography as a Non-ABS Structure. Non-ABS Structures bring together those regions which are not defined by the ABS, but which are important to users of ABS statistics.

For more information on the ASGS and how the old regions relate to new regions, please see the ABS Geography Portal.


This issue contains the first set of population estimates based on the new geography, where the SA2 is the base spatial unit for preparing and disseminating sub-state population estimates. It also contains a time series of estimates for the new geography, as well as estimates based on the old geography. Sub-state population estimates for 30 June 2012 and onwards will only be prepared and released based on the ASGS.

As LGA population estimates are regarded as a crucial ABS output, they will continue to be prepared annually. The boundaries on which these estimates will be prepared will be updated each year, in line with official gazetted boundaries for all LGAs.

SA2-level population estimates are broken down into SA1s, which are then aggregated to form the other Non-ABS Structures of the ASGS (e.g. Postal Areas, State Suburbs, Electoral Divisions). Estimates for Electoral Divisions and Remoteness Areas are available in the Downloads tab of this product.

For further information about the production and availability of these estimates see Information Paper: Population Estimates under Australia's New Statistical Geography (cat. no. 3219.0.55.001).


Under the previous geography, commentary in Regional Population Growth (cat. no. 3218.0) focussed predominately on LGAs. Under the new geography, commentary, tables and maps are based on the following regions:

      Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)- are medium-sized general purpose areas which aim to represent communities that interact together socially and economically. SA2s are based on officially gazetted suburbs and localities. In urban areas SA2s largely conform to one or more whole suburbs, while in rural areas they generally define the functional zone of a regional centre.
      Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)- are aggregations of whole SA2s and reflect a combination of widely recognised informal regions as well as administrative regions such as state government regions in rural areas and LGAs in urban areas.
      Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)- are made up of whole SA3s and are designed to reflect labour markets. In rural areas, SA4s generally represent aggregations of small labour markets with socioeconomic connections or similar industry characteristics. Large regional city labour markets are generally defined by a single SA4. Within major metropolitan labour markets SA4s represent sub-labour markets.
      Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs)- are built from whole SA4s and represent a broad socioeconomic definition of each of the eight state and territory capital cities. They contain not only the urban area of the city, but also the surrounding and non-urban areas where much of the population has strong links to the capital city, through for example, commuting to work.

To assist users in the transition to the new geography, a set of historical population estimates based on the ASGS is included in this issue. Estimates have been provided at the SA2 level annually back to 1991, the SA3 and SA4 levels back to 1981, and the GCCSA level back to 1971. Feedback on these historical estimates can be emailed to regional.population@abs.gov.au.