1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2001-02  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/10/2002   
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Contents >> Section 4 - ABS Outputs >> Chapter 7 - Population and Social Statistics Output - Review of Components

The remainder of this Chapter reviews the activities and achievements of each component of the Population and Social Statistics program during 2001-02.


The census component develops and conducts the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The results are used to revise population estimates for each of the states and territories, and to provide detailed statistics on the population and its housing within small geographic areas and for small groups within the population. These statistics are used for electoral purposes, for the distribution of government funds, and for a variety of planning, administration and policy activities of government, business and other users.

The 14th national Census of Population and Housing was conducted on 7 August 2001. Detailed final results of the 2001 Census were released on 17 June 2002, only 10 months following the collection phase, and at least one month earlier than for any previous Census.

Within that context, key achievements during the year included:

  • highly successful public relations campaigns for the collection and subsequent release of information that resulted in a high level of public cooperation, media and community awareness and access;
  • successful recruitment of over 40,000 staff to deliver Census forms to, and then collect from, over 7.8 million households;
  • introduction of new technologies during the collection, processing and dissemination phases, in particular the use of intelligent character recognition and automated coding technologies;
  • implementation of continuous improvement strategies to ensure data quality; and
  • a significant increase in the range of Census products available from the ABS web site free of charge.

Work has commenced on the development of the 2006 Census, leveraging off our experiences during the development and conduct of the 2001 Census. It is anticipated that some data will be collected via the Internet. We will work closely with several other national statistical agencies to assist us with the development of effective procedures in time for the next Census.


The demography component produces estimates of the population by age, sex, country of birth, Indigenous status, registered marital status, geographical distribution and estimates of families and households. Projections of the population, families and households, according to specified demographic assumptions, are published on a regular basis and produced for individual clients. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures, and internal migration.

Achievements during the year included:
  • working closely with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to recover the delay in processing of passenger cards from August 2000 onwards, with a focus on July to December 2001, for use in preparing population estimates pursuant to the requirements of A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Act 1999. Final statistics based on passenger cards for July 2001 to March 2002 were released in quarterly issues of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0);

the conduct, processing and analysis of the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing Post Enumeration Survey to evaluate the quality of the 2001 Census results;
  • compilation of revised state, territory and national Estimated Resident Populations from September quarter 1996 to December quarter 2001 based on the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing and released in Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2001 (cat. no. 3101.0);
  • review and consultation on issues related to the proposed inclusion of unauthorised arrivals in ABS Estimated Resident Population statistics - released for consultation in ABS Demography Working Paper 2001/8 - Incorporating Unauthorised Arrivals into Population Estimates;
  • release of ABS Demography Working Paper 2001/6 - Rebasing Australia’s Demographic Estimates Using the 2001 Census of Population and Housing;
  • advice and comments on demographic trends and projections to Treasury and the Intergenerational Report Consultative Group;
  • continued redevelopment of the ABS processing system to facilitate the timely processing of registered birth, death, marriage and divorce data, and provide the flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to changing client demand; and
  • increasing the extent of data available electronically to clients through AusStats.

Labour Statistics

The labour component provides information on the composition and characteristics of the labour force; operations of the labour market; labour costs, earnings and other conditions of employment; and issues relating to education and training.

A senior officer is outposted to the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), in recognition of their needs for labour market and education statistics, and the importance of facilitating their access to, and understanding of, these statistics.

  • Labour market information

Labour force statistics are collected in a monthly survey of households. These statistics provide timely estimates of employment and unemployment, together with basic demographic data, enabling various characteristics of the employed and unemployed to be analysed. In addition, supplementary surveys are run in conjunction with the labour force survey to collect more detailed data on specific labour market issues.

Topics covered by supplementary surveys in 2001–02 included job search experience of unemployed persons, retrenchment and redundancy, multiple job holders, employee earnings, employee benefits, trade union membership, persons not in the labour force, underemployment, forms of employment, labour mobility, and education and work.

The component also conducts a range of employer surveys which provide quarterly data on average weekly earnings, job vacancies, and public sector wage and salary earners. The component also produces: biennial data on the distribution and composition of employee earnings, hours paid for, and methods of setting pay; periodic data on employers’ labour costs and training practices; and monthly statistics on industrial disputes.

Achievements during the year included:
  • release of Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (cat. no. 6296.0), which provided a comprehensive array of labour underutilisation measures including two new measures;
  • release of a labour theme page on the ABS web site. The theme page has been designed to provide easier access to the wide range of ABS information about the labour market; and
  • release of a new publication Work-Related Injuries, Australia (cat. no. 6324.0).

National Centre for Education and Training Statistics

Statistics on schools, students and staff are compiled by the ABS from collections conducted in cooperation with the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). For government schools, the data are collected initially by state and territory education departments; for non-government schools, the data are initially collected by DEST. Statistics on educational attainment, participation in education, and transition from education to work, are produced from regular household surveys and from the Census of Population and Housing.

The Centre also has a major role in statistical leadership and coordination across all sectors of education and training, and is represented on each sector’s peak statistical discussion forum.

Achievements during the year included:
  • development of an Occasional Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia - A Framework for Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4213.0) to be released in early 2002-03;
  • release of Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0). This classification has been developed for use in the collection, storage and dissemination of statistical and administrative data relating to educational activity in Australia;
  • publication of Education and Training Experience, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 6278.0); and
  • on behalf of the MCEETYA taskforce, completion of a major study into the feasibility of including questions on school enrolment forms to enable the derivation of information about socioeconomic status, socioeconomic disadvantage, and language background other than English.

Social Conditions Statistics

The social conditions statistics component provides information about the social wellbeing of Australia’s population, within a framework of areas of social concern and population groups at risk of disadvantage. This includes statistics relating to the housing, economic and general social wellbeing of the population as well as for subgroups such as Indigenous Australians, women, children, youth, older people, social security beneficiaries, people living in rural and regional areas, and people whose first language is not English.

The component produces statistics from a range of social surveys in the areas of housing, income, superannuation and household expenditure. Reports are also produced, drawing widely on ABS and other data, to address a range of contemporary social issues and to monitor changes in Australian social conditions over time.

Achievements during the year included:
  • a series of seminars for external clients to look more closely at the analyses and issues in the eighth edition of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0);
  • publication of the ninth edition of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0), and its concurrent release on the ABS web site;
  • publication of Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics (cat. no. 4160.0), which describes the conceptual frameworks underpinning ABS work in social statistics;
  • publication of Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income, Australia (cat. no. 6537.0);
  • publication of Superannuation: Coverage and Financial Characteristics, Australia (cat. no. 6360.0);
  • completion of the development and field collection phases of the 2002 General Social Survey, which focused on different aspects of personal and family wellbeing; and
  • contribution as a member of a small international expert group to review, under the auspices of the International Labour Office, the statistical measurement of household income and expenditure.

National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics

The National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics has responsibility for national leadership in the production and dissemination of statistics about Australia’s Indigenous population. The Centre works closely with other areas of the ABS, and with a wide range of external agencies, to provide expertise on these statistics and advice on related statistical issues. It coordinates initiatives to improve the quality, use and availability of Indigenous data from a range of sources, and assists Indigenous organisations to improve their capacity to use statistics effectively.

Achievements during the year included:
  • completion of the field collection for the 2001 Indigenous Supplement to the National Health Survey, collecting information on: long-term medical conditions; recent injuries; visits to hospitals; consultations with health professionals; use of medications; immunisation status; health-related aspects of lifestyle; and for women aged 18 years and over, information on women’s health issues such as breast and cervical cancer screening and the use of contraception;
  • publication of Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 4710.0) and related products and services;
  • publication of Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 (cat. no. 4705.0);
  • publication of The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2001 (cat. no. 4704.0);
  • publication of a summary of publications 4704.0 and 4705.0 for returning information in an appropriate manner back to Indigenous communities;
  • preparation of the 2000 national summary from the jurisdictional reports, against the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance indicators. The summary was commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, and compiled on behalf of the National Health Information Management Group;
  • preparation of the draft 2001 reporting protocols to be presented to the Steering Committee of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Indicators; and
  • completion of the design and development for the 2002 Indigenous Social Survey, collecting information across a range of areas of social concern for Indigenous Australians so that relationships across different aspects of personal and family wellbeing can be explored and information collected in the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey can be updated.

Health and Community Statistics

This component is responsible for social analysis and for providing information on health, family and the community. It is also responsible for developing and promoting standard statistical concepts, definitions and classifications in these areas. The component produces reports describing social conditions in Australia, and the social wellbeing of the population and special population groups (such as women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, aged persons and families). The component produces statistics on health (including causes of death, health status and risk factors, use of health services by the population, and statistics about private health establishments), family and community welfare and wellbeing (including statistics about disability, ageing and carers, voluntary work, child care and time use) and population groups such as persons with a disability, aged persons, families, women and children.

Achievements during the year included:
  • conduct of the 2001 National Health Survey (NHS) as the first of a 3-yearly program, under a funding partnership with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing;
  • resolution of threshold issues for the conduct of an Australian Health Measurement Survey (AHMS) in association with the 2004–05 NHS, and the conduct of an initial skirmish for AHMS to provide some indicative data on the achievable response rate. The AHMS is being developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
  • a major contribution to improving analysis of drug-related statistics in Australia by producing and publishing Illicit Drug Use: Sources of Australian Data (cat. no. 4808.0) which provides sources of national data measuring the economic, social, health and crime impact of illicit drug use in Australia, and Information Paper: Drug-Induced Deaths - A Guide to Causes of Death Data (cat. no. 4809.0.55.001), which outlines the definition of drug-induced deaths to be used in ABS output;
  • development of a draft framework to measure social capital and wide user community consultation on the framework;
  • release of Voluntary Work, Australia - Confidentialised Unit Record File on CD-ROM (cat. no. 4441.0.30.001);
  • contribution to international discussions on the development of standards for the measurement of disability; and
  • successful development of the Child Care Survey conducted in June 2002.

National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics

The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics is responsible for producing national statistics about the crime and justice system including reported and unreported crime, criminal court processes and resulting imprisonment in correctional institutions, or alternative arrangements. It coordinates data collection activities within the ABS, and across other public agencies relating to this field, and provides a statistical service which includes provision of statistical information, training of data providers, advice on statistical standards, and development of quality control procedures.

Achievements during the year included:
  • the development of an offender based series for the Recorded Crime collection;
  • the addition of experimental data for educational attainment in the Prisoner Census collection;
  • the addition of experimental data for offence and penalty information for the Higher Criminal Courts collection; and
  • agreement to develop National Information Development Plans in the areas of illicit drugs (with the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence), and sexual assault (with the Office of the Status of Women).

National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics

The National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics has responsibility for the coordination of national statistical activity in the fields of culture and recreation. It provides expertise within the ABS regarding the collection and analysis of data related to culture and recreation, as well as informing external users about culture and recreation statistics, relevant classifications and standards, and appropriate data analysis.

Achievements during the year included:
  • release of the Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications (cat. no. 4902.0) which consists of an industry, product and occupation classification of the culture and leisure sectors. These classifications are expected to be adopted widely by users of culture and leisure data in Australia as a basis for future data collection, dissemination and analysis;
  • the launch of a culture and recreation theme page on the ABS web site;
  • development of a directory of ABS data sources of relevance to the culture and recreation sector which will be made available on the ABS web site;
  • development of a collection of statistics on sport and recreation funding by the Government; and
  • release of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, Australia (cat. no. 6281.0), and Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia (cat. no. 6285.0).


The geography component is responsible for developing and maintaining geographic products and services for use by the ABS and its clients. Activities include the production of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) and associated products, provision of a geographic information system, geocoding, and mapping services to the ABS, and continuing development of the Integrated Regional Data Base - an annual regional statistics CD-ROM product.

Achievements during the year included:
  • release of the 2002 edition of the Integrated Regional Data Base (IRDB), Australia (cat. no. 1353.0), providing clients with access to a broad range of information about Australia’s regions;
  • release of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0), 2001 (Census) edition, incorporating, for the first time, a classification of remoteness;
  • release of digital boundary files for the ASGC 2001 edition including Census Collection Districts;
  • release of digital boundary files for non-ASGC 2001 Census of Population and Housing geographic output units;
  • release, in consolidated form, of digital boundary files for previous editions of the ASGC from 1996 to 2000, providing a continuous time series of digital boundaries which are now available at the cost of transfer pursuant to the Commonwealth Spatial Data Pricing and Access Policy;
  • release of Statistical Geography: Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas, Australia (cat. no. 2905.0) describing 2001 Census of Population and Housing geographic output units such as Postal Areas, Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions and the Australian Indigenous Geographical Classification; and
  • production, for distribution to libraries in electronic format, of 2,700 maps describing the geographic output units of the 2001 Census.

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