1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Introduction


Year Book Australia provides a comprehensive overview of the economic and social conditions of contemporary Australia. It is a statistically-oriented publication with sufficient background information to establish a context for the statistics and to assist in understanding and interpreting them. It also contains descriptive matter dealing with Australia's geography and climate, the environment, government, international relations, defence, education, health and welfare, and crime and justice.

The source of many of the statistics are censuses and surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the national statistical agency which produces the Year Book. However, a great deal of information is contributed by other, predominantly Australian Government, organisations. The official nature of the contributors to the Year Book ensures a high degree of objectivity and reliability in the picture presented of contemporary Australia.

This edition, the 90th, is the latest in a long series of editions extending back to the first in 1908. They provide a valuable source of information on the state of Australia at any point during this period.
Statistics contained in this edition are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au> and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. You can browse tables, time series spreadsheets, data cubes, information papers, associated products and media releases that relate to topics covered in the Year Book, and download the information from the ABS website at no cost.


The contents pages at the beginning of the Year Book provide a guide to the broad subjects contained in each chapter. The index assists in locating information on more specific subjects. A list of articles from the previous ten editions is located at the end of this edition. Selected articles appear on the ABS website.

Tables and graphs in each chapter are numbered and the text is cross-referenced, as necessary, to the table or graph to which it relates.

Yearly periods shown, for example, as 2006, refer to the year ended 31 December 2006; those shown, for example, as 2005–06, refer to the year ended 30 June 2006. Other yearly periods are specifically indicated. The range of years shown in the table headings, for example, 1901 to 2006, indicates the period covered, but does not necessarily imply that each intervening year is included or that the yearly period has remained the same throughout the series.

Values are shown in Australian dollars ($) or cents (c) unless another currency is specified.

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.


While the statistics and descriptive information contained in the Year Book provide a comprehensive overview of Australia, they represent only a relatively small part of the statistics and other information available. The Year Book is aimed primarily at providing a ready and convenient source of reference, both to those familiar and unfamiliar with a particular subject. In other words, because of the range of subjects, and limitations on the size of the Year Book, it aims at breadth rather than depth of information.

For those requiring information in greater depth, the Year Book serves as a directory to more detailed sources, with the source shown for each statistical table, graph and map. Where the ABS is the source, the title and catalogue number of the relevant product are quoted. For other sources, the name of the organisation is shown, and the product title where appropriate. Relevant ABS and other products together with a selection of websites are listed at the end of each chapter.

As well as the information included in this Year Book, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Charges are generally made for such information. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Annual reports of government departments and agencies also provide a valuable source of more detailed information on subjects covered in the Year Book.

For a variety of reasons, it is not possible for all statistics in the Year Book to relate to the latest or same year. Readers wishing to obtain or clarify the latest available statistics should contact the relevant source or website.


Australia has a federal system of government comprising a national government, and the governments of the six states and two territories. In Year Book Australia 2008 the national government is referred to as either 'the Australian Government' or 'the Commonwealth Government'. On occasions the shortened term 'the Commonwealth' or 'the Government' is used when referring to the national government.


The ABS endeavours to keep the balance of the contents of the Year Book in line with the ever-changing nature of the nation. For this reason comments on the adequacy and balance of the contents of the Year Book are welcomed and should be directed to the attention of the Year Book coordinator, Customer Services Strategic Branch, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Locked Bag 10, Belconnen ACT 2616.

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