2903.0 - How Australia Takes a Census, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2011   
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A New Geography

For previous Censuses, collection districts (CDs) were used for both collection and dissemination of data. From 2011, the ABS will be replacing the existing Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the Australian Statistical Geographic Standard (ASGS). The move to the new standard will lead to improvements in the quality of small area counts and time series data from the Census.

The ASGS is built up from Mesh Blocks (MBs) and is composed of a hierarchy of geographical units that fulfil all the functionality of the previous ASGC while also providing a more stable classification than the ASGC.

The smallest geographical unit of the ASGS, for which 2011 Census statistics will be published, is the Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1). SA1s are composed of aggregates of Mesh Blocks and are slightly smaller than the average size of a 2006 CD. SA1s aggregate to form higher level units in the main structure of the ASGS. For 2011, statistics requested for user defined regions aggregated from Mesh Blocks will not be available, however the ABS will continue to publish usual resident population and total dwelling counts at the Mesh Block level, as they were for the 2006 Census.

The ASGS will provide either comparable or better statistics for most Census geographies that were previously derived from whole CDs, including local government areas, suburbs, postcodes and electoral divisions. A limited range of time series data will be available at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) to assist users' transition to the ASGS.

Implementation of the ASGS for the 2011 Census is outlined in the Discussion Paper: Census of Population and Housing - ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography (cat. no. 2911.0.55.002).

The following diagram compares the main structures of both the new and old geographies, as well as the number of spatial units at each level

Image showing structure compariasons

Maps of Central Canberra comparing 2006 Collection Districts and 2011 Statistical Areas.

Maps of Central Canberra 2006 and 2011