Census

Every stat tells a story.

Go to the 2021 Census website

Census stories

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Young Australians

Curtin University's UniReady Enabling Program

Thousands of educationally disadvantaged students are now getting a chance at tertiary education, thanks to a specialised ranking system created for a Curtin University enabling program that’s based on Census data.

Curtin University’s UniReady Enabling Program offers another pathway for students who want to go to university but didn’t get the required marks.

The program is bursting with applicants wanting to get their foot in the door to attend university, and with limited places available, applicants are assessed on an equity and needs basis.

While UniReady staff would love to give all applicants a chance, they wanted to prioritise people who may have had limited opportunities.

“We considered a first-in, best-dressed system but realised not everyone has access to online systems or vital application information at the same time.

“We needed to find a more equitable way.”

That’s when the UniReady team came up with the idea of looking at the factors that contribute to educational disadvantage with help from Census data.

Census data coupled with applicant information like location, previous education, family circumstances, migrant or refugee background, internet access and rural or remote living helped the team assess their educational situation.

“With the help of Census data, we now have a more holistic approach to rank students based on their educational situation.

“We can see who may not have been given equal opportunities in the past and give them the best possible chance to pursue a degree.

“We see so many people who want to come to University but can’t see how it’s possible because of circumstances beyond their control or don’t have families that can support them.

“We’re now able to tell students we take that into account when assigning places. That really helps build aspiration and help people feel more confident about their situation.”

Bipolar Australia

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by depression and pronounced mood swings. Bipolar Australia represents 598,000 people affected by bipolar spectrum disorders, and the millions of family members, friends and health professionals who support them.

David Harper, Bipolar Australia’s General Manager for Programs and Research, said Census data helps understand the impact of the disorder and reach people experiencing their first symptoms.

“We know the average onset age for bipolar spectrum disorder is between 18 and 21 years. Census data on population provides the age categorisations we need to calculate the number of young people who are at risk of developing the disorder,” Mr Harper said.

“Targeted messaging about symptoms to people aged 13 to 30, and their families, allows us to work together to start treatment and management earlier.”

Treatment for bipolar disorder typically includes medication, counselling, assistance for families and carers, and access to peer support. With the right assistance, the condition can be managed so the person can be free of symptoms for extended periods.

“Every person who has bipolar can experience recovery, and early intervention ensures people have the support they need as soon as possible,” Mr Harper says.

“Accurate demographic data helps us target at-risk populations with information tailored to age, cultural and linguistic background, and education levels.

“Earlier recognition of symptoms can result in an earlier diagnosis so that people can get the support they need sooner. This can help to stabilise the disorder at lower levels of severity. “We know the average time from onset to diagnosis is nine years. Anything we can do to move people into better care, instead of hospital, during this period will improve outcomes for those with bipolar and their families.”

Bipolar Australia’s Recovery Model of Care uses Census data to understand population segments by age, which informs its requests for funding. Grant applications for new initiatives, such as an online tool to help parents and young people recognise symptoms of bipolar disorder, rely on accurate Census data to support strong cases for funding.

“Everyone in Australia should complete the Census. Your participation helps build accurate demographic data, so organisations like ours can provide the right help, at the right time, to young people who need it,” Mr Harper said.

Indigenous youth advocate for greater participation in the Census

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are leading the conversation about the importance of Indigenous Australians participating in the next Census.

The Census tells the story of who we are as a nation, asking questions about our communities, who we are and where we live. It’s an opportunity for everyone to play a part in helping to plan for the future of their families and communities. Information from the Census helps organisations like local health and education providers to plan the right services in your area.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia has historically been undercounted. This is because some people have not been counted in a household Census form or some households have not been counted at all.

Chenile Chandler, a young Wurundjeri woman of the Kulin Nations and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census Community Engagement Officer is helping to change this. Chenile’s role is to help make sure that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians understand the benefits of completing the Census and are counted.

“There’s plenty of help for our mob to complete the Census, so that everyone participates,” said Chenile.

“We’re here to help make sure that the whole community understands the importance of being counted in the Census.”

There will be Census pop up hubs in shopping malls and other high-traffic areas where anyone can have a chat with Census staff to answer questions and help complete the Census form. Census staff will also work closely with stakeholders and communities to make sure everyone can take part and be counted.

For many younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, this will be the first time they complete the Census.

Garigarra Riley-Mundine, a proud Wiradjuri woman from Dubbo, completed the Census for the first time by herself in 2016 while staying on a university campus away from her family home and Country.

Garigarra has since graduated and now works in the Australian Public Service. She has seen first-hand how Census data has made a difference in her community.

“I see the Census benefit my community through different programs and policies that have helped us with our health centre and community programs for kids,” said Garigarra.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation

SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation in NSW provides housing and support for Aboriginal people, including helping older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘age in place’ in an appropriately modified home. It manages over 230 rental properties in townships from Nowra and down the coast to Wallaga Lake, and across to Queanbeyan, Yass, Young and Goulburn.

This is often a lifeline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing poverty and entrenched disadvantage, as it provides access to affordable, culturally appropriate housing and pathways to other community services and supports.

CEO Kim Sinclair said SEARMS relies extensively on Census data to help determine where community housing is needed for those who can’t access the private rental market. “Factors like unemployment, vulnerable households and mental health impact housing security,” Ms Sinclair said.

“We use Census data to understand the prevalence of these factors to help us provide appropriate housing for Aboriginal people.” According to the 2016 Census, 4.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are aged over 65. This increases to 5.4% in NSW and 6.2% in the Shoalhaven local government area.

“The lifespan for Indigenous Australians is 15 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians. This means aged care packages and modifications need to happen a good 10 to 20 years earlier.”

“We are getting more requests for disability modifications to support people to stay at home and we don’t have the money for these modifications. Census data helps us compile a business case so we can seek funding for ageing-in-place housing.”

Knowing the areas of critical need means SEARMS can better anticipate who needs housing help, and where.

“We encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete the Census because it bolsters our understanding of housing needs and priorities,” Ms Sinclair said.

First Nations Media

First Nations radio services are a well-known and respected source of essential information, news and stories for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Community broadcasters play an important role in keeping their listeners informed in some of the most remote parts of Australia.

First Nations Media Australia uses Census data about communities to help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people informed.

First Nations Media Australia’s Media Operations Manager, Jennifer Nixon, an Amnatyerr, Kaytetye and Alyawarr woman, said they keep an eye on what is changing in regions and communities by keeping up to date with Census data.

“Census data shows where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are and where communities are growing. We then look at whether people in that area have enough media services to keep them informed,” Jennifer said.

Census data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages was critical when broadcasters needed to get COVID-19 health messages out to remote communities.

“Understanding how many mob speak different languages in a region was used to target public health messages to those listeners,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer wants Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete the Census, so First Nations radio services can provide more targeted and relevant information to their listeners across Australia.

“We want to make sure we’re looking after you, and the Census is a way of collecting information about everyone across Australia, all at once.” Jennifer said.

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The 2021 Census will be held on Tuesday 10 August. Census field staff will be in remote communities during July and August to help people complete their Census form.

Information to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is available at www.census.abs.gov.au/indigenous or by phone on 1800 512 441.

Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

Last year, community-controlled organisation, Orange Aboriginal Medical Services (OAMS), opened a purpose-built wellbeing and rehabilitation centre in Orange, NSW. The name of the centre - Walu-win - comes from the Wiradjuri word for ‘healthy’.

Jamie Newman, proud Wiradjuri man and OAMS’ Chief Executive Officer, said they use Census data to understand needs of the local community and help secure further investment from partners. Walu-win’s services include health, housing and employment, which are vital for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to thrive.

OAMS combined Census data with other local data to build a profile of the region, helping it to better understand what was needed in the local community. Despite an uncertain year due to COVID-19, the Walu-Win opened in August 2020. The centre combines holistic and traditional medical practices to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Improving access to health services through Walu-Win, and a more holistic and wellbeing focus is vital to closing the gap. We can’t close the gap without focusing on wellbeing for our people,” Jamie said.

Walu-win’s Manager, Zara Crawford, describes Walu-Win as a hub for a variety of health outcomes.

“We often see clients more than a GP would, which could be about something that is stressing them out socially or emotionally, through to developing exercise and nutritional programs. That’s our day-to-day service and that’s what we mean about being holistic.”

Jamie and Zara believe participation in the Census is an important conversation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities ahead of this year’s count.

“Accurate Census data enables community-controlled organisations to know where our people are situated and what their needs are. This ultimately goes back into generating positive health outcomes for our people,” Jamie said.

“In terms of participating in the Census, if our voices aren’t heard and if we are not recognised, then how do we make change?” Zara said.

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The 2021 Census will be held on Tuesday 10 August. Census field staff will be in remote communities during July and August to help people complete their Census form.

Information to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is available at www.census.abs.gov.au/indigenous or by phone on 1800 512 441.

University of Sydney

University can seem daunting or unachievable for many young people. University of Sydney is using Census data to smooth the pathway to university for new and potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. University of Sydney partners with GO Foundation, an organisation founded by Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, that supports and creates opportunities for Indigenous youth through education.

“The GO Foundation looks at how we can get more young people on campus and experiencing what university is like”, said Mark Heiss, Head of Scholarships at GO Foundation.

“Positive role models share their experiences and raise aspirations for GO Foundation Scholars, showing them different pathways. It’s a good opportunity to demonstrate that university isn’t a scary place. It’s a place where you can be well supported,” Mark added.

Census data plays a pivotal role in connecting communities with campus life. Mark explained that GO Foundation uses Census data to understand where large numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are located. Census data also reveals trends between Indigenous Australians’ completed education levels and employment rates which informs the GO Foundation about career progression.

“We can use that data to highlight the importance of our university scholarships in creating a progression from university into the workforce.

“If we want to be represented, we need to be counted. We spent so long not being counted, so here is an opportunity where we can be,” Mark said.

University of Sydney also partners with the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team to connect young people with university through sport. Tom Evans, Director of the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, said it’s important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth focused on a career in sport to have a ‘plan B’ career option.

“We create an environment where kids coming through sporting communities think of themselves as more than one dimensional in terms of their career options. So if something happens in their lives - for example if they were unable to play sport again - there is a back-up plan that they have been working towards,” Tom said. 

Tom believes that Census data is critical in terms of fostering this engagement and having these yarns.

“We use Census data for all kinds of things, including knowing where to hold events. This then allows us to connect and participate in these discussions at a community level,” Tom said.

Liam Harte, Director at University of Sydney’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Services and Strategy says it’s important that everyone participants in this year’s Census.

"It’s essential that mob participate and stand up and be counted in the Census. Having the data from the Census helps us to develop programs and create opportunities for us all," Liam said.

Professor Kelvin Kong

First Nations surgeon and Worimi man, Professor Kelvin Kong, uses Census data to help him better understand areas of need and target efforts to improve community health across Australia.

As an ear, nose and throat surgeon at the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Professor Kong said Census data is vital for his work.

“Good hearing is essential for our mob, our culture and our way of life. We are the world’s oldest surviving culture with such a rich and vibrant oral history. But we are enduring hearing loss and its consequences for learning and social development in epidemic proportions,” said Professor Kong.

“Census data helps me understand areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live, their ages and other basic demographic information.

“We can combine this with other data to see which areas have better access to hospital treatment, for example, and also see the differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in treatment rates.

“I overlay the Census data with Health Survey data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to understand the health needs of the population in a community.

“This helps us target our efforts to improve health services by facilitating better access to quality care where and when it is needed.”

A particular focus of Professor Kong’s work is ear and hearing health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. An analysis of recent hospital data combined with Census data showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids were 1.2 times more likely than non-Indigenous kids to be hospitalised for ear disease. This was highest in remote and very remote areas. The Menzies Hearing for Learning program was then developed to address this disparity.

Professor Kong said the chronic health conditions question added to this year’s Census will make background research easier.

“This will allow us to develop a more comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to service delivery that is both timely and appropriate for different areas and communities. It will help us know things like how many people have diabetes, asthma, heart disease, reduced kidney function and other chronic conditions, and where to establish or boost services.

“Our communities rarely have an opportunity to provide feedback on health services so, I encourage all our mob to make sure they are included in this year’s Census. It’s the best way to let policy makers know what services are needed, and where, to help us grow and be healthy,” Professor Kong said.

Meriam Cultural Group

Ofa Mabo is a proud Meriam woman from Murray Island in the Torres Strait. She is a coordinator for the renowned cultural group Eip Karem Beizam, whose mission is to ensure Meriam people and culture survives for generations to come.

The group uses Census data about Torres Strait Islander languages and changes in population demographics to support them with their mission.

Eip Karem Beizam uses Census data in grant applications to secure funding to run cultural programs and language workshops for Meriam people living away from Murray Island. 

Ofa is encouraging other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural groups to use Census data for programs to keep Indigenous languages and cultures alive.

“Other cultural groups can use Census data to identify opportunities to build a better tomorrow,” Ofa said.

Meet Kalkadoon man, Warren King - Census Engagement Manager

Warren King is a proud Kalkadoon man, and Census Engagement Manager for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the Mount Isa and Gulf Regions. He’s passionate about helping his community and region be Census-ready, and understand the importance of being counted. 


“It’s important for our mob to complete the Census. We need to be counted so our stories can be told and heard,” Warren said. 


“The Census is about making sure we get an accurate count of our communities. It’s about having the right numbers to address local needs - from transport in remote areas to health clinics and mums and bubs’ programs.” 


Warren wants more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply for remote Census jobs as part of this years’ Census. The job involves supporting local communities to understand the Census and to complete their forms. Employing local staff who know and understand their community and the languages they speak is key to these roles. 


“Who better to know our communities, our towns and our regions, than our own people from those same communities,” Warren said.


A big part of the role is helping people understand why completing the Census is important, and addressing myths around what Census data is used for.


Warren and other Census staff also want their communities to know that personal information in the Census isn’t shared with anyone – including government agencies. 


Remote Census staff will be in communities and help people fill in Census forms throughout July and August 2021. 


Field staff will be supported by regional Census Engagement Managers like Warren. 


“I love the fact I am working with passionate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Census team members who have a common goal, and that is to get an accurate count of every person and every home in Australia,” said Warren. 


“What I enjoy most about working on the Census is being able to engage with our mob one-on-one, in groups and in communities, and to hear their views.”


Speak to the Census people in your remote community in July and August and join the team . There are also jobs in urban and regional areas you can apply now at www.census.abs.gov.au/careers 

Coen Bus Service

The Coen Regional Aboriginal Corporation (CRAC) is an Aboriginal, locally run organisation that keeps the remote community of Coen connected and on the move. 

The organisation runs social and community programs – from bingo nights and health challenges, to family respite and men’s/women’s groups.

Census data highlighted many people in Coen didn’t have a registered motor vehicle. Combined with staff local knowledge and understanding of their community, CRAC saw a lack of transport was preventing people from participating in programs, and purchased a bus to provide transport across the community. 

The Coen bus is keeping the community connected by helping more people get to their programs. It supports travel to external community events, which are important to engage the local community and support participation in programs available in the wider region. 

“Having a bus within a remote community is a huge asset,” Lucretia Huen, General Manager at CRAC said. 

“While most households have a vehicle, they don’t always have enough space to accommodate larger families. CRAC wanted to make sure that everyone could still attend the community programs and workshops.”

CRAC also hosts important events such as Survival March, Youth Day, and NAIDOC events. 

“Census data has helped us plan programs to get our local people involved. The bus has helped the community to move around, and the data has helped our community to move forward.” said Lucretia. 

Families

ACT Policing

ACT Policing works to keep people safe and ensure police are where they are needed. Officers work closely with community agencies to protect people most at-risk, whether they be families, young people or the elderly.

Detective Acting Superintendent Matt Craft of ACT Policing says Census data gives them valuable information to know who may be at risk and decide where police and other community services are needed the most. “Census data helps us get a snapshot of what the ACT community looks like so we can best direct our policing services,” said Mr Craft.

Using Census data, ACT Policing gets insights on population growth in suburbs and known pockets of vulnerability. This evidence recently assisted in securing four years of funding from the ACT Government to improve the public’s safety and help make the police a trusted face in the community through local partnerships, programs and events.

“In the ACT, we’re all working together across government and with locals to support people in particularly vulnerable situations. The ideal is to prevent a crime occurring,” said Mr Craft.

“We use Census data to capture demographics on specific suburbs. For example, 20 years ago the south of Canberra was a big growth area for young families and single parents, and we saw an increase in family violence at that time.”

Levels of unemployment, poverty, or family composition provide intelligence on potential risk to families. It helps the police manage their stations and work with community organisations helping those facing violent or dire situations.

“As the population in Tuggeranong has aged, we’ve since seen a shift in that need to Gungahlin in line with population growth in the north of Canberra.

"The 2016 Census statistics helped anticipate a shift in population age in the southern and northern suburbs of Canberra, with data showing 56.4% of Gungahlin’s population were families with children, compared to 48% in Tuggeranong.

“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce alcohol fuelled violence, prevent crime and avert incarceration rates,” said Mr Craft.

“Using Census data helps us to foresee potential problems, and work with mental health clinicians and other emergency teams early, with the aim to steer people into help rather than the justice system. This delivers a much better outcome for everyone,” Mr Craft said.

Playgroup Australia

Playgroup Australia has been connecting babies, toddlers and parents through play, learning and friendship for half a century. Each week, Playgroup Australia estimates around 150,000 parents and caregivers organise around 7,500 gatherings in churches, parks, public spaces and community halls all around Australia.

Playgroup Australia CEO Fiona May said the organisation uses Census data to help plan where a playgroup would be beneficial to local families. It produces heat maps using the number of babies, their ages, locations, religion, education and health.

“Census data helps us understand the different factors that affect families, such as income and work commitments, living situation, cultural background, religion and education,” Ms May said.

“The 2016 Census data showed us that more families are juggling part-time work with care, playgroup, domestic duties and other activities in the home.
Because they are busy, we have to offer the right playgroups in the right places to support as many children as possible.

Understanding family and community situations across the nation allows Playgroup Australia to provide the proper service for the appropriate area or group of people including Inclusive and Ageless Play initiatives.

“Playgroups have become more diverse and inclusive and connect mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers, same-sex couple families, multicultural and other language groups and children with disabilities. We even have groups for families with shared religious beliefs or educational philosophies.”

“We need every family to complete the Census. It helps Playgroup Australia provide opportunities to achieve our vision of creating a village through play and connect families with young children across the country.”

People experiencing homelessness

Orange Sky Australia

Orange Sky Australia supports people experiencing homelessness. They use Census data to inform where the biggest need for their services are, so they can best support the community with access to free mobile laundry services, warm showers and genuine conversation.

In Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. That means 116,000 people across the country are homeless every night, including those sleeping on the streets.

Orange Sky Communications and Brand Manager, Ben Knight said, “Census data helps us to know where our services are needed in urban and remote areas. It helps us provide important services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people”.

Nev, an Orange Sky worker, said, “I started out volunteering with Orange Sky when I was homeless and eventually, years later, I became employed and I've been employed for a couple of years now”.

Orange Sky's mission is to positively connect communities. Every day during their own shifts, employees and volunteers on the service are connecting with each other and with friends on the street.

Ben explained that every Orange Sky van has six orange chairs that come out, and volunteers sit down and have genuine conversations with their friends who come to use the service.

“I found it really important to have that weekly conversation, because I wouldn't have many conversations otherwise. It is quite lonely, you're just stuck with your own thoughts,” Nev said.

“It's very important for us to understand the needs of each location. The Census data helps us understand how many people may be experiencing homelessness and where they are. Knowing the location helps us plan where to run our shifts,” Ben said.

“We want to be able to provide a shift where there are the most people experiencing homelessness and can best benefit from the service.”

Orange Sky is now moving out to a platform that will be able to connect all the services they provide across Australia. This will enable them to track their data and understand what impact they're making in the community.

“The 2016 Census found that 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness and the 2021 Census data will help us to continue targeting the right areas,” Ben said.

Hands Across Canberra

Hands Across Canberra raises money and directs it to community organisations to help disadvantaged groups and people in crisis.

CEO Peter Gordon says 2016 Census data was instrumental to its Vital Signs community check-up report, which revealed the needs of disadvantaged people in the community. 

“We support 300 organisations and 100 community projects,” said Mr Gordon.

“Since 2011 we have distributed $3 million to community projects. To ensure our grants have an impact, we need to prioritise funding for where it is needed most to address the critical needs in the community.”

2016 Census data showed areas of Canberra with educational disadvantage and youth unemployment at 10%. This group is at a higher risk of mental health issues and suicide.

Hands Across Canberra granted $25,000 to Canberra’s Police Community Youth Club (PCYC) for an engagement program offering activities and recreation for at-risk young boys living on the edges of South Tuggeranong and West Belconnen.

“It’s a program to keep kids off the street and out of trouble,” explained Mr Gordon.

“PCYC has already changed the lives of 30 boys through great experiences and positive connections, and 200 boys are on the waiting list to join.

“The not-for-profit sector plays an immense role in addressing community need and finding solutions to our toughest problems,” Mr Gordon said.

“Census data and the Vital Signs report helps make connections between real issues and trends in different areas, so funding can focus on immediate need as well as prevention.”

Mr Gordon explains that it is important for everyone to complete the Census because to make a difference in communities, funding decisions must be based on credible data.

“We could not have produced such a comprehensive and useful Vital Signs report if not for Census data. It allowed us to make well informed decisions for grant rounds in 2018 and 2019, and the data will influence granting decisions for years to come.”

HYPA Housing

Since the 1950s, not-for-profit organisation SYC has been providing housing, education, employment and youth services in South Australia. Over the past 12 years, SYC has expanded its reach to Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Its aim is to empower people to overcome disadvantage and create a life with independence, personal wellbeing and opportunity.

SYC’s Helping Young People Achieve (HYPA) Housing service offers safe and affordable mid-term housing for people aged 17 to 25 who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This helps young people work towards independent housing and permanently exit homelessness.

HYPA Housing uses a wide range of Census data to get a picture of housing, learning, working, justice and disability.

Kirsten Sandstrom from HYPA Housing said the Census reflects the broad spectrum of people in Australia and their characteristics.

“Our vision is to support all Australian people, irrespective of their background, location, ability, ethnicity, gender or age,” Ms Sandstrom said.

“It’s important to raise awareness of community circumstances. The Census does this every five years.

“Youth homelessness is notoriously under reported. Without Census data, it would be even more challenging to provide safe and affordable housing to young people in vulnerable sleeping and accommodation situations.

“The data collected in the Census drives political decision making about policy, which in turn drives funding.

“We encourage young people to complete their Census form in such a way that truthfully records their housing status. This provides the evidence organisations like ours need to provide services, and to evaluate and redesign if necessary,” Ms Sandstrom said.

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Welcoming Australia

Welcoming Australia’s initiatives help connect refugees, people seeking asylum and recently arrived migrants with their local communities and provide much needed support.

Aleem Ali, CEO of Welcoming Australia says it uses Census data to understand changes in cultural and linguistic diversity, migration, population growth, housing, ageing, and to identify communities that may benefit from its services.

One initiative is Welcoming Cities, a national network of local councils that represents around 30% of the Australian population.

“We work together to help people feel welcomed across all regions in our country,” Mr Ali said.

“The size and multicultural diversity of populations differ greatly. There are about 6,500 people spread across 152,000 kms in the southern part of South West Queensland alone. We used Census data to respond to specific challenges in each area.”

The 2016 Census data showed that nearly two-thirds of permanent migrants who lived in a regional or remote area of Australia are aged between 20 and 49 years. It’s so important for these people and their young families to connect with their local communities so they can quickly settle, contribute and thrive.

A collaboration between Welcoming Cities, the Queensland Government and Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre has uncovered how local communities are building this connection. In Balonne Shire, Welcoming Dinners connects established residents with new migrants and creates a sense of belonging and community.

“Census data has been instrumental in providing local insight to ensure people are accessing the best possible migration and settlement support.”

It also formed the basis of Welcoming Cities’ Guidelines for Regional Growth, distributed to all local councils in Queensland. “

Census data provides an evidence-based approach for decision making which, combined with local council knowledge, gives a holistic view to confirm or challenge assumptions about what migrants need to settle well into a new country,” said Mr Ali.

“It’s also used to inform the councils strategies so community groups, employers and service providers can attract and support migrants and refugees to thrive in their communities.”

Crime Stoppers Australia

Crime Stoppers is Australia’s most trusted national information receiving service for people wanting to anonymously share what they know about unsolved crimes and suspicious activity.

National Chair, Diana Forrester, says Australians contact Crime Stoppers every two minutes. The information they share results in police making about 100 apprehensions weekly nationwide.

“Our efforts encourage people to share information anonymously, particularly about cross-border crimes such as illicit drug manufacture, importation and distribution, wanted fugitives and illegal firearms,” Ms Forrester said.

Census data helps Crime Stoppers see how communities across Australia change over time to develop targeted campaigns that create awareness and build trust in the service.

In 2018, Crime Stoppers used Census data to develop a campaign to support National Crime Stoppers Day with ‘Crime is Crime in any language'. The campaign included supporting materials in a range of languages.

“Census data reported that only two-thirds of the Australian population were born in Australia. Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians had either been born overseas or one or both parents had been born overseas.” The data also showed that one in five Australians speak a language other than English at home.

"Communicating our message in a particular language, such as Mandarin or Arabic, helps to educate more people about the benefits of Crime Stoppers. We want them to know when to share information with us, the types of information that is most valuable, and reinforce that they can do it anonymously,” said Ms Forrester.

“We also want people to communicate with us in the language they feel is most comfortable for them. “Using Census data to communicate appropriately with all members of the community helps to reaffirm that Crime Stoppers is a service that is open and inclusive, regardless of their culture or language,” said Ms Forrester.

Casey Cardinia Public Libraries

The City of Casey is one of Victoria’s largest and fastest growing areas. Casey Cardinia Libraries, with seven branches and a popular mobile library, provides services to the diverse community of more than 420,000 people. From Hampton Park right through to Pakenham, the libraries offer meeting places where people gather, share news and make connections. Library Information Services Coordinator, Michelle McLean, said they use Census data to help identify language needs in the local community.

“In 2016, Census data for the local government area showed a dramatic increase in Punjabi speakers,” said Mrs McLean. “The data showed 6,695 people stated they spoke Punjabi at home compared to 2,531 people in 2011.”

Given the number of Punjabi speakers moving into the local Cranbourne area, the team used this data, along with survey information, to source Punjabi books and materials.

“We invited Punjabi speaking locals to an event so they could recommend items from the sample collection that interested them,” said Mrs McLean. A new language collection was then launched and continues to be used by this growing community.

“We use Census data about languages people speak at home to tell us which communities may benefit from library services,” said Beth Luppino, General Manager Customer Experience.

“We look at the top four or five languages spoken in our communities, as well as emerging ones.” The library team noticed a trend in the use of the less common Oromo language, an Afroasiatic dialect.

“While it’s only a small number of library users, we added to our bilingual book collection and sourced other language support materials to cater for this group,” said Ms Luppino.

“Census data helps us form a picture of the community,” said Ms Luppino.

“It helps tell us who our audience is so we can plan relevant activities, programs and collections. It also encourages people who are newly arrived in Australia to get a free library membership.”

Melrose Park Football Club

In North West Sydney, the ‘world game’ of football (soccer) is bringing people together and helping new migrants and refugees adjust to the local community and Australian culture.

The non-profit Melrose Park Football Club is committed to reflecting the spirit in which football is played across the globe – participation regardless of financial circumstances and transcending language and cultural barriers.

The Club uses Census regional population data to better understand the profile and make-up of the local population in the Melrose Park, Ermington and Ryde communities.

Census data underpinned its business model and business case by highlighting the need for a club
to focus on social inclusion in grassroots football.

Club President Julie Crane said the aim is to increase participation of families from diverse backgrounds in sports and community activities, in turn positively contributing to the community’s social dynamic. Census data is used to help achieve this.

“We specifically target migrants and refugee families, members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, low socio-economic and vulnerable families, girls and women, as well as anyone not currently participating in sports or other local activities,” Ms Crane said.

The Club also used Census data in a grant submission to Ryde Council for its Street Football World Cup Tournament and Intercultural Community Festival held each November.

“The Tournament encourages people who do not currently play sports to participate as a player, coach, manager or supporter, while the Festival brings together and celebrates the region’s many different cultural and language groups,” Ms Crane said.

“Around the Tournament and Festival, community groups also promote and share their culture through market stalls, food and music.

“Migrant families interact in positive ways with each other and the broader community, creating cross-cultural friendships, increasing awareness and understanding of each other, and breaking down social barriers.”

“Census data is really important for us to understand the make-up of our community. It helps us tailor our programs to different groups and our communications for different languages,” she said.

Australian Migrant Resource Centre

The Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) in Naracoorte supports people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to settle into their new communities.

This support empowers new arrivals to positively contribute to South Australia’s society, culture, economy and environment.

Multicultural Community Engagement Manager, Frances Kirby, said Census data helps provide insights into the Naracoorte region, which has become a popular destination for migrants in South Australia.

“With Census information about our region, we can see employment, income, housing, family composition and the economic contributions migrants make to our area,” Ms Kirby said.

The AMRC is focused on community development and uses Census data to support funding applications.

Ms Kirby has recently used Census data to successfully apply for a grant to develop conversational English classes for newly settled women from Afghanistan.

“The mothers of the children that attend school here need to be able to speak English in order to help their children progress their education,” Ms Kirby said.

“Speaking English is critical for having that sense of health and wellbeing by being part of the wider community, as well as their own cultural community.

“Female participants in our classes gain English skills and confidence to attain drivers’ licences and undergo TAFE courses,” Ms Kirby said.

The AMRC also publicises a network of employers and helps clients prepare for job opportunities. Job agencies often refer other clients to attend the English classes.

Ms Kirby said Census data was a great tool to share with the wider community.

“We provide Census data to a range of community organisations, including the Mayor, local council, the school and local businesses,” Ms Kirby said.

“Our Mayor has most recently used the Census data to showcase the positive impact migration has had into regional and rural areas.

“Looking at the Census data since the year 2000, you can see the growth in the region of the 18 to 40 year old population, as well as the economic and social contribution our multicultural population is bringing to the community.

“Data collected through the Census on location, ancestry, religion, languages spoken at home, education and employment ensure organisations like AMRC can continue its vital work for the community,” Ms Kirby said.

Hindu Council of Australia

The Hindu Council’s Diwali and Holi festivals are highly anticipated multicultural events held in Australia each year. The well-loved festivals provide an opportunity for the Hindu community to celebrate together and share everything that is loved about Indian culture and tradition with the broader community.

National President, Prakash Mehta, said Census data helps them understand changes in the Hindu and wider Indian community. They use Census data on religion, languages and country of birth to help support and celebrate the growing Hindu communities in Australia.

“In our earlier days, the Hindu Council was only active in three major cities. Census data has helped us to identify the need to provide services in all major cities as well as rural areas to meet the needs of Hindu communities across Australia,” said Mr Mehta.

“We use Census data to identify where we should hold our events, which are well attended by our community each year. They provide an opportunity for all Indians to come together and celebrate.”  

As a result of COVID-19, many large events have been impacted across Australia. This has placed greater importance on working with stakeholders to deliver alternative programs and smaller scale events.

The 2016 Census revealed 455,388 Indians living in Australia, a growth of 54% from the previous Census. Hinduism is also the fastest growing religion in Australia.

“Census data helps us to ensure support and services are focused in the right areas,” Mr Mehta said.

“It’s vitally important that everyone remembers to fill in the Census this August. We need accurate, updated data on the Indian community, which can help us design the right programs for Hindus in Australia.” 

Older Australians

Council on the Ageing

Owning your own home is the great Australian dream and particularly important in the later years of life for overall stability, security and greater financial independence.

While historically retirees have owned their own home, Census data has shown the rate of homeownership among retirees is falling.

The peak body for older Australians, Council on the Ageing (COTA) conducted its State of the (Older) Nation Survey and findings supported the 2016 Census data on homeownership. The survey showed a growing trend for the 50-65 age group to still have mortgage debt. There was also an increase in the number of older renters.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates says this has implications on retirement income policies for older Australians.

“Of the people we spoke to, 68% thought their mortgage would be paid off in less than 10 years,” Mr Yates said. “However, 15% of mortgagees said they would never pay off their mortgage in this time. About 5.2% of others said it would take longer than 20 years to settle their debt.

“Census data also showed us the number of older people renting has risen from 18% to 25% over the past 20 years.

“For this study, we looked at how a person’s job, income and housing security work together to determine a person’s economic security in later life. Our findings revealed that many people are doubly disadvantaged by a lack of secure housing and adequate income as they age.”
COTA used key data from the 2016 Census to support its findings like demographics, family make-up, income and housing situation.

“With Australia’s aging population we know the number of older Australians aged 65 and over is projected to increase significantly over coming years,” Mr Yates said.

“The important information gleaned from the Census is used to liaise with governments to highlight and address these concerns. COTA used Census data in a proposal to government that highlighted the link between the pension and homeownership.

“It’s critical that people take part in the Census so decision-makers get as accurate as possible picture of the nature, distribution and diversity of our population and its needs.

“The future of this country depends on this information,” Mr Yates said.

Mitcham Community House

Mitcham Community House in Melbourne provides educational classes, training and social activities for its diverse community.

Mitcham Community House Manager, Ann Kean said Census data helps plan relevant community support and activities.

“The 2016 Census data showed an increase in parents, many with a Chinese background,” Ms Kean said.

“To cater for our changing community, we started a playgroup with a Mandarin and Cantonese speaking facilitator. Along with a mums and bubs group, a pram walking group and a music and movement class for pre-schoolers.”

Ms Kean says the 2016 Census data also highlighted that the community had a large percentage of seniors and 25% of its population were lone households.

“We introduced a new knitting group that is now one of our most popular activities. The group meets every Monday afternoon. It’s great to see people coming together, laughing, and enjoying the experience.

“Without Census, we would be less informed about what is happening in Mitcham, and potentially exclude people who need us most.

“Completing the Census is so important. The data is a vital planning tool that allows us to meet community needs.”

Bass Valley Community Group

Beautiful beaches, a relaxed lifestyle and a strong sense of community are just some of the many reasons the residents of Bass Valley in rural Victoria choose to call it home.

More than a quarter of people who live in Bass Valley are aged over 65, compared to 15% for the rest of Victoria.

Bass Valley Community Group Manager, Roderick McIvor, said Census data helps to inform services for the local community. “We look at Census data all the time because it helps us stay on course,” Mr McIvor said.

“Occasionally people might ask if we should be doing something else, like focusing on youth. From the Census, we know that older people form our largest demographic and really need our help.

“We can clearly see we have a large ageing population scattered across the Valley, including in some quite isolated locations. This isolation can put older people at risk of being lonely, and it can be hard to do simple things like shopping, social activities and meeting friends.

“We run a community bus to take passengers into town, out for lunch or to social activities like fishing and karaoke. The Community Group also runs events and clubs that give older people the chance to get together.”

By using Census data such as the socio-economic status, age and health profile of his community, Mr McIvor has been able to obtain grants to support his clients. Some of the grants have funded upgrading the op shop and starting a computer club.

“Census data allows us to understand what our community looks like, and working together we can determine where our volunteer services are needed most,” Mr McIvor said.

“The data gives us an insightful base to start our thinking. That’s why it's so important for people to fill out the Census. It’s essential to keep community services like ours running.”

Health

Cancer Council ACT

Striving to achieve its vision of a cancer-free future, Cancer Council ACT uses Census data to target the right demographic groups with education and prevention initiatives.

Cancer Council ACT provides a variety of services for people in the region affected by cancer. This includes advocacy, local cancer research funding, access to its information and support phone line, and prevention programs like SunSmart.

The SunSmart program uses age, education and ancestry data from the Census to target settings where it can have the most impact on reducing future skin cancer rates in Canberra. This includes places like childcare centres, schools and workplaces.

Cancer Council ACT Chief Executive Officer Sandra Turner said skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. At least two in three people are diagnosed before the age of 75.

“While anyone can develop a skin cancer, including a deadly melanoma, and everyone needs sun protection, the risk appears to be significantly higher among certain demographic groups,” Ms Turner said.

“Census age and ancestry data offers us a better understanding of the age breakdown and ancestry of the Canberra population so we can tailor our SunSmart Program.

“2016 Census data tells us there are more than 90,000 Canberrans aged 55 plus. We know many have had years of sun exposure, making them very susceptible to UV-related skin damage and skin cancer, including melanoma.

“Early detection is so important and skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer. 

“We need to reach a large cohort of Canberrans to share a very simple but important early cancer detection public health message.”

Similarly, Ms Turner said the SunSmart Early Childhood and School Programs are critical components in early intervention efforts to reduce future skin cancer rates in the ACT.

“According to the 2016 Census, roughly one in five Canberrans are aged under 14 years, and there were approximately 38,500 children attending a pre-school or primary school every day in the ACT.

“Preventing skin cancer starts early in life. By rolling out our early intervention and detection awareness to early childhood services and primary schools, 38,500 young Canberrans are being SunSmart at least five days a week from about the age of one to 12 years. This significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer.

“The Census gives us a snapshot every five years to help plan future programs, assess needs, and ensure we work with the right people, in the right places, at the right time,” she said.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Census data will answer the question “How many veterans live in Australia?”

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) supports around 210,000 veterans and their 100,000 dependants.

However, there is currently no comprehensive data on the total number of veterans living in Australia. Estimates indicate this may be as many as 630,000 people.

For the first time, the 2021 Census will include a question regarding service in the defence forces. This will give DVA more accurate information on how many veterans live in Australia.

Knowing this will inform the services and support provided to veterans and their families.

Census data will help to better target training and information about caring for veterans to health care professionals

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is one of the largest purchasers of healthcare services in Australia.

Census data will assist DVA to plan and cost future services to ensure veterans and their families are provided with the right services, when and where they are needed.

For example, Census data will help inform the location of training for GPs, psychiatrists and psychologists on awareness and evidence-based treatment of military trauma.

Knowing the geographic spread of veterans will assist DVA to better understand their needs, and to ensure effective treatments are provided in a more targeted and efficient manner.

Census data will lead to improved service delivery to veterans and their families

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are many ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) members living in remote areas of Australia.

Census data will support the development of a demographic profile of veterans and their families by region and state for use by organisations such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Returned & Service League of Australia and other ex-service organisations. 

This will help them provide welfare and support services that meet the needs of both serving and ex-serving members of the ADF and their families.

Public Health Information Development Unit 

The Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU), based at Torrens University, brings together a range of data sources to improve population health outcomes in Australia.

Census data helps PHIDU to track inequalities in our nation’s health and wellbeing by looking at factors like income, education, where we live and family structures.  

PHIDU Director, Professor John Glover said Census data is layered with other rich information sources like hospital visits, breast and cervical screening, education, family and housing data. It helps paint a more detailed picture of health in our communities and as a nation.

By mapping the data for communities across Australia, health authorities gain rich information to help better target their programs.

“GPs, mental health professionals, Aboriginal communities, primary health networks, community organisations and governments rely on our data to address a range of health conditions,” Professor Glover said.

Victoria University and Brimbank City Council have used Census and PHIDU data since 2013. They have collaborated to identify approaches that address risk factors for poor health, education and social disadvantage affecting population sub-groups and geographic areas within Brimbank.

As a result, Brimbank City Council has committed $65 million to the redevelopment of an older style leisure centre to provide a health and wellbeing hub for the community. The hub will include co-located health, education and social services alongside leisure facilities

The data also informs the Growing Brimbank program. This aims to tackle issues of disadvantage in health and education that affect residents of the area.

“Disadvantage isn’t just related to health but also the levels of education in the community. We collaborate with GPs, for example, to educate people on things like patches and medications,” Professor Glover said.

“We want to provide an accurate picture of the social determinants of health at a small geographical area level, and the Census provides us with a large part of the data we use.

“We strive to provide reports that are as accurate as possible to help health authorities. We need everyone to complete the Census, so we can provide these insights.”

Queensland Health

For the Queensland Department of Health, accurate population data from the Census is critical to promoting and protecting the health of local communities.

In Central Queensland, investigating and mitigating disease outbreaks, and maintaining and improving immunisation coverage, are two important aspects for the Public Health Unit.

It uses Census data to understand the population, including the proportion of people who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, South Sea Islander, or are from migrant backgrounds.

It also uses Census data to calculate how many people have a disability or are in groups known to have poorer than average health. It also analyses disease incidences and prevalence rates to inform preventative action.

Public Health Physician Dr Gulam Khandaker said this information enables Department of Health to better target its services and estimate resources required to deliver them.

“We rely heavily on Census data to estimate the number of people in the local catchment with certain demographic characteristics, such as income, eligibility for Family Tax Benefit A, who has a disability, and who identifies as Indigenous,” Dr Khandaker said.

“This supports high-quality, timely, efficient and effective health service delivery.

“For example, it helps us identify the number of children eligible for childhood vaccinations and then work out who is missing out.”

Dr Khandaker said this is particularly important in local Indigenous communities such as the Woorabinda Shire, about a two-hour drive inland from Rockhampton. Data from the 2016 Census shows Woorabinda has a population of approximately 962 and knowing this helps health authorities understand what services are needed there. 

“We can estimate how many people in Woorabinda are eligible for a vaccination, such as the flu vaccine, and then take the appropriate number of vaccine vials out there to conduct a vaccination clinic.

“This has been very effective in cutting the rates of communicable diseases like mumps.

“It’s crucial that everybody participates in the Census so that health authorities have the most-up-to-date data for their work to keep the community healthy.”

Business

Wheatbelt Business Network

Spanning more than 150,000 square kilometres in Western Australia’s south west and encompassing 42 local government areas, the Wheatbelt is home to an extensive network of small businesses from a range of industries.

At the heart of this region is the Wheatbelt Business Network (WBN) – a business association that provides support to businesses through advisory services, mentoring, networking and information.

These services help members develop their business, support their towns, and contribute to the economic growth of the region.

Since it began in 2010, WBN has relied on Census data to better understand the region.

WBN CEO Caroline Robinson said Census data has helped identify gaps in its initiatives for members and the wider business community.

“Census data helps the Wheatbelt Business Network forecast future trends and economic changes that could affect the area, and develop focused initiatives targeted at sub-regions, specific demographic groups and communities,” Ms Robinson said.

For example, Census data shows that women in business is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial demographics in the Wheatbelt. Two-thirds of businesses in the region have a female director, partner or senior decision maker.

In response, the WBN developed the WE Connect business mentoring service, which connects female business owners in the region with high profile and well-respected business leaders.

It also hosts an annual WE Shine event, where female entrepreneurs from across the Wheatbelt network learn from other women.

“This event equips our female business owners and senior managers with valuable skills and networking opportunities to support them as they take the next step with their businesses,” Ms Robinson said.

“We know fostering relationships and building skills greatly contribute to business success, and we aim to provide women with these opportunities in the Wheatbelt.

“It’s important that everyone takes part in the Census. Census data helps guide how the WBN supports women in business, WBN members as well as other rural businesses and the communities that rely on them,” she said.

Frost & Sullivan

Global market research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan used Census data to inform how organisations provide services to fly-in fly-out workers. Census data helped it estimate the total size of the facilities management market in remote areas of Australia.

Mark Dougan, Head of Frost & Sullivan Australia and New Zealand, said the credibility of the data it uses for research is critical and Census data is a key contributor.

“With high quality data, we can help make clients and markets more efficient and informed. That comes from the highest possible completion rate for the Census and highest levels of accuracy,” Mr Dougan said.

“We looked at mining sites for fly-in fly-out workers. The camps in these sites are often run by third-party organisations that contract out cleaning, catering and maintenance.

“We knew what the daily charge per resident would be to cover these costs. We also needed to find out how many workers would be staying in the camps across remote Australia at any one time.”

Census data provided the number of individuals staying in company-provided accommodation in remote areas on the night of the Census.

“This told us there were about 70,000 individuals using these services, which we then used to calculate the value of the facilities management market.”

Frost & Sullivan provides insights to help businesses plan and grow. The company analyses data to help its clients make strategic decisions to innovate or enter new markets.

By providing analysis of the fly-in fly-out market, Frost & Sullivan has assisted facility management companies to plan, budget and be more competitive.

“Census data adds credibility and enables better informed decisions to be made across a broad spectrum,” said Mr Dougan.

National planning

National Bushfire Recovery Agency

Almost a year after the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) continues to lead and coordinate the national response to rebuilding affected communities.

To achieve its vision of empowering bushfire-affected communities to recover and build a resilient future, the NBRA is delivering recovery efforts across all levels of government and in partnership with local communities.

ABS and Census data are playing an important part in the long journey to recovery and rebuild.

Acting Director of Data Analytics at the NBRA, Christine Atyeo, said the data is primarily used to provide demographic information for the Agency’s Local Government Area (LGA) profiles.

“More than 100 LGAs were impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires, resulting in loss of life, widespread property and infrastructure damage and destruction of environments and wildlife,” Ms Atyeo said.

“Using Census and other data, we provide detailed information on bushfire-affected LGAs, including demographic data, business and industry make-up, as well as information on bushfire impact, relief and recovery support.”

The interactive map on the NBRA website is an example of how the Census data is used.

“It provides a high-level overview of the population, including demographic, income and employment industry information,” Ms Atyeo said.

“This information helps characterise affected communities, including identifying those that may be more vulnerable to the impacts of disasters, or that may benefit from targeted supports.

“For example, we have in-depth analysis of non-English speaking populations within affected LGAs, comparative to the level of bushfire impact. We have also analysed which LGAs have more people than the national average with a disability or needing assistance with everyday activities.

“This helps us to better target these groups with information about local assistance and support services available. These range from financial and accommodation assistance, to food, clothing and health services, and business and emotional support.

“Bushfire recovery is different in each community. We need a detailed picture of local areas and local recovery needs so communities can move forward.

“Census data is an important source of data about small population groups and geographic areas. When combined with other sources of information, it gives us this picture,” Ms Atyeo said.

Regional Australia Institute

The Regional Australia Institute gathers and analyses data to help governments and regional leaders make strategic planning decisions for regions.

Regional Australia encompasses all areas outside the five major cities and Canberra. It is home to 8.8 million people, accounts for one-third of national output and provides employment to one in three working Australians.

Kim Houghton, Chief Economist at the Regional Australia Institute said Census data was at the heart of providing social and economic evidence about regional areas.

“Census data showed that regional cities had 7.8% population growth between 2011 and 2016,” said Dr Houghton. “Incomes and qualification rates rose and the proportion of regional young people completing Year 12 increased.”

Dr Houghton said Census data gives unparalleled coverage at small area scale.

“No other data source gives a clearer picture of how people and places differ and are changing across regional Australia.  

“Our research looks at national patterns and trends, combined with information from the ground to provide local scale analysis. For example, we use data on population growth and median age to investigate issues of workforce change in the health and disability services industries.

“Census data indicates that the over-65 population is growing in many regions. This is a combination of ageing in place and in-migration of retirees. While retiree migration helps boost local spending, working age population growth is needed for the region to remain resilient,” said Dr Houghton.

Regional Australia offers a great lifestyle with good work opportunities, low-cost housing and few commuting nightmares.

“Data tells us there are typically around 40,000 job vacancies in regional places each month, with most of these in highly skilled trades and professions,” said Dr Houghton. “There is a great range of jobs available for young people looking to accelerate their career, or families looking to cut their stress levels.”

This information combined with Census data boosts the view that regional Australia offers an attractive and viable lifestyle choice, while taking the pressure off the overcrowded major cities.

Dr Houghton said Census data is essential to its Pathfinder research that identifies a region’s strengths and weaknesses and benchmarks them to identify strategic directions.

“Census data is integral to economic strategic planning and helping stakeholders view a region as a whole. For instance, we worked with the Cradle Coast Authority to create a unified approach across the region for a ‘more jobs and better jobs’ campaign.”

The regularity of the Census also helps the Institute prepare its analysis of upcoming trends.

“When the 2021 Census data is released we’ll be looking closely at mobility patterns in regional Australia to find out how Australians ‘vote with their feet’ in choosing to move to regional places with particular attributes,” said Dr Houghton.

“We will analyse mobility data alongside social, cultural, environmental and economic measures to look for important ‘attraction ingredients’ to help explain the flows of people to desirable places.

“We rely on the Census and value it highly in providing insights into the many local and regional differences that we are trying to identify and understand.”

.id Consulting

With a passion for society and expertise in demographics, economics, housing and population forecasting, .id consulting understands that data is at the heart of every community, telling the story of its people, places and potential.

.id consulting’s client base includes more than 250 Local Government Associations (LGAs), state government, education and the private sector. It provides data and analysis, and demographic and economic consulting to help clients make evidence-based decisions about their communities.

.id consulting Demographer Glenn Capuano said while the firm sources and presents population and demographic data from a variety of sources, it relies heavily on Census data for small area information to develop detailed local area profiles.

“These profiles look at the characteristics of each suburb, town or locality in each LGA, how it is changing over time and what role it plays within the wider region,” Mr Capuano said.

“We also use modelling to forecast future populations, age and household types, and economic modelling to look at the impact of changes to industry makeup and events in the area. These demographic trends support strategic planning and economic development.

“Of critical importance is how Census provides data at fine geographic levels. We use it to tell local stories for our clients, helping them better understand the local population, its current and future needs, and the services required to meet those needs,” he said.

.id consulting worked with several Queensland councils to help them identify vulnerable populations for emergency management procedures during cyclones, fires or other disasters.

“We used Census data to determine trends that make a household vulnerable, such as no internet connection, no vehicle ownership, low English proficiency, lone-person households and over-crowding.

“This let councils know where there may be areas where people might not hear messages to evacuate, or where people might not be able to move when that order to evacuate comes.

“As a result, councils identified hot spots where they should focus their communication during an emergency. They also fine-tuned their cyclone and emergency management plans and preparedness to consider these vulnerable communities, which could save lives,” he said.

Mr Capuano stressed the importance of Census participation.

“Accurate information is key to local governments being able to plan, understand and advocate for their areas. They can't do this without people universally completing the Census.

“Census is the great equaliser. Everyone counts, no matter your income, your background, or whether you’re experiencing homelessness. Your Census form is as important as everyone else's.

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