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Regional population methodology

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Estimated resident population

Estimated resident population (ERP) is the official estimate of the Australian population, which links people to a place of usual residence within Australia. Usual residence is the address at which a person considers themselves to currently live. ERP includes all people who usually live in Australia (regardless of nationality, citizenship or visa status), with the exception of people present for foreign military, consular or diplomatic reasons. 

ERP, or population estimates, for Australia and it's states and territories (from now on referred to as states) are prepared quarterly and released around six months after the reference date in National, state and territory population.

Annual population estimates as at 30 June are then prepared for areas below the state level and released in this product. Estimates are prepared at the Statistical Area Level 2 and Local Government Area levels, according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), and are aggregated or split to create estimates for other geographies. Population estimates are available in this product for Statistical Areas Levels 2 to 4, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, Local Government Areas, Significant Urban Areas, Remoteness Areas, and Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions.

Age and sex breakdowns of these estimates will be released on 27 August 2021 in Regional population by age and sex.

Statistics in this release are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting Australian Government closure of the international border from 20 March 2020.

Method

ERP as at 30 June in a Census year is calculated by adjusting Census counts of Australian usual residents to include Australian residents temporarily overseas and account for people missed or counted twice in the Census (based on the Post Enumeration Survey), and removing any births, deaths and migration movements that happened between 30 June and Census night. 

At the national and state levels, ERP is updated from the Census base every three months by taking the population estimate at the start of the quarter and adding the components of population change: natural increase (births minus deaths), net overseas migration and (in the case of state populations) net interstate migration. This is known as the component method, and uses the demographic balancing equation:

\(P_{t+1}=P_t+B−D+NOM+NIM\) where:

\(P_t\) = the estimated resident population at time point \(t\)
\(P_{t+1}\) = the estimated resident population at time point \(t+1\)
\(B\) = the number of births occurring between \(t \) and \(t+1\)
\(D\) = the number of deaths occurring between \(t\) and \(t+1\)
\(NOM\) = net overseas migration occurring between \(t\) and \(t+1\)
\(NIM\) = net interstate migration occurring between \(t\) and \(t+1\)

At the national level, net interstate migration is zero.

For Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) and Local Government Areas (LGAs), population estimates are updated from the Census base annually as at 30 June also using the component method, by taking the estimate at the start of the financial year and adding natural increase and net overseas and internal (moves between and within the states) migration. The components for these sub-state areas are calculated by breaking down state-level component estimates, ensuring consistency between the state and sub-state population and component data.

The components of population change (and subsequently ERP) at the LGA level are constrained to those at the SA2 level to ensure consistency between these two geographies, based on the smallest possible regions where SA2 and LGA boundaries match in terms of the combined area containing resident population. For example, where one LGA aligns exactly with one SA2 or where a group of LGAs aligns with a group of SA2s, the components for these areas will generally match. Estimates at the SA2 and LGA level are ultimately constrained so that they add to the relevant state estimates.

Once the estimates are updated, they are scrutinised and validated by ABS analysts. Local knowledge, such as that advised by state governments is considered and used to adjust data for particular SA2s and LGAs. In some small areas, population change since the previous Census is assumed to be zero in the absence of reliable component data for these areas.

To provide an indication of ERP below the SA2 level, population estimates are calculated for Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s). For a Census year, SA2 estimates are apportioned across SA1s using usual residence Census counts. In intercensal years, the SA2 estimates are apportioned across SA1s by taking into account population change implied by Medicare and electoral roll counts at the SA1 level in the years following the Census. Estimates for SA1s can be aggregated to regions such as Remoteness Areas and electoral divisions. For areas that cannot be built up from whole SA1s, such as Postal Areas and State Suburbs, mesh block Census counts are used to estimate the share of the SA1 population that resides in those areas. By these means, population estimates for areas other than those provided in this product (including SA1s) may be available on request via the ABS website.

Historical changes

Prior to 2016, the absence of reliable migration data below the state level meant that sub-state populations were estimated using a regression model, which modelled changes in population against indicator data between the two most recent Censuses. These indicator data sources included dwelling approvals, and Medicare and electoral roll counts. Changes in these indicators were used to estimate changes in the population of each area since the last Census.

Rebasing

In Census years, both preliminary estimates (derived from updating ERP from the previous Census) and 'rebased' population estimates (based on the current Census) are prepared. Differences between these two sets of estimates are referred to as intercensal differences. Rebased estimates of SA2 populations for previous intercensal years are derived by apportioning the intercensal difference across the five years, while constraining to state totals. Rebased 2012 to 2015 estimates were generally derived by adding one-fifth of the 2016 intercensal difference to the previous estimate of the 2012 population, two-fifths to the previous estimate of the 2013 population, and so on. Intercensal difference was apportioned based on the unrebased growth rate for some areas (e.g. newly established areas).

Accuracy

The sub-state estimates in this product are subject to some error. Some caution should be exercised when using the estimates, especially for areas with very small populations.

An indication of the accuracy of ERP can be gauged by assessing the size and direction of intercensal differences. For Australia as at 30 June 2016, the preliminary (unrebased) ERP under-estimated the final rebased ERP by 0.1% (24,900 people). For the states and territories, the 2016 intercensal differences ranged from -1.4% (Victoria) to +2.0% (Northern Territory).

To assess the quality of SA2-based estimates prepared using the component method, experimental estimates updated from 2011 Census-based estimates were prepared using the component method, and compared with rebased 2016 estimates. The average of the absolute values of the intercensal differences for these SA2 component-based estimates (excluding areas with less than 1,000 people) was 3.4%. This was slightly lower than the average of the absolute values of intercensal differences for regression-based estimates over the same period (3.5%), which was the method used to create the published preliminary 2016 estimates.

The table below shows that the intercensal differences for the 2016 experimental component-based estimates generally decreased with increasing population size; that is, SA2s with large populations recorded the smallest percentage differences while small SA2s had the largest percentage differences.

Download
Size of SA2Number of SA2sAverage absolute intercensal difference
(people)no.%
1,000 to 2,999927.6
3,000 to 4,9993365.4
5,000 to 6,9993123.7
7,000 to 9,9993673.1
10,000 to 14,9994692.5
15,000 to 19,9993112.1
20,000 and over2692.4

Status

To meet the competing demands for accuracy and timeliness, there are several versions of sub-state population estimates. Preliminary estimates are available around nine months after the reference date with revised estimates 12 months later. Rebased and final estimates are made available after each Census, when revisions are made to the estimates for all years in the previous intercensal period.

The status of annual sub-state ERP and components changes over time, from preliminary to revised to final, as new component data becomes available at the state level. With each release, ERP for the previous year is revised due to revisions to the component data at the state level. The table below shows the current status of sub-state ERP and the components of population change at the state level (for those years where the component method was used to prepare sub-state ERP).

Download
 Census baseNatural increaseOverseas migrationInterstate migrationERP status
June 2001 - June 2016Based on 2006, 2011 & 2016 Censuses as applicablenananaFinal
June 2017 - June 20192016 CensusRevised - based on date of occurrenceFinal - based on actual traveller behaviourPreliminary - based on Census expansion factorsRevised - updated due to revised component data at state level
June 20202016 CensusPreliminary - based on date of registrationPreliminary - based on modelled traveller behaviourPreliminary - based on expansion factors from the 2016 CensusPreliminary

Components of population change

Births and deaths

Natural increase (births minus deaths) for sub-state areas is calculated using information provided by each state/territory registry of births, deaths and marriages. The data is coded based on the place of usual residence of the mother for births, and the place of usual residence of the deceased for deaths. It is aggregated to SA2 and LGA levels and constrained to published state estimates of births and deaths.

The estimates of births and deaths in this product are prepared for financial years to correspond with the 30 June reference date for sub-state ERP. To produce timely sub-state estimates, preliminary births and deaths data are prepared using year of registration as a proxy for year of occurrence.

Preliminary births and deaths are prepared by breaking down preliminary state-level data. Later, when the state-level data is updated, the sub-state data is updated accordingly and released in the next issue of this product. 

The sub-state births and deaths data in this product is not coherent with the sub-state data released in Births, Australia and Deaths, Australia which is for calendar years and has a different scope.

Overseas migration

The movement of people from overseas to Australia's sub-state areas and vice-versa cannot be directly measured and is estimated by breaking down overseas migrant arrivals and departures at the state level to sub-state areas, using information from the most recent Census. The state-level overseas migration data is sourced from Department of Home Affairs processing systems, visa information, and incoming passenger cards, and is published in National, state and territory population.

Regional overseas migration estimate (ROME) arrivals are estimated based on counts of people who identified in the Census that they were living overseas one year ago, at SA2 level. This distribution is used to break down state arrivals each year up until the next Census. To account for changes to the distribution of overseas arrivals within a state between Censuses (e.g. in high growth areas or inner-city areas with changing numbers of temporary migrants), adjustments may be made based on up-to-date indicator data including counts of Temporary Skills Shortage visa holders and overseas students. 

For ROME departures, a model distributes state-level overseas migrant departures to SA2s. This model is based on a range of information from the Census - mainly the number of people who arrived in each area from overseas in the last year. More weighting is given to areas that have high SEIFA Index of Education and Occupation scores and more than 20% of their total population born overseas. Of all the models evaluated, this model was selected as it best estimated population change between the last two Censuses. As with overseas arrivals, overseas departures may be adjusted based on additional information sources.

LGA estimates of ROME arrivals and departures are prepared by converting from SA2-level ROME arrivals and departures, using a population-weighted correspondence.

Preliminary ROME arrivals and departures are prepared by breaking down preliminary state-level data. Later, when the state-level data is updated, the sub-state data is updated accordingly and released in the next issue of this product.

Internal migration

The movement of people between and within Australia's states and territories cannot be directly measured and is estimated using administrative data. Internal migration is estimated based on a combination of Census data (usual address one year ago), Medicare change of address data (provided by Services Australia), and Department of Defence records (for military personnel only). 

Medicare is Australia's universal health insurance scheme and covers the vast majority of Australian residents. De-identified Medicare change of address counts are aggregated to SA2 and LGA levels. There are some people who are part of ERP but are not covered by Medicare, such as certain temporary visa holders. For others there is a time delay from when they move residence to when they update their address details with Medicare. To account for these issues, factors are applied to calibrate this data to internal migration data from the Census. These factors are applied by age, sex, state and move type (arrival or departure). Medicare data received for the year ending 30 September is used to estimate internal migration for the year ending 30 June. This assumes that on average the time between a person moving house and registering their change of address with Medicare is three months. 

As many defence force personnel do not interact with Medicare, defence movements data is used to supplement the Medicare data. Aggregated defence force personnel movements are converted from postcode to SA2 and LGA levels. This data reflects the time of move, and is therefore not lagged.

The Medicare and defence data are combined to prepare regional internal migration estimates (RIME) at SA2 and LGA levels. Interstate RIME moves are constrained to estimates of interstate migration as published in National, state and territory population.

RIME was previously prepared and released in Migration, Australia for financial years up to 2015-16. This old series of RIME was experimental in that it was prepared independently of and is not directly comparable with ERP nor with RIME prepared for 2016-17 onwards, due to different methods and source data used. The old RIME series used Medicare change of address data aggregated to postcodes, which was converted to SA2/LGA, and was supplied to the ABS quarterly meaning that one person could record up to four moves in a financial year. RIME for 2016-17 onwards uses change of address data coded directly to ASGS areas, and is supplied and calculated on an annual basis consistent with the definition of population change over a financial year.

Statistical geography

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) brings together in one framework all of the regions which the ABS and many other organisations use to collect, release and analyse geographically classified statistics. The ASGS classification structures are split into two broad groups, ABS Structures and Non-ABS Structures.

The ABS Structures are defined and maintained by the ABS, and remain unchanged for the five years between Censuses. Further information on the ABS Structures for which population estimates are available in this product is contained in:

The Non-ABS Structures are not defined or maintained by the ABS, and generally represent administrative regions. As the Non-ABS Structures represent regions that are subject to ongoing change, the ABS releases updates to these Structures each year where significant change has occurred. Further information on the Non-ABS Structures for which population estimates are available in this product is contained in:

Maps of the statistical areas defined in the ASGS are available in the online mapping tool ABS Maps.

The area figures used in this product were calculated using ABS standard Geographic Information System software from the digital boundaries of the ASGS. 

Local Government Area changes

When boundaries for Non-ABS Structures such as Local Government Areas (LGAs) change, historical population estimates for these new boundaries are prepared to enable the comparison of regional populations over time. The table below shows changes to LGA boundaries involving population that occurred between the 2019 and 2020 editions of the ASGS.

Download
  Nature of changes involving population onlyChange in ERP at 30 June 2020
New South Wales
 Armidale Regional (A)Lost to Inverell (A)-947
 Inverell (A)Gained from Armidale Regional (A)947
 Cobar (A)Lost to Lachlan (A)-83
 Lachlan (A)Gained from Cobar (A)83
 Nambucca (A)Renamed to Nambucca Valley (A)na

Other population measures

Centre of population

The centre of population of a region is a point that describes a centre point of the region's population, and is calculated in this product based on SA1s. Due to the inherent imprecision in small area estimates, the centre of population should be considered indicative and not ascribed to an exact location. The use of different geographical level data in the calculation of the centre of population can result in different locations.

Population density

The population density of each region in this product has been calculated by dividing its ERP by its area in square kilometres. The result is expressed as a number of people per square kilometre.

Population grid

In this product, ERP is also presented in one square kilometre grid format. The population grid offers a consistently sized spatial unit and gives a refined model of population distribution, particularly for the non-urban areas of Australia. It is also an established, easy to understand and readily comparable international standard which enables users to make local, national and international comparisons of population density.

The population grid is prepared using SA1 population estimates. Within each populated SA1, all known residential dwelling locations were identified using sources such as the Geocoded National Address File and the population distributed equally across the residential dwellings. The average value assigned to each dwelling was then summed within each one square kilometre grid cell across the country.

The population grid is provided in ESRI Grid format and Geo TIFF format, which are recommended for users proficient in the use of Geographic Information System software.

Estimating temporary populations

In addition to the ongoing series of ERP, the ABS is exploring the development of temporary population estimates. This is part of ongoing efforts to use existing available data to meet this information need. The ABS has also partnered with the University of Queensland to further explore the issues associated with estimating temporary populations. Obtaining better information on daytime/night-time, weekday/weekend and seasonal population numbers would give policy makers a greater understanding of these populations. Such data would better inform population-based funding decisions in areas such as health, education, transport, and in areas with fly-in, fly-out populations.

The ABS has undertaken a pilot project that explored aggregated telecommunications data at the SA2 level to estimate hourly temporary populations. The pilot study covered three weeks throughout 2016, including the week around Census night. The project revealed some potentially promising insights, with the aggregated population data in line with expectations across geography and time. The ABS will continue to investigate the feasibility of estimating non-resident populations, subject to resources and access to data sources.

Confidentiality

The ABS collects statistical information under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act, 1905. This requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation.

To guard against identification or disclosure of confidential information, a procedure is applied to confidentialise sub-state ERP and components, which are also subsequently constrained so that they add to relevant state estimates. As a result of this confidentialisation method, and forced additivity, estimates of under three people should be regarded as synthetic and only exist to ensure additivity to higher levels.

ABS statistics draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Glossary

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12/16 month rule

Under a '12/16 month rule', incoming overseas travellers (who are not currently counted in the population) must be resident in Australia for a total period of 12 months or more, during the 16 month follow-up period to then be added to the estimated resident population. Similarly, those travellers departing Australia (who are currently counted in the population) must be absent from Australia for a total of 12 months or more during the 16 month follow-up period to then be subtracted from the estimated resident population.

The 12/16 month rule does not have to be continuous and takes account of those persons who may have left Australia briefly and returned, while still being resident for 12 months out of 16. Similarly, it takes account of Australians who live most of the time overseas but periodically return to Australia for short periods.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)

The ASGS brings all the regions for which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework and has been in use for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics since 1 July 2011. It is the current framework for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of statistics published by the ABS.

Birth

The delivery of a child, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, who, after being born, breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as heartbeat.

Capital city

Refers to the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas of states and territories as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

Census

The complete enumeration of a specific population at a point in time (as opposed to a survey, which enumerates a sample of the population). When the word is capitalised, "Census" refers to the national Census of Population and Housing. The Census is run by the ABS every five years and aims to count every person in Australia on Census night.

Centre of population

A measure used to summarise the spatial distribution of a population. To calculate the centre of population for an area in this product, the latitude and longitude coordinates of the geographic centroid of each Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) in that area are multiplied by the population of each SA1 to obtain weighted latitudes and longitudes for each SA1. These are summed to obtain a population-weighted latitude and longitude coordinate for the area, then divided by the total population of the area to obtain a single latitude and longitude coordinate.

Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED)

An area legally prescribed for returning one member to the House of Representatives, Australia's Federal Lower House of Parliament. Data for CEDs are approximated by aggregating the data for Statistical Areas Level 1 that best fit the area. Where the Australian Electoral Commission revise their boundaries, CEDs are updated in conjunction with the annual update of other Non-ABS Structures in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

Death

The permanent disappearance of all evidence of life after birth has taken place. The definition excludes deaths prior to live birth. For the purposes of death registration collections compiled by the ABS, a death refers to any death which occurs in, or en route to Australia and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. 

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The official measure of the population of Australia, based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months over a 16-month period. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months over a 16-month period. Sub-state estimates of the resident population are prepared on an annual basis by adding natural increase (the excess of births over deaths), net internal migration and net overseas migration occurring during the period to the population at the beginning of each period.

Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)

Represent the socioeconomic area of each of the eight state and territory capital cities. These boundaries are built from aggregations of whole Statistical Areas Level 4. GCCSA boundaries represent a broad socioeconomic definition of each capital city, containing not only the urban area of the capital city, but also surrounding and non-urban areas where much of the population has strong links to the capital city, for example through commuting to work.

Highest growth rate

Based on the population change over a period as a proportion (percentage) of the population at the beginning of the period. 

Intercensal difference

The difference between two estimates at 30 June of a Census year population: the first based on the latest Census, and the second arrived at by updating the 30 June estimate of the previous Census year with intercensal components of population change.

Internal migration

The movement of people across a specified boundary within Australia involving a change in place of usual residence. Net internal migration is the number of arrivals minus the number of departures and can be either positive or negative. 

Interstate migration

The movement of people over a state or territory boundary involving a change in place of usual residence. Net interstate migration is the number of arrivals minus the number of departures and can be either positive or negative. 

Largest growth

Based on absolute change in population over a period.

Local Government Area (LGA)

An ABS approximation of an officially gazetted LGA as defined by each state and territory local government department. LGAs cover incorporated areas of Australia, which are legally designated areas for which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility. The major areas of Australia not administered by incorporated bodies are the northern parts of South Australia and all of the Australian Capital Territory and the Other Territories. These regions are identified as 'Unincorporated' in the LGA structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

Mesh block

The smallest geographic region in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) which forms the basis for all larger regions of the ASGS. They broadly identify land use such as residential, commercial, agricultural and parks. There are approximately 358,000 Mesh Blocks and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. 

Natural increase

The number of births minus the number of deaths.

​​​​​​​Net overseas migration (NOM)

The net gain or loss of population through immigration to Australia and emigration from Australia.

Net undercount

The difference between the actual Census count (including imputations) and an estimate of the number of people who should have been counted in the Census. This estimate is based on the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) conducted after each Census. For a category of person (e.g. based on age, sex and state of usual residence), net undercount is the result of Census undercount, overcount, differences in classification between the PES and Census, and imputation error.

Overseas migrant arrivals

Incoming international travellers who stay in Australia for 12 months or more over a 16-month period, who are not currently counted within the population, and are then added to the population.

Overseas migrant departures

Outgoing international travellers who leave Australia for 12 months or more over a 16-month period, who are currently counted within the population, and are then subtracted from the population.

Post Enumeration Survey (PES)

The Census Post Enumeration Survey (PES) is a household survey conducted following the Census. The PES allows the ABS to estimate the number of people missed in the Census and the number counted more than once or in error. Historically more people are missed than are counted more than once in Australia, leading to a net undercount. PES estimates of net undercount are used to adjust Census counts for use in ERP.

Rebasing

After each Census, the ABS uses Census counts (adjusted for undercount) to construct a new base population figure for 30 June of the Census year. Rebasing is the process of updating population estimates for the five years between Censuses, to incorporate information from the most recent Census.

Regional internal migration estimates (RIME)

Estimates of internal migration for Australia's sub-state areas, prepared primarily using Medicare change of address information.

Regional overseas migration estimates (ROME)

Estimates of overseas migration for Australia's sub-state areas, prepared by breaking down state/territory overseas migrant arrivals and departures primarily using Census information.

Remoteness Area (RA)

Remoteness Areas divide Australia into 5 classes of remoteness (ranging from Major Cities to Very Remote) on the basis of their relative access to services. Access to services is measured using the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+). Within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, each RA is created from a grouping of Statistical Areas Level 1 which have a particular degree of remoteness.

Remoteness structure

This structure is used to classify areas which share common characteristics of remoteness into Remoteness Areas. The degree of remoteness of each area is determined using the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+).

Rest of state

Within each state and the Northern Territory, the area not defined as being part of the Greater Capital City is represented by a Rest of State region. The Australian Capital Territory does not have a Rest of State region.

Significant Urban Area (SUA)

Represent individual Urban Centres or clusters of related Urban Centres with a core urban population over 10,000 people. They can also include related peri-urban areas, satellite development, the area into which the urban development is likely to expand, and nearby rural land. SUAs are aggregations of whole Statistical Areas Level 2. They do not cover the whole of Australia, and may cross state/territory borders.

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

A suite of four indexes that rank areas in Australia according to relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The indexes are based on the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The SEIFA index used in the model to distribute overseas departures within states and territories is the Index of Education and Occupation (IEO).

State Electoral Division (SED)

An area legally prescribed for returning one or more members to the State or Territory Lower Houses of Parliament. Data for SEDs are approximated by aggregating the data for Statistical Areas Level 1 that best fit the area. Where the Australian Electoral Commission revise their boundaries, SEDs are updated in conjunction with the annual update of other Non-ABS Structures in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) designed as the smallest unit for the release of Census data. They generally have a population of 200 to 800 people, and an average population of about 400 people. SA1s in remote and regional areas generally have smaller populations than those in urban areas. SA1s are used as the building blocks for a number of ASGS defined regions including the Section of State, Urban Centre and Localities and Remoteness Structures. SA1s are also used to approximate a number of administrative regions such as Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions. There are approximately 57,500 SA1s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. Population estimates are prepared for SA1s by breaking down estimates from the SA2 level.

Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)

A medium-sized general purpose area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard built from whole SA1s. Their purpose is to represent a community that interacts together socially and economically. SA2s are based on officially gazetted suburbs and localities. In urban areas, SA2s largely conform to one or more whole suburbs, while in rural areas they generally define the functional zone of a regional centre. SA2s generally have a population range of 3,000 to 25,000 people, and an average population of about 10,000 people. There are approximately 2,300 SA2s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. SA2s are the base unit for preparing sub-state population estimates.

Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard built up from SA2s to provide a regional breakdown of Australia. SA3s aim to create a standard framework for the analysis of ABS data at the regional level through clustering groups of whole SA2s that have similar regional characteristics. Their boundaries reflect a combination of widely recognised informal regions as well as existing administrative regions such as State Government Regions in rural areas and Local Government Areas in urban areas. SA3s generally range in population from 30,000 to 130,000 people. There are around 360 SA3s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard designed for the output of labour force data and to reflect labour markets. In rural areas SA4s generally represent aggregations of multiple small labour markets with socioeconomic connections or similar industry characteristics. Large regional city labour markets are generally defined by a single SA4. Within major metropolitan labour markets SA4s represent sub-labour markets. SA4s are built from whole SA3s. They generally have a population of over 100,000 people to enable accurate labour force survey data to be generated. There are 107 SA4s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

Urban Centre and Locality (UCL)

Aggregations of Statistical Areas Level 1 which represent population centres with populations exceeding 200 persons. Centres with a core urban population of 1,000 persons or more are considered to be Urban Centres, whilst smaller centres with populations of between 200 and 999 people are considered to be Localities.

Usual residence

Within Australia, usual residence is the address of the dwelling at which a person considers themselves to currently live, either having lived there for some time or intending to live there for some time.

Abbreviations

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AArea
ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ACAboriginal Council
ACTAustralian Capital Territory
ASGSAustralian Statistical Geography Standard
BBorough
CCity
CEDCommonwealth Electoral Division
CensusCensus of Population and Housing
DCDistrict Council
ERPestimated resident population
GCCSAGreater Capital City Statistical Area
LGALocal Government Area
MMunicipality/Municipal Council
no.number
NOMnet overseas migration
NSWNew South Wales
NTNorthern Territory
PESCensus Post Enumeration Survey
QldQueensland
RRegional Council
RARemoteness Area
RCRural City
RegCRegional Council
RIMEregional internal migration estimates
ROMEregional overseas migration estimates
sq kmsquare kilometre
SShire
S/Tstate or territory
SASouth Australia
SA1Statistical Area Level 1
SA2Statistical Area Level 2
SA3Statistical Area Level 3
SA4Statistical Area Level 4
SEDState Electoral Division
SEIFASocio-Economic Indexes for Areas
SUASignificant Urban Area
TTown
Tas.Tasmania
Vic.Victoria
WAWestern Australia