Microdata is a powerful research resource available for you to undertake in-depth analysis. There are hundreds of topics and datasets available that allow you to:
- easily create tables, graphs and maps in TableBuilder
- analyse microdata in your own environment using MicrodataDownload
- use a wide range of statistical software for complex analysis or modelling in the secure DataLab
To find the right microdata product for you, Compare access options and Available microdata.
The ABS collects data from a range of sources including surveys, censuses and administrative collections. This data is used to create microdata files, which contain detailed information about individuals, businesses and other groups. Within a microdata file, each record or row of the dataset represents information relating to one person, household or business.
Microdata allows researchers to inform decisions of importance for Australia. Published Research using microdata provides many examples of what is possible.
Access to microdata is managed to protect privacy and confidentiality. Users need to apply and be approved by the ABS before accessing microdata. Microdata is released using methods and systems that protect the confidentiality of people, households, and businesses. For information about your obligations when using microdata and confidentiality, see:
- Responsible Use of ABS Microdata Guide
- ABS Confidentiality Series
- How ABS keeps your information confidential.
TYPES OF MICRODATA
If you want to build, customise, save and export your own tables, graphs and maps in a range of output formats, TableBuilder is a good place to start.
- It is an online tool for creating tables based on underlying microdata.
- Starting with an empty table, data variables can be selected for cross-tabulation.
- There are options to display counts, percentages and relative standard errors in your table or calculate means, medians and quantiles for continuous variables such as income.
- Tables and graphs are automatically treated to protect privacy and confidentiality before the output is provided to you.
If you want to conduct statistical analyses in your own environment, downloading a basic Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) may be the best option. Basic CURFs contain fully confidentialised microdata and are available from MicrodataDownload.
If you want to conduct complex statistical analyses on highly detailed data, the DataLab may suit your needs.
- Detailed microdata and expanded CURFs are designed for use within the secure DataLab environment.
- There are strict controls on the researchers who are able to access detailed microdata files and the purpose for which they can use the files.
- No unit record information is allowed to leave the DataLab.
- All output that you want to use outside the DataLab is checked by the ABS before release to ensure it meets our confidentiality standards and cannot be used to re-identify an individual or organisation.