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1380.0.55.009 - Perspectives on Regional Australia: Comparing Census Night and Usual Resident Populations in Local Government Areas, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/09/2013  First Issue
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16 September 2013
Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Where were you on Census Night?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found that 5.4 per cent of people in Australia were not at home on the night of the 2011 Census.

‘It is important for us to determine the difference between the usual residents of an area and the population counted there on Census Night because they can be quite different, and their needs for local services may also be different’, said Ms Lisa Conolly, Director of Regional Statistics.

‘The 5.4 per cent of people that were not at home that night may have been travelling for work or study, on holiday, visiting friends or family, or travelling for many other reasons.

‘Whatever the reason, there are a few regions where there are much larger visitor populations on Census Night, which may represent a regular or seasonal pattern for those communities. Census data can provide a snapshot of these visitors at a point in time,' she said.

The local government areas that had the highest proportion of visitors on Census Night included:

  • Snowy River in New South Wales
  • Carpentaria in Queensland
  • Exmouth in Western Australia; and
  • Leonora in Western Australia

‘The Snowy River contains Mount Kosciuszko, Perisher and Thredbo ski fields and is a popular destination for winter tourism. The people in Snowy River on Census Night were likely to include tourists and people doing seasonal work in the resorts’, said Ms Conolly.

The ABS compares the Census Night and usual resident populations using the "Census Night ratio", which is the number of people in the Local Government Area (LGA) on Census Night for every 100 usual residents.

The Snowy River LGA in New South Wales had a Census Night ratio of 253. That is, for every 100 usual residents, there were 253 people there on the night.

Further details are available in Perspectives on Regional Australia: Comparing Census Night and Usual Resident Populations in Local Government Areas, 2011 (cat. no. 1380.0.55.009) available for free download from the ABS website (

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