2016 Census Data in Use

Census data is used by a wide variety of government departments and agencies, local councils, public and non-for-profit organisations, academics, researchers, students, businesses and local groups for a wide variety of purposes, for example:

Federal Government: At a national level, Census information is used to plan the provision of health care, education, employment, transport and other services. It is used to help determine where to build new schools, roads, health care facilities, child-care and senior centres.

Local Government: At a local level, information is gathered to plan a wide range of public services, many provided by local authorities, which should be there for everyone to use. These include:

  • Schools: for children growing up now and in the future
  • Social housing: for families who need an affordable place to live
  • Transport: to and from work, and for going out and about in the area
  • Healthcare: facilities that everyone can access easily
  • Training: for people who want to learn new skills.

Business: When a company is looking for new locations to set up operations and conduct business, one of the first things they consider is people. Who lives in the area? Are there sufficient educated and skilled people to work for them?

The Media: Census data is used by the media in researching news stories, feature articles and documentaries.

Students: The use of Census data is an important component of our children’s education and features across a surprising number of aspects of the curriculum including maths, history and geography.

Below are some specific examples of how Census data is used:

The Age

The savvy team from The Age have developed a few different options to explore the ABS 2016 Census data.

For generations Melbourne's suburbs have been shaped by cultures and people from all around the world. The interactive map shows where migrants from around the world have settled in Melbourne. If you click or touch an area on the map, it will show the five most common countries of birth for people in that suburb.

The Age have also developed a fun quiz based on 2016 Census data: How well do you know your suburb?

To view the articles, check out The Age website.

Screenshot of The Age's suburb quiz

Small Multiples

Where people choose to live is important - it's a lively reflection of the past, present and future of Australian cities. Small Multiples have developed a suite of interactive maps that offer a fascinating insight into the cultural diversity of our capital city suburbs.

The maps focus on Sydney and Melbourne; two of Australia's largest cities and the many nationalities which inhabit them.

Check out the maps at the Small Multiples website.

Screenshot of one of Small Multiples Maps

SBS Census Explorer

After every Census the SBS develop a suit of interactive tools using the new data; one of these is the Census Explorer.

The Census Explorer lets you go behind the statistics to uncover a rich, visual portrait of who we are, where we live, where we come from, and what languages we speak.

To see how your Australia is changing, use Census Explorer on the SBS website.

Screenshot of SBS website


Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 25 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

With ABS 2016 Census data showing that our country is becoming increasingly culturally diverse, Lifeline is committed to meeting the needs of people from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.

To find out how Lifeline is using the Census data and the steps they are taking to reach their goals visit Lifeline.

If you ever need help call Lifeline at: 13 11 14.

Screenshot of Lifeline website


Reading tables full of data can be hard on the eyes and mind, sometimes the best way to view the information is through visual data.

The folks from ABC News have analysed the results from the 2016 Census, re-imaging the data into a colourful and easy to read infographic that helps the everyday user understand the data.

The infographic uses groups of dots; 100 in total, each representing 1 percent of the Australian population, to compare and contrast the grouping of different demographics, communities and topics.

Find this awesome infographic on the ABC News website.

Screenshot of ABC website

Herald Sun - Kids News

Kids News provides a fun article about the results from the Census for students in the classroom.

The content has been re-written using child appropriate language and provides a safe online environment, allowing pupils to use the site unsupervised or for independent learning.

The article also includes two classroom activities which can be used by teachers to base their lesson around.

Check out the article on the Kids News website.

Screenshot of ABC website

The Guardian

The whizzes from The Guardian have developed a wonderful interactive map that allows you to explore the ABS 2016 Census data.

The map shows results for every region with 100 or more people within categories such as average household size, languages spoken, male to female ratio and many more.

Keep your ears and eyes open for future updates on The Guardian website as data releases for TableBuilder and DataPacks become available allowing for more in depth analysis.

Screenshot of The Guardian website

Queensland Government

The Queensland Government Statistician's Office website contains a wide range of demographic, economic and social data relating to the State of Queensland.

Access a wide range of documents that provide summary reports, statistical snapshots, highlighting key findings about Queensland's residents, community's and region.

Screenshot of Queensland Government website

.id the population experts

Time and time again, the people from .Id continue to create helpful tools that use Census data allowing you to easily gather in-depth information for local government areas and suburbs within Australia.

Tools such as Community Profiles, Populations Forecasts and Social Atlases are used by a diverse range of clients including: education providers, housing developers, retailers, health care providers, sporting organisations and many more to make confident decisions about when and where to locate their services based on demographic and economic evidence.

Find creative tools on the .id the population experts website.

Screenshot of .id website

The Guardian

Are people moving into your area or away? Is the population getting older? Has the cost of housing gone up?

The Guardian has developed another helpful tool; the Census Stories, allowing you to view how your town or suburb has changed over 10 years though easy to read information and charts.

Check out the page on The Guardian website.

Screenshot of The Guardian website


McCrindle excels in the transformation of data, believing in the free flow of information, "research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies".

The team from McCrindle are experts in analysing the results from the Census, re-imaging the data into colourful and easy to read infographics and data animations that help every day users understand the data.

Check out their infographics on the McCrindle website.

Screenshot of McCrindle website