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Topics @ a Glance - Regional Statistics
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Spatial Statistical Framework

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responding to the challenge of better integrating statistical and geospatial information by developing the Statistical Spatial Framework. By providing a common approach to connecting people-centric (socio-economic) information to a location, and improve the accessibility and usability of this spatially-enabled information, this Framework will enable:

  • improved planning for regional economies and communities
  • targeted service delivery at the small area level
  • community level decision making
  • integration of population, social and economic data in current geospatial analysis.

More information about the Statistical Spatial Framework can be found on the National Statistical Service website.

2011 Census of Population and Housing Data

The Census of Population and Housing is a key source of high quality statistical data for small geographic areas. Information about the 2011 Census of Population and Housing can be accessed from the Census page on the ABS website.

The first release phase of 2011 Census data commenced on 21 June 2012. This included the release of core demographic data items which are freely available in a variety of products from the Census Data & analysis page on the ABS website. This page also provides access to TableBuilder Pro and DataPacks which are designed for advanced Census data users.

The second release phase commenced on 30 October 2012 and included data items requiring more detailed processing, such as the 'Occupation' and 'Method of Travel to Work' variables. Second release 2011 Census data is now available in TableBuilder (Basic and Pro). The Place of Enumeration and Expanded Community Profiles with 2011 Census second release data are also available. The Working Population Community Profiles and online DataPacks for Place of Enumeration, Expanded and Working population profiles were released on 20 November 2012. Mesh Blocks are the smallest geographic region in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), and the smallest geographical unit for which Census data are available. For 2011, Mesh Block counts were released on 11 December 2012 by usual residence for basic person and dwelling counts in Mesh Block Counts, 2011 (cat. no. 2074.0).

The supplementary data release, or third release which began on 28 March 2013, included the dissemination of highly specialised products such as Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), the Census Sample Files and the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset. This finalised all Census data output from the 2011 Census.

More detailed information about the 2011 Census data products, the release schedule and changes between the 2006 and 2011 Census, is included in Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing -- Products and Services, 2011 (cat. no. 2011.0.55.001).

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)

In July 2011 the ABS began to progressively replace the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The ASGS is a hierarchy of geographic structures (boundaries) designed to meet the specific requirements of ABS statistical outputs as well as being able to represent commonly used Non ABS boundaries, such as Local Government Areas (LGAs). The ASGC regions such as Census Collection Districts (CCDs), Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Statistical Divisions (SDs) have been replaced by the new set of statistical areas.

The ABS published the ASGS manual with the boundaries, labels and codes for many ASGS regions in December 2010, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001). The ASGS came into effect on 1 July 2011.

Regions included in the ASGS Indigenous Structure were released in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002), in September 2011.

The ASGS manual containing the digital boundaries, labels and codes for regions not defined by the ABS, such as postal areas, state suburbs and electoral divisions, was first released in July 2011. The latest release is in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

Urban Centres and Localities, and Section of State regions were released in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.004), in October 2012.

The fifth ASGS Structures publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure (cat. no. 1270.0.55.004), was released in January 2013.

ABS defined ASGS regions will not change until the next Census in 2016. Regions not defined by the ABS will be updated annually.

Correspondence files are used to transform data from one geography to another. The ABS has made an extensive range of correspondence files available to assist with the implementation of the ASGS. Several correspondences, including LGA, were released in June and July 2012 in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Correspondences, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.006). An LGA to Remoteness 2011 correspondence file became available in January 2013.

You can find more information about the ASGS in the Statistical Geography section of the ABS website. If you have any questions regarding the ASGS please email

Annual Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

Preliminary sub-state population estimates as at June 2013 were released in Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2012-13 (cat. no. 3218.0) on 3 April 2014. This release of Regional Population Growth contains estimates for Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) and other ASGS-based regions, including Local Government Areas, Remoteness Areas and Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions.

Age-sex breakdowns of these estimates were released on 28 August 2014 in Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 3235.0).

Throughout 2013, the ABS conducted a one-off exercise to revise (recast) population estimates for a longer time period, back to 1991. This was necessary due to a significant improvement in the methodology used to estimate net undercount in the 2011 Census. For more information, refer to the 20 June 2013 release of Australian Demographic Statistics, Feature Article 2: Recasting 20 years of ERP.

Regional Profiles

Looking for data for your region? The National Regional Profile (NRP) contains data for over 3,000 regions across Australia, with five years of data where it is available. The NRP is available through the Data by Region navigator which uses a map interface to make it easier to find your region of interest.

The NRP contains a range of data from the ABS and other sources, for geographic areas based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), such as Statistical Areas and Local Government Areas right up to State/Territory and Australia. The data is presented for all years on common boundaries, making it easy to compare data over time. Some of the data in the NRP is not released at such small levels anywhere else on the ABS website.


Subscribers to the two Regional Statistics National Centre newsletters, Local Government and ABS (cat. no. 1376.0) and What's New in Regional Statistics (cat. no. 1386.0), are advised that these were discontinued at the end of 2013.

Regional statistics can continue to be accessed from the National Regional Profile (NRP) which is available from the Data by Region navigator.

The Regional @ a Glance pages will continue to be maintained to provide a starting point for users looking for data or information about regional statistics. These pages are targeted at users of data for regions below state and territory level. This includes urban, rural, metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, including local government areas. The entry page provides a number of access points to a variety of information on regional statistics.

2016 Census Planning

Planning for the 2016 Census of Population and Housing is underway.

The ABS released a publication proposing directions for Australia's 17th national Census, to be held in 2016.

The publication Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0) outlines initial ABS views on topics and procedures for the 2016 Census.

The ABS conducted a consultation process with Census data users and the general public. The consultation process included:
■public information sessions held in 2012 where the ABS presented proposed directions for 2016.
■a submission period (November 2012 to May 2013) where interested parties formally submitted their feedback and suggestions to the ABS via an online submission form or email to the ABS.

The information paper Census of Population and Housing: Submissions Report, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0.55.001) was released on 26 September 2013. The report summarises the key themes emerging from the public submissions and includes a brief overview of the 2016 Census content, public consultation, submission process and privacy disclaimer.

Following assessment of submissions, final recommendations on the nature and content of the 2016 Census were discussed with the Australian Statistical Advisory Council (ASAC) in late 2013. The ABS will then make a submission to the Government outlining the recommendations on the nature and content of the 2016 Census which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2014.

2016 Census Field Tests

In preparation for the 2016 Census the ABS conducts several field tests. These tests allow the trial of new field procedures and systems.

Field test were conducted in Canberra in 2012 and the Greater Geelong region in 2013, in which involved approximately 30,000 households.

The next field test will occur in selected parts of South Australia and Western Australia from July through to September of 2014, and will involve approximately 100,000 households. If you are selected to participate in the test the ABS would encourage your full participation as it will help improve our procedures and will go along way to ensure a successful 2016 Census.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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