TableBuilder is an online tool which enables users to create their own tables using 2011 and 2006 Census data. TableBuilder is designed for clients with knowledge of Census concepts and experience using Census data. It allows access to nearly all classifications in the Census Dictionary, giving users the ability to choose to count persons, families or dwellings; select topic-based data items; and structure a data table to their specific needs.

This product is designed to provide clients with the highest degree of freedom in selecting and combining data items with the geographical areas most suited to their needs. TableBuilder includes the latest geographic areas in line with the new Australian Standard Geographic Structure (ASGS). You can access data for areas as small as a Statistical Area 1 (SA1) (approximately 200 to 800 people) or as large as an entire State/Territory or Australia.

TableBuilder also allows you the freedom to select and combine areas and classifications that interest you by creating your own customised geographic areas and customised classifications.

This user manual contains detailed instructions on how to make the best use of each feature within TableBuilder. Additional help links are available on each screen throughout the application. This manual is designed to be used as a reference guide.

Census TableBuilder was jointly developed by the ABS and Space-Time Research Pty Ltd (STR).

1.1 What's new for 2011?

2011 Census TableBuilder has sophisticated features which allow you to create your own custom geographic areas and classifications and share these with other people.

2011 TableBuilder provides:
  • the ability to extract and manipulate an unlimited number of Census tables
  • the ability to view and export data in a variety of graphs and maps
  • access to run large tables in Large Table mode
  • improved maps for selecting areas and displaying themes
  • the ability to create custom groups (recodes) for data items or geographic areas and share these with other users or within another database, via a CSV file
  • new download formats; PDF and KMZ are available.

1.1.1 Views in TableBuilder 2011

TableBuilder has one login page allowing access to all the 2011 and 2006 Census data that you have registered for.

Login screen

Example of TableBuilder Pro databases.

Table Builder Pro home screen with the database section open


Example of some TableBuilder Basic databases.

Table Builder Basic home screen with the database section open


Table View: this view enables you to create your customised table.

Table view tab selected with customise table options


Graph View: this view enables you to create different types of graphs for the table you have generated.

Graph view selected with the customise graph options highlighted


Map View: this view enables you to create a customised map.

Map view selected with the map displayed and customise map options


Map View
In Map View you can select areas from a map and add them to your table. You can also add or remove areas from the map and re-generate the data in the table; the thematic map will automatically update with your new area selection. You can change the settings for the map, including changing colours and data ranges.

MapView – Example of a generated map.

Thematic map in Map View with the freehand select button highlighted


You can use various selection methods to select areas to map: single, freehand or rectangle. Once you have made the selection, you can also add more areas or remove areas from your map. Apply the changes and your new table will be generated.

Map View in ‘Rectangle’ selection mode


When you return to Table View the new updated data will be available in your table.

Table View displaying the added geographies from map selection


Return to Map View and the new thematic map with your selection will be displayed.

Map View displaying the added geographies in the thematic map


1. 1. 2 Ability to save and import custom groups

You can share customised data items and tables with other users.

Geography tree showing custom geographies and download button selected

1.2 Summary of features

Once you are logged into TableBuilder, you will select your database. A blank table will open where you can add Census data items and geographic areas to produce your own small or large table. Smaller tables may be exported or viewed as graphs and thematic maps within TableBuilder. Large tables can be created, previewed, and submitted for processing; the results are then downloaded directly to your computer for further interrogation without the need to view the data in your web browser.

The tables, graphs and maps created in TableBuilder can be downloaded in a variety of formats. Tables can also be saved within the product so they can be retrieved in future sessions.

Summary of features:
  • Create your own tables with up to 5 million cells, using any combination of variables
  • View your data as a map or graph
  • Create and save custom groups
  • Save your data for use in future sessions
  • Import and export to share custom groups with other users
  • All available data are confidentialised.

1.3 Data availability

There are two versions of TableBuilder:
  • TableBuilder Basic – These databases are designed for clients with some experience using Census data and skills in constructing basic data tables.
  • TableBuilder Pro – These databases are designed for advanced Census users who want the freedom to create large and complex tables.

TableBuilder is one product, with one access point. The only fundamental differences between Basic and Pro are the data and counting methods in each database.

TableBuilder Basic – 2011 Census data
Each database includes a method of count, data classifications and geographic classifications.

There are 12 predefined topic databases:
  1. Cultural and Language Diversity
  2. Education and Qualifications
  3. Employment, Income and Unpaid Work
  4. Disability, Carers and Need for Assistance
  5. Children and Childcare
  6. Usual Address and Internal Migration
  7. Persons and Relationships
  8. Persons in Private Dwellings
  9. Persons in Non-Private Dwellings
  10. Family Characteristics
  11. Dwelling Characteristics
  12. Household Income and Expenditure.

To help you get started, predefined data tables on selected topics are also available. These topics include:
  • Persons Characteristics
  • Carers and Need for Assistance
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Ethnicity, Language and Religion
  • Place of Work
  • Usual Address and Internal Migration
  • Family Characteristics
  • Children and Childcare
  • Dwelling Characteristics
  • Household Income and Expenditure.

TableBuilder Basic – 2006 Census data
The 2006 TableBuilder Basic databases are:
  1. Ethnicity
  2. Families
  3. Dwellings
  4. Education
  5. Relationship
  6. Childcare
  7. Labour Force
  8. Migration
  9. Persons in Dwellings
  10. Disability
  11. Place of Work.

For more information on data in TableBuilder Basic, see TableBuilder data & geography.
TableBuilder Basic is available free of charge through the Registration Centre.

TableBuilder Pro
TableBuilder Pro databases provide access to nearly all Census variables for persons, families and dwellings, supporting a huge variety of cross-classifications. This is the key difference between TableBuilder Basic and TableBuilder Pro.

TableBuilder Pro – 2011 Census data
The2011 TableBuilder Pro databases are:
  1. Counting Persons, Place of Usual Residence (includes persons data only)
  2. Counting Persons, Place of Enumeration (includes persons, dwellings and family data)
  3. Counting Persons, Place of Work (includes employed persons data only)
  4. Counting Families, Place of Usual Residence (includes dwelling and family data)
  5. Counting Dwellings, Place of Enumeration (includes dwelling data only).

To register for TableBuilder Pro, go to the Registration Centre. TableBuilder Pro is a charged product.

TableBuilder Pro – 2006 Census data
The 2006 TableBuilder Pro databases are:
  1. Counting Persons, Place of Usual Residence (includes persons data only)
  2. Counting Persons, Place of Enumeration (includes persons, dwellings and family data)
  3. Counting Persons, Place of Work (includes employed persons data only)
  4. Counting Families, Place of Enumeration (includes dwelling and family data)
  5. Counting Dwellings, Place of Enumeration (includes dwelling data only).

For more information on data in TableBuilder Pro, see TableBuilder data & geography.
For information on ‘method of count’, see Chapter 12.

1.4 Geography

This product uses a generalised version of ABS geographic boundaries. A generalised version of the geographic boundary is a simplified version of the actual boundary.

The boundary is simplified using the Douglas method which reduces the density of points in the boundary. This removes some of the detail in the boundaries, including very small islands, and reduces the file size which enables the application to run more efficiently.

Users should be aware that these boundaries are not an exact representation of the actual Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) or Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) boundaries. The exact ASGS and ASGC boundaries are available from the ABS Statistical Geography Portal, www.abs.gov.au/geography.

1.5 Minimum system requirements

TableBuilder is designed to work with most modern web browsers. For best results, we recommend you always use the current version of one of the supported browsers, with Java enabled. In addition to improving your experience using TableBuilder, upgrading your browser allows web pages to display faster and provides the latest security updates. The recommended web browsers for use with TableBuilder are:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (versions 8 and 9)
  • Mozilla Firefox (versions 3.6 and 5)
  • Safari (version 9)
  • Google Chrome 10.

TableBuilder is a visual application and best suited for users whom are able to use a mouse or touch pad to move on-screen elements. Therefore TableBuilder may not be the best data tool for all users. Census data are available through other online products which may be easily navigated without the use of a mouse. For access to these, go to www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/data.

1.6 Data quality and confidentiality

In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the data in TableBuilder are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. This confidentiality process is performed to avoid releasing information that may allow for identification of particular individuals, families, households, or dwellings, without impairing the usefulness of the tables.

In TableBuilder the confidentiality routine is applied dynamically when the data items are retrieved, after any aggregations, including custom data groups and geographic areas, have been completed. This results in the data returned being of the highest quality, as the effect of the confidentiality is not compounded.

Care should be taken in analysing tables with cells containing small numbers. No reliance should be placed on small number cells. Aside from the effects of the confidentiality process, possible respondent and processing errors have the greatest relative impact on small numbers.

A technique has been developed to randomly adjust cell values. Random adjustment of the data is considered to be the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable Census data. When the technique is applied, all cells are slightly adjusted to prevent any identifiable data being exposed. These adjustments result in small introduced random errors. However, the information value of the table as a whole is not impaired.

The totals and subtotals in tables are also subjected to small adjustments. These adjustments of totals and subtotals include modifications to preserve the additivity within tables. Although each table of this kind is internally consistent, comparisons between tables which contain similar data may show some minor discrepancies. In addition the tables at different geographic levels are adjusted independently, and tables at the higher geographic level may not be equal to the sum of the tables for the component geographic units.

It is not possible to determine which individual figures have been affected by the introduced random error adjustments, but the small variance which may be associated with derived totals can, for the most part, be ignored.

Further information regarding the data quality of particular Census variables can be found on the Census Data Quality page accessed from www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/statements.