2016 Census consultation now open!

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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3 Responses

  1. Alex says:

    The list of ‘Religious Affiliations’ should be ranked from biggest to smallest in the documented number of adherents from the 2011 Census. This would correct the bizarre situation in which the 2nd biggest group in the country, No Religion (including atheists, agnostics, rationalists etc), is listed LAST after comparatively obscure groups. Its discriminatory in the extreme to a huge share of the population to list the Non-religious last when they make up more than 1 in 5 people in Australia (and growing). I speculate that because of its placement, the non-religious population is considerably under-reported due to the confusing impression created by the ordering of the list that the ‘standard’ or ‘common’ responses are at the top.

    • Hi Alex, you are welcome to put in a submission on this topic – in fact generally Religion is the question the ABS receives the most submissions about. Requests to change the format have in the past fallen on deaf ears though. At least “No religion” gets a box to mark – the majority of religions apart from the 8-10 biggest ones have to be written in under “Other”. And the instructions clearly say to put no religion if you have none.

      The most logical reformatting would probably be to split it into two questions. 1. Does this person follow a religion? 2. If so, what is their religion?. You would lose information on the subcategories of No Religion such as Atheism and Rationalism though.

  2. Simone says:

    I went to the ABS info session at the Vic Office earlier this week. The presenters gave more detail about some of these proposals.

    IF the GNAF is of good enough quality, then it should suffice for a mail out. This approach is already taken in Canada and the US, with follow up by field officers if necessary. The traditional drop off/pick up will still be employed in areas where it is deemed most valuable, and this includes those parts of Australia where the GNAF is of poor quality. What defines “poor quality” is of course open to debate! I do think the GNAF has improved over the years but it does seem to take a while for new addresses to appear, so this will impact on greenfield areas. I do think some of the less common dwellings might be missed eg caravans, granny flats and shop-top dwellings.

    The dwelling structure issue was raised and it was agreed that this was one of the more contentious issues and that self-enumeration could impact on data quality. The ABS definitions of “separate houses” was raised and how the rather amigious definition (in my opinion) would be interpreted.

    There will of course be a testing program run by the ABS to test the proposed new procedures, as well as the proposed new topics. I agree that the second dwelling one has a lot of potential for uncovering more data about contemporary living arrangements. The ABS said they were looking at overseas research to guide their thinking on this.

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