Launch of the 2011 Australian Census data!

Launch of the 2011 Australian Census data!

I was fortunate enough to to attend the launch of the 2011 Census at the Data Processing Centre in Melbourne today. Only about 50 people were invited to hear the results announcement.


Speakers included:

  • Jill Charker – Assistant Statistician in charge of the Census
  • Brian Pink – Australian Statistician
  • Dr Martin Parkinson – Secretary of the Treasury
  • Andrew Henderson – Head of the Census Data Processing Centre

Interestingly there were public servants but no politicians speaking at this launch.

Most of the session was formalities, talking about how Census has evolved over 100 years of Census-taking, and thanking the Australian people for participating in the Census, thanking all the 43,000 field staff that worked on the Census, and, interestingly, Brian Pink spent quite a while talking about plans for the NEXT Census, in 2016, in particular, that it will be all digital, with no paper form for most households. This references an article in the Canberra Times which we’ll be responding to in a blog shortly.

The results were announced by Andrew Henderson, who got up to speak at 11:25, talked for a couple of minutes, and then was told to wait 3 minutes until 11:30 before he said anything about the results. You can trust ABS to be sticklers for the launch time!

Headline results

The main results for Australia were announced. Unlike other Censuses where the main results were presented as a snapshot, the main focus was on what has changed Australia-wide. We’ll be putting together a number of blogs about these results in detail, and of course incorporating all the raw data into our sites as soon as possible, but the headline topics discussed were:

  • There were 21,507,718 Australian usual residents counted in 2011 (actually there was a sneak preview of this number yesterday in the release of Australian Demographic Statistics, so we already knew it).
  • This was an increase of 8.3% over 2006.
  • WA (14.3%) and Qld (11.0%) were the fastest growing states.
  • Nine of the top 10 fastest growing local government areas (of those with over 1,000 people) were in Western Australia, and 17 of the top 20. The other one was Wyndham in Melbourne.
  • Income results showed incomes increasing, but these were not inflation adjusted or benchmarked to quartiles so they are next to useless for a true comparison. Watch this space for our quartile-based analysis.
  • There was a 20.5% increase in the population identifying as Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, the largest increase in 40 years (since the 1971 Census which was the first to officially record them.)
  • The birthplace groups with the largest percentage increase (at least of those in the standard output) were India, which doubled (+100.8%) and China (+54%). New Zealand-born went up 24%.
  • One of the fastest growing religions was “No Religion”, up by 29% as per my 11th prediction, to 22.3% of the population. More on this later.

At 11:45am the launch broke up and the ABS provided many computers for people to access the site. I went to the ABS office to get .id’s data order, and then headed back to our office. The ABS website is still running quite slowly from what I can see, so you need to be patient when trying to access the Census data.

Until our sites are updated, you can get some Census data from the ABS website

.id will now be getting all the new data and loading it into our sites. Yesterday we published our schedule for updating these sites. There is a link on there to register to be notified as data are updated. Stay tuned to the blog for more exciting updates!
.id the population experts


Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is our resident Census expert. After ten years working at the ABS, Glenn's deep knowledge of the Census has been a crucial input in the development of our community profiles. These tools help everyday people uncover the rich and important stories about our communities that are often hidden deep in the Census data. Glenn is also our most prolific blogger - if you're reading this, you've just finished reading one of his blogs. Take a quick look at the front page of our blog and you'll no doubt find more of Glenn's latest work. As a client manager, Glenn travels the country giving sought-after briefings to councils and communities (these are also great opportunities for Glenn to tend to his rankings in Geolocation games such as Munzee and Geocaching).

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