Who are your Communities of Interest?
For a long time, at .id training sessions, I’ve been asked whether we provide cross-tabulated information.
Often this is in the form of questions, like “Can you tell me how old our Indian-born population are?”. Or “Are those aged 18-24 living independently or still at home with their parents?”. Or even “Are our recently arrived migrants living with extended family?”.
Until now, profile.id has not been set up to answer these sort of questions directly.
We’ve always had a wealth of info on individual suburbs, with comparisons to benchmarks, and change over time, and we’ve been able to make inferences from this dataset about some of those questions, but now we have a module which enables you to answer these questions directly.
It’s called Communities of Interest, and it’s available as an optional module in profile.id.
What is a community of interest?
A community of interest is defined as any population group you are interested in telling the demographic story of. Profile.id normally defines a community by its geographic location (e.g. suburb).
However in the Communities of Interest module, it’s defined on the basis of a particular demographic characteristic. We’ve defined the most commonly requested ones as follows:
- Life stages – Standard groupings are 0-4, 5-11, 12-17, 18-24, 25-54, 55-64, 65+ and 80+, but other age groupings can be defined. People have different living arrangements, incomes, carer responsibilities, education levels at different stages of life. This information helps you to tell the story of each age group in your area, and how they differ or are similar to the same age group elsewhere, or the total population. Many areas of council provide services based on age so this will have wide applicability across council.
- Cultural Diversity – Many areas in Australia have a high level of cultural diversity, with population born overseas or speaking a language other than English at home. Many areas of council are involved in assisting new arrivals to settle into Australian life, provide translation services and maintain library collections in multiple languages. Communities of interest based on All Overseas Born, All Non-English Speaking and Recent Arrivals are available, as well as profiles for individual birthplace or language groups. For instance, a profile of people born in China, or people speaking Hungarian at home.
- Disadvantage – People with a disability, or people living in low income households are key target groups for assistance, and these can be profiled through Communities of Interest modules as well.
- Indigenous – The indigenous profile is being moved under the umbrella of Communities of Interest, so users can look specifically at their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, with comparisons to the wider community and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elsewhere.
What comparisons can you make?
All communities of interest can be compared in two ways:
- Comparison between your selected community of interest and the total population. To answer questions like “Are recently arrived migrants more likely to be living in high density housing than the total population of our area?”
- Comparison between your selected community of interest and the same community in the broader region, state or nation. To answer questions like “Are 18-24 year olds in our area attending university at a higher rate than those in other areas?”.
The information is presented in intuitive charts and tables and textual analysis which can be easily exported for use in your own reports. In addition, for clients with atlas.id, any selected community of interest will automatically have a map added to atlas.id, showing the distribution of your selected community across your area.
What does the Communities of Interest module show?
Our first client for Communities of Interest is the City of Parramatta. They have worked with .id for many years on similar (offline) reports on life stages and cultural groups, to inform their ongoing social plan, and provide an information resource for community organisations to understand their client base. You can view the City of Parramatta Communities of Interest here. They sit in the left hand menu directly underneath the regular area profiles. Some of the interesting things which the Parramatta site shows:
- Compared to 18-24 year olds elsewhere in Sydney, those in Parramatta have higher education levels but are no more likely to be attending tertiary education. They live in lower income households and are more likely to be found in couple families without children than the Sydney average.
- In contrast, Parramatta’s retirees, aged 65+, had lower qualifications than retirees elsewhere, but were more likely to still have children living at home (18% in this category and a large increase). Overseas migration is not restricted to the young, with 46% of those aged 65+ being born overseas, and China being the largest group.
- Recently arrived migrants (last 5 years) in Parramatta are very young (in their 20s), and overwhelmingly from India (42%). They are a little more likely to be in large households (5 or more people) than the total population, but slightly less than the Greater Sydney average for recent arrivals. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all students, with only 11.8% of Recent Arrivals attending university.
- People born in India – almost 30% were in a single 5 year cohort, aged 25-29, but despite large population growth there was a small decline in those aged 18-24 and attending university. Most Indian-born population are living in families with children with a relatively small number in group households and almost none living in single person households.
How do I access communities of interest?
Communities of Interest is available as an optional, add-on module for all councils with profile.id. There are some standard groupings but age groups and birthplaces/languages can be customised as well. There are minimum population requirements on each of the Communities of Interest, so not all communities will be suitable for all Local Government Areas.
Please contact .id for further information and a quote on Communities of Interest in your area. Or you can fill in this registration of interest form and we’ll get in touch with you.