Who are your Communities of Interest?

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, 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

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. 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, any selected community of interest will automatically have a map added to, 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:

How do I access communities of interest?

Communities of Interest is available as an optional, add-on module for all councils with There are some standard groupings but age groups and birthplaces/languages can be customized 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.





Tags: How to
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).

Leave a Reply