Articles on Census

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The act of taking a census is as old as civilisation itself. AAP/Dean Lewins

Explainer: what is the census, and why does it matter?

Census data have a real impact on the lives of Australians, from determining political representation through the distribution of electorates, to the allocation of government funding.
The ABS has safeguards to protect privacy and secure data collected in the census. AAP/Alan Porritt

Census 2016: should you be concerned about your privacy?

Privacy fears over longer retention of names and addresses in Census 2016 are understandable, but are also misinformed and exaggerated.
The last census revealed that just over 60% of Australians identified as Christian, but only one in seven of those attended church regularly. Shutterstock

This Easter, churches will be praying for a rebirth

Church affiliation and attendance is on the wane in Australia – a trend that is unlikely to be reversed be the recent slew of sex abuse scandals.
What you get out is what you put in. Keys image via www.shutterstock.com

Big Data analyses depend on starting with clean data points

Analyzing big data sets holds the promise of big insights. But the axiom "garbage in, garbage out" is particularly apt, since conclusions can be only as good as the raw data itself.
Census collectors go door to door in Sydney in 2011, the 100th year of census taking in Australia. Now the next census, due in 2016, is in doubt. AAP/Dean Lewins

Australians should learn from Canadians’ big census mistake

Before Australia proceeds with plans to devote fewer resources to a less frequent national census, we should consider the Canadian experience of what losing such rich data means.
Australia’s census covers a wide range of topics, including some that are very infrequently covered by other surveys. AAP/Dean Lewins

The census matters – making it less frequent is a risky idea

If reports are to be believed, both the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the federal government are strongly considering moving from a five-year to a ten-year census cycle. This move has been…
Who lives in a house like this? Only the census can tell you for sure. Rob Noble

Scrapping the census in 2014 would be a disaster

The coalition government has already secured its legacy in a torrent of cuts to public services. But it hopes to do more. It also wants to do away with the largest evidence base that is available to inform…
How many English people did I conquer again?

We still need the census to tell us who we really are

This week the Office for National Statistics opened a consultation on the future of the decennial national census. Two options are on the table: continuing the census, but with a switch to online collection…
With our population set to top 23 million, how have we got here, and what is the future of sustainable population growth in Australia? Brad Jward

23 million and counting: why Australia’s population outlook is the envy of the world

Australia’s population reaches 23 million today according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) online population clock. How do they know it’s today? They don’t really. The clock provides an estimate…
Recent arguments suggesting the size of the political debate around the Tasmanian forestry industry is disproportionate to its economic importance is misleading. AAP

Still here: why Tasmanian forest industry job figures are misleading

The Australia Institute (TAI) has recently used Census data to claim that the Tasmanian forest industry employs only 975 workers. Based on this, they argued that the size of the political debate about…
Peter Gurruwiwi of the Galpu nation getting ready to meet Dr Jill Charker from the Australian Bureau of Statisics during census collection in 2011. AAP/David Sproule

Australian Census: Indigenous Australia improves, but closing the gap is a long way off

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers…
Census information is tightly protected by privacy law, so why do so many Australians hate and fear the census? AAP

Big Brother’s little helper? Why people say no to the census

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the…

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