Articles on Australian Bureau of Statistics

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Stories can have a profound effect on our behaviour. Shutterstock

How storytelling drives finance and economics

History shows us that narratives play an important role in market behaviour. But new research shows that all it takes is a simple story that matches our preconceived notions.
Labour force surveys and the Census just aren’t getting it right when it comes to the crucial task of measuring employment. Census WA/AAP

We need to find new ways to measure the Australian labour force

The ABS' labour force survey is more than 50 years old. We need a new way of measuring employment for a new modes of work.
Labor’s Chris Bowen says Australian workers are doing it tough. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

FactCheck: is wage growth at record lows?

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Australian wages growth is at record lows. Is that true?
If enough people from a particular group don’t complete the Census, it can disrupt the data. Shutterstock

Forget the Census undercount, what matters is bias

If the response rate to the 2016 Census is lower than expected, it could compromise our ability to draw meaningful information from the data.
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.
How can we assess whether or not Australian cultural policies work if we don’t have the data to measure participation? AAP Image/Nikki Short

What ABS cultural participation data tells us about cultural policy

The results of the latest cultural participation survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show how valuable the data really is.
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…
Queensland’s debt: is it sky high, or under control? An economist shows what you need to know to judge for yourself. AAP/Dan Peled

The true state of Queensland debt

How much debt is Queensland really in? How much of that debt can past Labor governments bear responsibility for, and has the current Liberal National government cut or added to it? And how does Queensland’s…
If we want to know whether screening saves lives, we need to show a reduction in the cancer death rate rather than an increase in the survival rate. Steven Depolo/Flickr

When talking about cancer screening, survival rates mislead

Cancer screening is beneficial when it’s able to prevent people dying from cancer. And it should clearly be adopted where there’s evidence showing this. But using cancer survival rates to promote screening…
Finding a job can be hard work – luckily, knowing which unemployment figures to pay attention to is much easier. AAP Image/Joel Carrett

What unemployment figures really say about Queensland

Queensland unemployment recently plummeted – or did it? Whether you’re a Queenslander getting ready to vote in the January 31 state election, or simply someone interested in employment trends in Australia…
Alternatives to GDP are already in use, but are yet to gain widespread acceptance. Image sourced from

Beyond GDP: are there better ways to measure well-being?

“At present, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.” — Paul Hawken Imagine if a corporation used Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounting to do its books: it would be…

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