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The ANU College of Law
Australia’s National Law School

2016 Census data release just around the corner

By Arek Drozda - 23 June 2017 0

Tuesday 27 of June 2017 is the official release date for 2016 Census data. The first batch of information will contain a comprehensive set of demographic and socio-economic topics for areas down to the local neighbourhood level.

The ABS Census of Population and Housing is conducted every five years and provides a comprehensive picture of Australia’s people, how they live and where they reside. The information collected during the Census is used to distribute government funds and plan services for the community – including those relating to housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals and the environment.

Census data is also used by individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors to make informed decisions on policy and planning issues that impact the lives of all Australians.

And of course, Census data is also a valuable source of statistics for research and data analysis in support of business activities as it provides comprehensive information on potential customers and markets.

All relevant Census 2016 related statistical geography is already released and can be put to a good use. This includes, for example, Mesh Blocks, the smallest statistical geography units and building blocks for all other larger structures, like suburbs or postal and local government areas, etc.

A unique feature of mesh blocks is that each one is classified according to a dominant use of the area, like residential, parkland, education, commercial, etc. This makes it possible to use mesh blocks to create simple maps of land use, as the one below for the ACT.

Canberra map: mesh blocks by category

It is no secret that parklands dominate in the ACT (69.3% of total land) but it may come as a surprise to many that primary production takes up 18.5% of the Territory’s land. Residential land occupies just 7.7% of the Territory.

This is just a taste of the information riches provided by the Census. Next week the media will be full of interesting facts and presentations about the Australian population and its diversity. Stay tuned!

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