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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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What is a census-able way to run a census?

This is part of a series of FlagPosts exploring what the Census is, why it’s important, how other countries run censuses and what the alternatives—either officially proposed or informally discussed—may be (Part 1: Potential changes to the Australian Census: could it kill the goose that lays the statistical golden egg?). Read more...

ABS Labour Force revisions: a botch job or short term pain for long term gain?

Prior to releasing the September Labour Force Survey (LFS) results this month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced they were taking the unusual step of dropping the seasonally adjusted Labour Force estimates for July, August and September. Many users of the monthly survey results have since expressed concern about the quality and reliability of the estimates. Some of the commentary has suggested the recent issue with the estimates was due in part to budget cutbacks to the statistics agency. However, the recent volatility in the seasonally adjusted estimates is more likely to be associated with the changes the ABS has made to the LFS program rather than any budget pressures th... Read more...

Youth unemployment rates in small geographic areas - 2013

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently changed the dissemination of regional data from the monthly Labour Force Survey to reflect a new geographic standard. The Labour Force Survey is a key source of data on employment, unemployment, the labour force and associated rates and ratios.  Read more...

Retirement intentions and labour force participation by older workers

On 9 December 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the results of its 2012–13 survey on retirement and retirement intentions. The data collected by the survey provides information on retirement trends, the factors which influence decisions to retire, and the income arrangements that retirees and potential retirees have made to provide for their retirement. Another indicator of retirement behaviour is the participation by older workers in the labour force.Labour force participation amongst older workers has increased significantly over the past 15 years, particularly among females (Figure 1). The decision to retire is an important factor in understanding whether such an in... Read more...

Australians eat poorly, are overweight and unfit: but it’s not all bad news

The Australian Health Survey, a regular survey of Australia's health, shows that most Australian adults have a poor diet, are either overweight or obese and don’t get enough exercise. These unhealthy habits put us at greater risk of a range of adverse health outcomes including the development of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.The first results, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 29 October 2012, cover health status, health risk factors and long term health conditions. Results to be released later will cover health service use, more detailed information on dietary intake, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, biomedical health measures, and representa... Read more...

Small business - 2011 profile

Small business accounts for the majority of businesses in Australia. In terms of economic output and employment, it also makes a significant contribution.Counts of small businessesThe latest count of businesses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was for 30 June 2011. The statistics show:there were just over 2.1 million businesses in Australiaover 61 per cent were non-employing businesses andalmost 96 per cent were small businesses (defined as employing fewer than 20 persons, includes non-employing).Year on year the number of small businesses grew by 0.4 per cent in 2010-11. The fastest growth occurred in those businesses employing 15 to 19 persons, 0.9 per cent (See Table 1). Howev... Read more...

2011 Census release

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the first data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Australia’s population has risen to over 21.5 million, with more people born overseas. There has also been an increase in the proportion of Australians identifying as Indigenous, and fewer people now identify a religious affiliation.Australia’s migrant population is growing and changingIn the decade to 2011, the proportion of the population who were born overseas increased from 27.4% to 30.2%.Over the same period, the proportion of Australians with at least one parent born overseas increased from 42.7% to 46.3% There was a shift away from Europe and towards Asia. The number b... Read more...

Re-counting the homeless

  Counting the Homeless reports provide the most comprehensive picture of homelessness in Australia today. However, recently the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a discussion paper that calls into question the methodology underpinning Counting the Homeless figures. In the paper, the ABS proposes a new methodology for estimating the number of homeless Australians which, if it were implemented, would result in a statistically significant reduction in the estimate of homeless Australians.For example, applying the ABS’s proposed methodology to 2006 census data reduces the number of homeless people by around 40 per cent, from 104 676 to 63 472 people. Using the methodology on 20... Read more...

Suicide in Australia

Suicide is a preventable death that has very complex issues underlying it. According to the World Health Organization, each year approximately one million individuals commit suicide worldwide—one death every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide (around 10–20 million) each year. Suicide is ranked as one of the three leading causes of death among people aged 15–44.In Australia, 2132 deaths were as a result of suicide in 2009—six deaths per day—higher than transport accident deaths (1479). Even though suicide deaths are relatively small (out of a total of 140 760 registered deaths), it is a leading cause of death, ranked 14th in 2009 (the same as in 2000) but, more significantly, ranked 10th a... Read more...

Disability Support Pension Customers: Statistical Summary

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a means tested payment for people with a disability. To be eligible for the DSP a person must be permanently blind or have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment. To qualify for the DSP, a person must be aged 16 years or over but have not reached pension age at the time of claiming (for more information on eligibility see the Centrelink website). As at June 2010, there were 792 581 DSP customers, this is an increase of 35 463 (4.7 per cent change) from the previous year. As a proportion of the total Australian working age population, DSP customers (aged 15 to 64) made up 5.2 per cent. Of the 792 581, only 20 per cent (158 714) did... Read more...