We are currently in the midst of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ release schedule of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing data. With a multitude of high quality, freely available, relatively recent demographic information at your fingertips, one could be forgiven for imagining enlisting consultancy services for this particular area would be redundant. However, with every information source comes caveats, limitations, and issues. Proper interpretation requires not only understanding the intended use of the information, but also a strong understanding of Census data itself. As Consultant Statisticians experienced in the use of Census and other demographic data, Data Analysis Australia bridges these two understandings, providing tailored information selection and advice to suit particular needs.
A recent and illustrative example relates to a set of community profiles created to enable Horizon Power (Western Australia’s regional and remote electricity provider) to better understand their customers. In the instance of Census data for the Shire of Roebourne alone – a large Shire in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia, including the township of Karratha, a major hub for the resource industry - there are many a minefield awaiting the unsuspecting user.
Census population counts come in three standard forms a count by place of usual residence, a count by place of enumeration (location on Census night itself), and a count by place of employment. Place of employment counts are limited in availability by difficulties in geocoding to small geographic regions, and were not utilised in the development of the community profiles as they were available for so few of Horizon Power’s supply regions.