.id monthly insight
.id insight Newsletter
March 2018 Edition

Use data for good and not evil, or lose it!

In the face of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, I’m gloating as a paranoid baby boomer because I’ve never engaged in the Facebook thing - I’ve intuitively been suspicious of the exposure.

But so what? My 17-year-old son has no problem with the convenience of Facebook as a communication tool and as a portal to information. His ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide’ argument is based on the convenience of Facebook outweighing the threat of unauthorised use of your personal data.

As a professional data user though, my concerns are the loss of people’s participation in data provision.

The beauty of Census collection is it reflects the overwhelming desire for people (including paranoid baby boomers) to participate in their democracy by providing data for the greater good. The only way this participation can continue is if we are assured that personal details are kept that way and that the outcomes of the collection are useful.

The 2017 Australian census debacle was not so much about people not wanting to participate in the Census but their frustration in getting access to the questionnaire. Even after the pain of being hijacked by hackers, Australians recorded a 96% response rate. The recently run 2018 New Zealand Census ran like a dream (thanks to Nenad for his excellent blog on that). Once again, Australians can learn a lot from the Kiwis.

I note in the (not so) United States, the veracity of the upcoming 2020 Census is threatened by being blatantly politicised by the Republicans.

The thing is, we need to consistently share how central quality data is to the making of informed decisions.

Glenn has published two important blogs that inform us of the importance of addressing inequality in our society, covering disadvantage and homelessness, which, without the availability of quality data, we would just be theorising about. These are excellent examples of how to use data for good and not evil.

Author Ivan

SEIFA data release

New insights to social disadvantage



Which pockets of our communities enjoy the most advantage, and which are most disadvantaged?

SEIFA, or the Socio-Economic Indicators for Areas, was released on March 27th, giving us fresh insights into the small areas in across Australia that rank highest or lowest on the ABS' scale of socio-economic advantage or disadvantage.


SEIFA data release

Tips for analysing SEIFA data

Understanding SEIFA data


What aspects of your everyday life help you live comfortably and prosper?

If you think about it, your answers may be different to ten years ago (your reliance on internet connectivity, for example).

For that reason, the ABS changes how the SEIFA index of socio-economic advantage and disadvantage is calculated each census period.

In this short piece, Glenn helps you understand how SEIFA was calculated this time around and explains a few limitations, such as comparing rankings over time.


New Zealand Census

A successful, progressive Census

Estimated resident population revisions  - 'they keep moving'


Most New Zealanders were sitting at a computer when they filled out their Census forms last month.

Statistics New Zealand are now celebrating the successful delivery of their Census, with a digital-first focus and revised questions to reflect challenges such as measuring migration and equivalence of responses in different languages.


New data in profile.id

Who are Australia's homeless?

Who are Australia's homeless?


Questions about homelessness are among the most frequently asked when we deliver briefings to councils and community groups.

However, the common picture of homelessness - people sleeping rough - accounts for only 7% of the homeless population of Australia, leaving us to consider other forms of homelessness such as temporary accommodation and severely crowded dwellings.


Australian migration data

Long term arrivals dominate migration data

What the latest overseas arrivals and departures data tells us about migration


In 1997, China didn't even appear in the top ten countries of origin for visitors to Australia.

Now, they're at number two, with over one million more visitors than just ten years ago.

Following Penny's recent series on migration trends in New Zealand, Simone has dug into the latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures data to reveal this and other stories about migration - the most variable and volatile influence on Australia's population.


Product update

New data added to profile.id and economy.id



If your local council subscribes to our community profile (profile.id) or economic profile (economy.id) tools, you can now see updated data for the following topics;

  • indigenous profiles
  • the need for assistance module
  • migration data
  • people who either work locally or work and live locally
  • housing costs 
  • local business counts, by industry
  • ...more

Be notified when new data is added

Subscribe to product updates here and we'll send you an email whenever we update our online tools with fresh data or new features.


In case you missed it

Where we thought we'd be in 2018

What will the world be like in 2018


50 years ago, twelve thought leaders gathered at a futurist conference in New York to ponder what the world would be like in 2018.

50 years on, it's 2018, so Jim wrote this piece taking a look at some of their predictions.

While some of their prophecies haven't eventuated, others proved to be remarkably prescient..

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