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.id insight Newsletter
May 2018 Edition

Fear not! ...but be discerning

It is typical for consultants providing professional services to use fear to entice their clients to engage them and pay them well for their solutions.

I have witnessed this tactic frequently at conferences where a clever presenter provides profound insights into how utterly unknown and fearful the future is. “But fear not!”, they say, “I have the solution!”

Well, don’t be fearful but certainly be discerning about the evidence you use to make important decisions.

Appropriate use of data and its conversion into information is central to seeking the truth.

Our attempt to quantify things by allocating them to numbers is the first phase of the process of seeking evidence. However, this is also the most fraught phase. If, at this point, the data are not compatible, then the rest of the process of adding value - converting the data to information and knowledge - can be a fruitless waste of time.

In New Zealand and Australia, our economies are doing very well. Jobs are growing and for many of our clients, jobs growth is a central metric of success.

But changes in the way this data is collected have implications for compatibility when you’re pointing to changes over time. The temptation when you observe a favourable trend in the data is to quickly accept it, promote it and move on.

This newsletter uncovers some interesting facts about employment data in Australia and provides you with solutions, thanks to the hard work of .id’s brilliant team of experts.

The message is, fear not - but be discerning in the data you use.

Author Ivan

Employment data

A trap for young players



If you're using Census figures to report on employment in your area, tread carefully.

In the 2016 Census, the ABS changed the way employment figures were calculated so that workers who weren't previously counted were included in the 2016 figures.

The result: some places, or industries, have seen an increase in headline employment figures from 2011 to 2016, that doesn't actually represent real employment growth.

We've dealt with this in a few ways. We've sourced a comparable 2011 dataset from the ABS that uses the same collection methodology as the 2016 Census.

We also provide both modelled data and Census data in our economic profiles. Keenan's blog makes it very clear when each dataset should be used.


Population trends

The 50 largest cities and towns in Australia

Understanding SEIFA data


Welcome to the 2018 version of our most popular blog of all time - Glenn's list of the 50 largest cities and towns in Australia.

As one of the most urbanised nations in the world, the topline story probably won't surprise you: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide. In that order.

However, the real story here is contained within the intricacies of building this list. How do you decide where a city starts and finishes? And who came out on top in the great inter-city rivalries (Hobart v Launceston, Wollongong v Newcastle, and Ballarat v Bendigo)?


Location decisions

SaverPlus: a location decisions success story

Victoria to SE Queensland migration


In 2015, the SaverPlus team were working to expand their program to help disadvantaged families develop savings habits, by opening 60 service hubs in strategic locations across Australia.

We helped them choose these locations. 

Last month we attended the launch of a report reviewing the success of the program, which has now helped nearly 15,000 people save a combined $13.5 million. 

It's a terrific example of how demographic data can be used to make informed decisions - in this case, where to position this community service to maximise the benefit. 

Read the full case study:


Census questions

Final call: what question would you ask Australia?

Submit your questions for the 2021 Census


Could a Census question shed light on a subject you care about? 

As you might have seen by now, we're preparing a submission to the ABS in response to their call for feedback on the 2021 Census questions.

Whether you would like to see a question added, or you want to speak up for an existing question you feel should remain, this is your last chance to make your voice heard.

Leave a comment on our blog here to submit a question you care about.


Product updates

Be notified whenever new data is made available



We're continually updating our sites with fresh data and new features to help you use demographic and economic data to make informed decisions.

Subscribing to our product updates is the simple way to ensure you know when new data and features are added to our free online resources.


Frequently Asked Question

Who pays for these tools?



If you've accessed our online tools, you may wonder: who pays for all this information to be made freely available?

(The answer: your local council - probably)

If you're comparing your place to a neighbouring area, you may also wonder why the data for one area isn't available for another.

Those questions answered: here (and, how you can tell us you would like these tools in your area).

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