.id monthly insight
.id insight Newsletter
June 2019 Edition

Questioning our assumptions

The debate around polling and its shortcomings to predict the outcome of elections raises some interesting points about how we use data. 

When data misleads us, disappoints us or just seems to be outright wrong, the tendency is to dismiss it as useless.

But don’t blame the data! No doubt there are issues with collecting subjective polling data that need to be addressed, but simply disregarding this source of data is a mistake. It’s surprising on how much the political class seems to rely so much on polling alone to make significant decisions. Rebecca Huntley recently discussed how Labor lost the unlosable election on Radio National with Richard Fiedler. The rule is, using one data source is risky at best.

At .id we are steeped in analysing objective data but we never use one source of information exclusively. Other sources of information range from looking at alternative secondary sources, collecting primary data and juxtaposing objective with subjective data.

I’m an old school geographer and my favourite way of pursuing understanding is ‘ground truth-ing’ - visiting the place of analysis and having a good look around, getting ‘mud on your boots’, asking some questions of the local experts, actively looking to question your assumptions. With so much data available on your desktop, it is tempting, but we never present an analysis of a place without visiting it. 

Being ‘on the ground’ is when the heart connects with the head, elevating your professional judgement from ‘knowing’ to ‘understanding’. 

At .id, we are currently exploring using subjective polling data juxtaposed with our objective data. Our partners in this experiment, Ipsos, are employing some very innovative techniques to capture the sentiment of people about their place. I’m very excited about the potential of this project, so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, we suggest don’t use one data source only; don’t blame the data, improve it; and we should actively question our assumptions!

Author Ivan

Demographic analysis

Measuring gender equity in your community

Gender equity demographics


A new optional module in our community profiles makes it possible to compare the demographic characteristics of women and men in your area. Glenn shares some of the insights on offer from this new feature that evolved out of a piece of demographic consulting we recently completed for the City of Parramatta.


Focus on housing - part 1

How to measure housing stress in your LGA

Housing data


Georgia Allan shares some work we’ve done with the ABS in response to a recent change to the definition of ‘housing stress’ in some parts of Australia.

This change enables our local government partners to measure how many households, in different income brackets, are experiencing housing stress.


Focus on housing - part 2

Which LGAs show the highest rates of housing stress?

housing affordability crisis


Following her previous blog about housing stress, a number of people contacted Georgia wanting to know where housing stress was playing out at more of a local level.

We’re only looking at New South Wales and Victoria here (our fastest growing states), but it demonstrates the strong spatial patterns associated with housing stress.


Series: Drivers of population change

#3 - Internal migration

cdn2.hubspot.nethub320463hubfsNewsletter ImagesMigration pic


Internal migration’ is the forgotten component of population change.

In this, the third and final part in his three-part series on the components of population change, Glenn looks at the places in Australia that are most affected by people moving to (or coming from) other parts of the country.


Regional areas

The diverse demography of regional Australia

Peri-urban pic


We sometimes hear the story that rural and regional towns are in decline –  that their populations are ageing as they lose their youth to metropolitan centres of work and play.

And while that narrative is true for some regional towns, in this piece, Glenn looks at three towns in rural and regional Victoria, to show how the demographic story varies from place to place.


Knowledge base

Do you have a question about our public resources?



Have you ever been using one of our public resources and something didn't make sense?

In recent months we've been building up the library of answers in our Knowledge Base - a portal where you can ask questions like "Why can't I find data for my area?" or "Where can I find data about building approvals?"

Open our knowledge base here.


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