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Census Data - Strengths and Limitations

The Australian census is an invaluable resource to support public sector and commercial decision-making. Its frequency, content coverage, respondent compliance, and robustness of process, have resulted in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) being recognised as one of the world's leading census agencies. Without question, the census offers a valuable resource for any marketer with an interest in the culturally and linguistically diverse fabric of Australian society.

However, because the census data is subject to strict confidentiality standards, census data is unable to assist public service providers and marketers who need to understand the cultural origins of their client groups at the individual level.

Even at the local geographical level of the Statistical Area 1 (formerly a Collector District), census data represents an aggregated view of ethnic diversity. Randomisation rules mean that the presence of distinct cultural groups at low levels of geography is often concealed or misrepresented. Consequently, the ability of the census data to be actioned is limited.

Origins allows marketers and managers to identify cultural and linguistic dimensions of customers, clients, prospects and employees at the individual level. Cultural, Ethnic and Linguistic (CEL) codes assigned to individuals offer a means to analyse, select, and target individual people with appropriate communications to achieve organisational goals. OriginsInfo complements census data and strengthens cultural origin information.

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