Data Dictionary

Statistical glossary

Western Sydney

Western Sydney is based on an aggregation of NSW Electoral Commission Local Government Areas including: Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly. These LGAs make up the Western Sydney City Deal.

GCCSA

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

LGA

Local Government Areas

SA2

Statistical Areas Level 2

SA3

Statistical Areas Level 3

SA4

Statistical Areas Level 4

SUA

Significant Urban Areas

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Contextual Indicators

Population

Description

The number of people who live in a city. The annual population growth rate and the average annual growth rate over the past decade are also provided.

Rationale

Information about population levels and population growth over time can help users to understand likely pressures on housing, public infrastructure and services.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Persons

Data update

Annually

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Indigenous population

Description

The number of people who live in a city. The annual population growth rate and the average annual growth rate over the past decade are also provided.

Rationale

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are culturally and linguistically diverse. However, common to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a culture that is different to the non-Indigenous culture. Elements of cultural difference may include, but are not limited to: concept of family structure and community obligation, language, connection to country and continuation of traditional knowledge. This in turn has an effect on the areas of concern that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples might see as important to their wellbeing (see ABS Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, 2015).

Limitations

The ABS estimates that the 2016 Census undercounted the Indigenous population by around 18 per cent.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Population density

Description

Population density is measured as the number of persons per square kilometre in each city. Density estimates vary within cities as well as across cities. To control for within-city variation, city-wide estimates are constructed using a population-weighted average.

Rationale

Increasing density enables more people and businesses to access the benefits of being in a city, and can, for example, help spread the costs associated with building and maintaining infrastructure. However, increasing density also puts increased stress on the existing built and natural environment and can detract from a city’s liveability.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

Population densities are calculated for SA2s. SA2 density estimates are then aggregated to city geographies using a population-weighted average.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Persons per square kilometre

Data update

Annually

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Dwelling type

Description

The share of dwellings in a city that are detached houses, semi-detached houses, apartments or other.

Rationale

This indicator shows the degree of diversity in a city’s housing stock. Understanding this diversity can provide insights into a city’s population density, the dwelling options available to households, and local infrastructure, service and amenity needs.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Average household size

Description

The average number of people per occupied dwelling in a city.

Rationale

Trends in household size contain information about consumption and lifestyle preferences, the size of dwellings and housing affordability.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data on usual residents of dwellings and total number of occupied dwellings are summed to align with city geographies. A simple average is then calculated using the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Persons per dwelling

Data update

Five yearly

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Housing tenure

Description

The share of occupied private residential dwellings in a city that are owned outright by the occupier, owned with a mortgage, rented, or other.

Rationale

Housing tenure data can help users understand how changes in housing policy or the housing market will affect a city’s residents. Housing tenure has an impact on labour mobility. Owner occupiers are typically less likely to move locations compared with renters. Housing tenure also tends to be correlated with housing density: a larger share of renters live in higher density housing, and a larger share of owner-occupiers live in detached houses.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Life expectancy at birth

Description

The number of years a person born today is expected to live, assuming current age-specific death rates are experienced throughout their lifetime.

Rationale

Life expectancy is a proxy for the health of a city’s population.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS - Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia (Cat. No. 3302.0.55.001) – 2014-2016 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2016) SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

Life expectancy values are constructed using population weights.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Years

Data update

Annually

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Share in bottom household income quintile

Description

The share of a city’s households in the bottom 20 per cent of the national household income distribution. A figure below 20 per cent indicates that a city has proportionally fewer lower-income households than the Australian average.

Rationale

This indicator can help users understand the extent of socio-economic disadvantage in a city.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Index of relative socio-economic disadvantage

Description

The index of relative socio-economic disadvantage (IRSD) is one of the ABS Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). It is based on Census information and ranks cities in Australia according to relative disadvantage. A low score indicates relatively greater disadvantage. This could be because a city has many households with low incomes, many people with no qualifications, or many people in low skill occupations.

Rationale

Understanding the geography of socio-economic disadvantage is important for devising appropriate social policy interventions.

Limitations

The IRSD is an ordinal measure: a city with a score of 1000 will not be twice as disadvantaged as one with a score of 500. The IRSD only measures relative disadvantage: a city with a high score has a relatively low incidence of disadvantage, but this does not necessarily mean it has a large proportion of relatively advantaged people. The ABS advises that SEIFA are primarily designed to compare relative socio-economic characteristics of areas at a given point in time, not to compare individual areas across time.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2011 ABS – Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) – 2011 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 SEIFA scores are converted to city geographies using a population-weighted average.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Index

Data update

Five yearly

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Languages other than English

Description

The proportion of a city’s residents who speak a language other than English at home.

Rationale

This indicator is a measure of a city’s linguistic diversity. Understanding linguistic and, by association, cultural diversity can help target policies that support community integration and cohesion.

Limitations

This indicator does not measure English language proficiency. A relatively high proportion of residents speaking languages other than English at home does not necessarily imply lower levels of proficiency in English.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data is summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Age dependency ratio

Description

The ratio of the number of people aged 0 to 14 and 65 and over, to those aged 15 to 64. The dependency ratio represents the number of ‘dependents’ – those less likely to be active in the labour market – for every 100 people of working age. Proportions of people in the 0-14; 15 to 64; and 65+ age brackets are also provided, as is the median age in each city.

Rationale

The dependency ratio is an indicator of the pressure the economy is under to support its dependent population. The dependency ratio can also give an indication of which services might be in high demand in a city. For example, cities with a relatively large number of older people are likely to have high demand for aged-care services and retirement homes. Cities with a relatively large number of working-age people may have higher demand for childcare services and schools.

Limitations

Some people continue working beyond the age of 64 and not everyone aged 15 to 64 is employed.

Data source

ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Annually

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Median housing prices

Description

The median price over 12 months for

  • detached dwellings
  • non-detached dwellings

Non detached dwellings include townhouses and terrace houses, units and apartments.

Rationale

This indicator, together with ‘Household income’, can help users understand how affordable housing is in a city (see ‘Dwelling price to income ratio’).

Limitations

Differences in dwelling prices across cities are driven by a range of factors. These include income levels, amenity, and the flexibility of city planning and zoning systems in responding to changes in housing demand.

Data source

CoreLogic (custom data) 2017

Source-data geograph

SA2 (ASGS 2011) Method SA2 data on median prices are aggregated to align with city geographies using a weighted average. Weights are based on the number of dwellings sold in an SA2 as a fraction of total sales in the city.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

$

Data update

Quarterly

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Sector share of employment

Description

The proportion of employed persons in a city that work in:

  • goods producing industries
  • market services industries
  • non-market services industries

Goods producing industries include Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Mining; Manufacturing; Utilities; and Construction. Non-market services industries include Public Administration and Safety; Education and Training; and Health Care and Social Assistance. Market services comprise all other industries as defined by the ABS.

Rationale

Cities can have different industry specialisations and employment mixes, depending on factors such as local resource endowments, history and policy choices. As such, cities can have different policy needs and are affected by economic developments in different ways.

Limitations

ABS Labour Force employment data are based on place of residence. This means this indicator can be a poor proxy for the industry share of jobs located in a particular city in some circumstances. For example, mining employees flying out of Perth for work will tend to overstate the employment share of mining in Perth.

Data source

ABS – Labour Force (Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA4 data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated and an annual average is taken.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Quarterly

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Disability rate

Description

The proportion of a city’s population that self identifies as having disability. A person has disability if they report they have a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities.

Rationale

Disability can impact on a person’s capacity to participate in the economy and engage in the community. People with disability are also at a higher risk of becoming socially disadvantaged. This indicator can provide broad insights into service needs for people with disability in a city.

Limitations

This indicator provides no information on the type, cause or prevalence of disabilities people have.

Data source

ABS – Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, (Cat. No. 4430.0, custom data request) – 2015

Source-data geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Method

Source data align with city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Household income

Description

Median annual household income. A household’s income represents the combined income of all household members aged 15 years and older.

Rationale

Household income is a broad indicator of standard of living. It can also be compared against cost of living factors, such as housing prices, in different cities to obtain benchmarks for assessing affordability.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data on weekly household incomes are summed to align with city geographies. Weekly values are annualised. Medians are derived from Census data collected in ranges.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

$

Data update

Five yearly

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LinkedIn connectivity

Description

The average share of LinkedIn account holders’ contacts that are located:

  • in the same city
  • in other parts of Australia
  • overseas

Rationale

This indicator can help users understand how well connected workers in a city are to various markets. Knowledge exchange with a broader audience – e.g. those outside an account holder’s city – implies exposure to more diverse, innovative and novel views.

Limitations

This indicator gives no indication about the number of contacts the average account holder has. Data are not available for all cities.

Data source

LinkedIn

Source-data geography

GCCSA, SUA

Method

Source data geographies align with city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA, SUA

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Performance Indicators

Jobs and skills

Employment growth

Description

The percentage change in the level of employment in the current year compared to the previous year. A person is classified as employed if they are 15 years or older and worked one hour or more in the reference week for the ABS Labour Force Survey. ABS Labour Force employment data are based on place of residence, not place of work.

Rationale

Employment growth is an indicator of the strength of a city’s labour market and economy. Many people gain a sense of worth from their work and enjoy greater opportunities for social engagement, which enhance both mental and physical wellbeing

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Labour Force, Detailed (Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA4 data are converted to city geographies using population weights and growth rates are calculated from the derived estimates.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Monthly

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Unemployment rate

Description

The share of a city’s labour force that is unemployed on average over the previous 12 months. A person is classified as unemployed if they are 15 years or older, available for and seeking work, and not in paid employment. Sub indicators present the Indigenous unemployment rate and the youth unemployment rate (persons aged 15 to 24).

Rationale

The unemployment rate is an indicator of the amount of spare capacity in a city’s labour market. Being unemployed also has implications for a person’s economic, social and emotional wellbeing.

Limitations

The unemployment rate can understate the amount of spare capacity in the labour market when there are a lot of people who would prefer to work more hours, or give up looking for work because jobs are unavailable.

Data source

ABS – Labour Force (Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA4 data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated from the derived estimates.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Monthly

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Participation rate

Description

The share of a city’s civilian population aged 15 years and over that is in the labour force, calculated as a 12 month average. A person is classified as being in the labour force if they are either employed or unemployed. Sub-indicators present labour force participation rates for men and women.

Rationale

A city’s participation rate and working-age population together determine the size of its labour force – the labour supply available to the local economy.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Labour Force (Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA4 data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated from the derived estimates.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Monthly

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Educational attainment

Description

The proportion of a city’s population that have completed:

  • Year 12
  • Certificate Level III qualifications or higher
  • A bachelor degree or higher

Rationale

Educational attainment has broad implications for economic, social and health outcomes. People that attain high levels of education are, in general, better equipped to perform high-skilled work and earn higher wages. Highly educated people also tend to find it easier to move between industries or to retrain. This means a better educated labour force is usually better placed to adapt to structural changes in the economy – for example, to cope with the disruptions caused by technological change or global competition.

Limitations

This indicator does not provide information on fields of study or whether workers’ skills match what employers need.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated from the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Infrastructure and investment

Jobs accessible within 30 minutes

Description

The share of jobs in a city that can be reached by car in a commute of 30 minutes or less during the morning peak. This indicator represents a city-wide average – commute times in different parts of a city are weighted by population size.

Rationale

Better access to jobs makes it simpler to find work or change employers, and can improve the quality of job matches in a city – one of the determinants of labour productivity. Shorter commute times also give people more time for leisure outside work. The share of jobs accessible within 30 minutes is a partial indicator of the efficiency of a city’s transport infrastructure.

Limitations

This indicator only includes travel by car and does not provide full information on the effectiveness of a city’s transport network.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016 SGS economics and Planning – Modelling ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method For each SA2, the share of jobs in the corresponding city that are accessible in 30 minutes is calculated using Census place of work information. Accessibility is assessed by a travel distance matrix, using average travel speeds to estimate the distance able to be travelled in 30 minutes. SA2 estimates are then converted to city geographies using population weights.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Share of work trips by public transport and active transport

Description

The proportion of journeys to work that are taken by:

  • public transport
  • walking or cycling (‘active transport’)

Rationale

Understanding commuting patterns is important for transport planning and identifying opportunities to promote healthy lifestyle choices. The share of people that travel to work by walking, cycling or public transport is affected by commuter preferences, the location of jobs and workers, transport prices and infrastructure. For example, more people will commute by car if driving is a cheap and quick way to get to work. More people will walk to work if jobs are close to where people live.

Limitations

This indicator does not separately identify the share of work trips that are made by individual modes of public transport – for example, trips by train, bus or ferry. It does not provide direct information on the effectiveness of a city’s transport network.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated from the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Peak travel delay

Description

The percentage increase in the duration of a car trip made during the busiest traffic periods (7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm) compared with when there is no congestion. This indicator is constructed using data on car trips that would take 30 minutes in a period of traffic free flow (at 2am).

Rationale

Data on travel delays provides information on how well a city’s road network is meeting peak demand. A reduction in peak travel times could improve access to jobs, one of the determinants of labour productivity. Shorter commute times also give people more time for leisure outside work, making a city more liveable for the people that use its roads.

Limitations

This indicator measures the proportional increase in car travel times during peak traffic periods. It does not permit comparisons of actual commute times nor does it provide information on travel delays for modes of transport other than car travel. Data are not available for all cities

Data source

TomTom Australia New Zealand Congestion Index

Source-data geography

GCCSA, selected SUAs (2011)

Method

Source data align with city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA, selected SUAs (2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Liveability and sustainability

Adult obesity rate

Description

The share of people aged 18 and over with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. A person’s BMI is calculated as their weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of their height (in metres).

Rationale

Obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer (see World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/). High rates of obesity put added strain on public health services. Being overweight or obese can also affect a person’s quality of life.

Limitations

BMI is a measure of weight, not fat. Factors like age, gender and muscle mass can affect a person’s BMI independent of body fat.

Data source

Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) – Social Health Atlas of Australia ABS – National Health Survey (Cat. No. 4364.0) – 2015 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

ASGC Local Government Area 2011 Method LGA data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Perceived safety

Description

The share of people aged 18 years and over who report that they feel safe or very safe walking alone in their local area after dark.

Rationale

Feeling unsafe in their community can affect people’s health and wellbeing. If people feel unsafe, it can negatively influence their social activities and erode trust within their communities (ABS, Australian Social Trends, 2010). Perceptions of safety are also influenced by factors such as crime rates in a city.

Limitations

Factors other than crime can influence how safe a person feels in a particular context. This can include age, sex, ethnicity, education, health and economic status (ABS, Australian Social Trends, 2010).

Data source

PHIDU – Social Health Atlas of Australia ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

ASGC Local Government Area 2011 Method LGA data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Access to green space

Description

The share of dwellings in a city that are located within 400 metres of green space. In the Framework, green space is synonymous with the ABS definition of ‘parkland’. The ABS defines parkland to include parkland, nature reserves and other minimal use protected or conserved areas.

Rationale

Access to green space provides amenity as well as opportunities for physical exercise and improved mental health. Green space can also improve air quality and heat management, making a city more liveable.

Limitations

Green space area is calculated using Mesh Blocks – small geographical areas that are categorised according to principal land use. Area the Framework defines as green space (i.e. a ‘parkland’ mesh block) may include any public open space, sporting arena or facility, whether enclosed or open to the public. As such, this indicator could overestimate the amount of publicly-accessible green space in a city. Some green space in a city may fall within Mesh Blocks categorised according to other land uses – for example, areas defined as ‘residential’. This could lead to an underestimate of the amount of publicly-accessible green space in a city. No adjustment is made to account for the size or quality of green space.

Data source

ABS – Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, (Cat. No. 1270.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

Mesh Block (ASGS 2016) Method For each SA2, number of dwellings within 400 meters of one or more parkland-category Mesh Blocks is calculated. SA2 estimates are then summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated from the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Green space area

Description

The proportion of land area in a city that is defined as green space. In the Framework, green space is synonymous with the ABS definition of ‘parkland’. The ABS defines parkland to include parkland, nature reserves and other minimal use protected or conserved areas.

Rationale

Access to green space provides amenity as well as opportunities for physical exercise and improved mental health. Green space can also improve air quality and heat management, making a city more liveable.

Limitations

Green space area is calculated using Mesh Blocks – small geographical areas that are categorised according to principal land use. Area the Framework defines as green space (i.e. a ‘parkland’ mesh block) may include any public open space, sporting arena or facility, whether enclosed or open to the public. As such, this indicator could overestimate the amount of publicly-accessible green space in a city. Some green space in a city may fall within Mesh Blocks categorised according to other land uses – for example, areas defined as ‘residential’. This could lead to an underestimate of the amount of publicly-accessible green space in a city. No adjustment is made to account for the quality of green space.

Data source

ABS – Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, (Cat. No. 1270.0) – 2016 Source-data geography Mesh Block (ASGS 2016) Method Mesh Block data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated from the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Support in times of crisis

Description

The share of people that stated in a survey that they feel there is someone outside their household who could be asked for support in a time of crisis. Support could be in the form of emotional, physical or financial help. It could come from family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or from community, government or professional organisations.

Rationale

Support in a time of crisis can reduce a person’s financial, physical, psychological or emotional hardship. Feeling that there is help can also affect a person’s wellbeing. High rates of people reporting that they can access support in times of crisis might mean there are adequate support services in a city, or that there is strong social cohesion.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

PHIDU – Social Health Atlas of Australia ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

ASGC Local Government Area 2011

Method

LGA data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Suicide rate

Description

The number of suicides in a year per 100,000 people.

Rationale

Knowing a city’s suicide rate, together with related mental and physical health indicators, is important for gauging the demand for support services.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

PHIDU – Social Health Atlas of Australia ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

ASGC Local Government Area 2011

Method

LGA data are converted to city geographies using population weights.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Irregular updates

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Air quality

Description

The average amount of particulate matter in a city’s air per cubic metre, measured over the course of a year. Sub-indicators present data for particles smaller than:

  • 10 microns in diameter (PM10)
  • 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5)

Rationale

Air quality is an indicator of the environmental impact of economic activity in a city. The World Health Organisation warns that chronic exposure to particles in the air adds to the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Australian governments have set air quality standards for PM10 and PM2.5 (see http://www.npi.gov.au/resource/particulate-matter-pm10-and-pm25).

Limitations

A city’s air quality can be affected by production taking place outside its boundaries, or by weather events and natural disasters beyond the control of policy makers. Particulate matter is a partial indicator of ambient air quality. Data are not available for all cities. Data source World Health Organisation, based on data collected at state and territory monitoring stations - 2016

Source-data geography

WHO-defined city geographies Method Source data geographies are used as proxies for city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA, selected SUAs (2016)

Unit

Micrograms per cubic metre

Data update

Irregular updates

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Volunteering

Description

The share of people aged 15 years and older who volunteered their time, services or skills to a club, organisation or association in the past twelve months.

Rationale

Volunteering can strengthen community bonds and improve social wellbeing by facilitating interactions among people outside their normal peer groups. Volunteers also help provide essential services, such as emergency services, sports clubs, parent teacher associations and elderly support services, some of which might not otherwise be supplied.

Limitations

Volunteering rates might be affected by large one-off events like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated from the derived totals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Greenhouse gas emissions per capita

Description

The estimated per-capita amount of greenhouse gases emitted in a city in a year, based on:

  • Scope 1 emissions – direct greenhouse gas emissions
  • Scope 2 emissions – indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of purchased electricity

Rationale

Emissions data help to understand a city’s contribution to climate change and to target climate-change mitigation policies.

Limitations

Emissions data are not available at the city level. This indicator has been estimated by attributing state-level emissions to cities using city-level data on employment by industry and population. Actual emission levels will depend on the type of production activity taking place in a city and the energy sources businesses and households depend on. Information on greenhouse gas emissions reported in Australia is available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data

Data source

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory ABS – Labour Force, Detailed, Quarterly (Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

States and territories SA2 (ASGS 2016) SA4 (ASGS 2016)

Method

State and Territory emissions by industry are attributed to city geographies using weights based on employment by industry data (for non-residential emissions) and population data (for residential emissions).

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent

Data update

Annually

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Office building energy efficiency

Description

The average National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) score for rated office buildings in the city, weighted by rated floor space. NABERS ratings are based on an assessment of the operational performance of a building over a 12 month period, for energy and water, by tenants and building owners. A NABERS assessment controls for factors such as climactic conditions, hours of use, energy sources, size and occupancy, meaning it is comparable within and across cities. A score of 6 is consistent with market-leading performance. A score of 1 means the building has considerable scope for improvement.

Rationale

Office buildings are large consumers of energy and water within cities. Buildings with a higher NABERS assessment use less energy and water, and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less waste. This information can be useful for potential tenants looking to minimise their environmental footprint and lower their energy and utility bills.

Limitations

This indicator only covers rated buildings, and may not provide an indication of the efficiency of all office buildings in a city. This indicator does not account for the efficiency of buildings in the residential or industrial sectors. Some cities have a small number of buildings with a NABERs rating and the average can shift significantly when a new rating enters the data set. Cities with fewer than 10 rated buildings are Albury Wodonga, Ballarat, Bendigo, Cairns, Geelong, Mackay, Toowoomba, Townsville, Western Sydney and Sunshine Coast.

Data source

National Australian Built Environment Rating System

Source-data geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities)(ASGS 2011)

Method

Source data geographies align with city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Average energy rating (from 1 to 6)

Data update

Annually

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Innovation and digital opportunities

Knowledge-intensive industries

Description

The share of employed persons that work in the top five knowledge-intensive industries. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) measures an industry’s knowledge intensity as the value of its stock of knowledge based capital (intangibles) as a proportion of its gross value added. Using this metric, the most knowledge-intensive industries are: Mining; Professional, scientific and technical services; Information, media and telecommunications; Manufacturing; and Financial and insurance services. A sub-indicator presents the share of employed persons that work in knowledge intensive service industries.

Rational

Innovation and science are critical for Australia to deliver new sources of growth, maintain high-wage jobs and seize the next wave of economic prosperity. Innovative firms are more competitive, more able to capture increased market share and more likely to increase employment (DIIS 2016).Workers in knowledge-intensive industries tend to be well educated, well paid and well placed to succeed in an increasingly competitive and fast changing global economy.

Limitations

While workers in knowledge-intensive industries tend to be highly skilled, these industries also rely on lower-skilled workers. There are also high-skilled workers in other industries. ABS Labour Force employment data are based on place of residence. This means this indicator can be a poor proxy for the industry share of jobs located in a particular city in some circumstances. For example, mining employees flying out of Perth for work will tend to overstate the employment share of mining in Perth.

Data source

ABS - Labour Force Survey (Cat. No. 6291.0.55) – 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016 Department of Industry, Innovation and Science – Industry Monitor – 2016

Source-data geography

SA4 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA4 data are converted to city geographies using population weights and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Quarterly

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New business entrants and exits

Description

The business entry rate is the number of new businesses that started actively trading on the business register over the past year as a share of the total number of registered businesses at the start of the year. The business exit rate is the number of businesses that stopped actively trading on the business register over the past year as a share of the total number of businesses in the city at the start of the year. Rationale Business entry and exit rates are indicators of dynamism and economic activity in a city. Strong entrepreneurial activity is associated with a dynamic and innovative local economy.

Limitations

A business entry can occur for reasons other than the creation of a new business. It may occur, for example, when a business starts to actively remit Goods and Services Tax (GST) and so is counted as an ‘actively trading’ business. Businesses with turnover below $75,000 are not required to register for GST; those that don’t register for GST are not included in counts of new businesses. A business exit is not the same thing as a business failure. A business exit may occur, for example, when a business is sold and its Australian Business Number changes, or when a business is taken over or involved in a merger.

Data source

ABS – Data by region (Cat. No. 1410.0) 2011-2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Count

Data update

Annually

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Intellectual property

Description

The number of:

  • patent applications by people resident in a city per 100,000 people per year
  • trademark applications by people resident in a city per 100,000 people per year

Rationale

Intellectual property, including patents and trademarks, provides a foundation for innovation, which creates knowledge, builds businesses and contributes to economic growth. Patent applications are an indicator of the amount of innovation and research and development occurring in a city. Tracking data on patent applications can help understand how well a city is fostering innovation. When new firms start or new products and services are launched, a trade mark is often filed to protect the name and brand value. As such, trade mark applications can be used as an indicator of innovative activity. Limitations Innovation that occurs in one city will sometimes be recorded in patents registered elsewhere. This can occur when a business with offices in more than one city has all of its patents registered by its head office. In addition, Australian firms sometimes register patents overseas, and this data is not captured in this indicator.

Data source

ABS – Data by Region (Cat. No. 1410.0) 2011-2016 DIIS - SA3 Regional Innovation Data 2009-15 (data.gov.au) [original source – IP Australia] ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA3 (ASGS 2011) SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA3 data are converted to city geographies using population weights. Derived estimates are divided by the size of the population and multiplied by 100,000.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Number of IP right applications per 100,000 persons

Data update

Annually

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Governance, planning and regulation

Local government fragmentation

Description

The number of Local Government Areas (LGAs) in a city per 100,000 people.

Rationale

Fragmented governance occurs when a city is governed by more than one local government authority. This is common in many of Australia’s largest cities. In some circumstances, fragmentation can hinder a city’s economic performance. While smaller area governments tend to be more responsive to local citizens, larger area governments are better placed to deal with complex city-wide coordination problems and enjoy economies of scale in public administration.

Limitations

Evidence of the relationship between fragmentation and economic growth is not conclusive and may vary with local conditions. This indicator is less relevant for cities that have one local government area, or none at all. Cities with one local government area include: Bendigo, Cairns, Geelong, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville. Canberra has no local government areas

Data source

ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016 ABS - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 – Non ABS Structures, (Cat. No. 1270.0) - 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) ASGS Local Government Area 2016 Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies. Total number of of LGAs is divided by the size of the population and multiplied by 100,000.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

LGAs per 100,000 persons

Data update

Annually

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Housing

Public and community housing units

Description

The number of public and community housing units per 100,000 people.Public and community housing refers to housing units rented from a state or territory housing authority, a housing co-operative, or a community or church group. Rationale The availability of public and community housing is an important consideration for policies addressing housing affordability issues and socio-economic disadvantage.

Limitations

Public and community housing may not always be the best solution to addressing housing affordability or socio-economic disadvantage. The appropriate level of public and community housing provision should vary depending on local conditions and levels of socio-economic disadvantage.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016) Method SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies. Number of public and community housing units are divided by the size of the population and multiplied by 100,000.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Number per 100,000 persons

Data update

Five yearly

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Homelessness rate

Description

The number of homeless people per 100,000 people. A person is classified as homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate, or
  • has no tenure (e.g. squatting), or
  • has an initial tenure that is short and not extendable, or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to, space for social relations.

Rationale

This indicator can help users understand the extent of socio-economic disadvantage in a city and inform policy decisions concerning housing and other services for homeless people.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section.

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness (Cat. No. 2049.0) - 2011

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2011)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies, divided by the size of the population and multiplied by 100,000.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Number per 100,000 persons

Data update

Five yearly

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Rent stress

Description

The proportion of occupied households for which rent payments make up 30 per cent or more of household income. This indicator is expressed as a percentage of the total number of households in a city, including households that are not renting.

Rationale

Around one in three households rent. Households that cannot afford to pay rent can put pressure on public and community housing. Lack of access to affordable rental housing can exacerbate this problem.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Mortgage stress

Description

The proportion of occupied households for which mortgage payments make up 30 per cent or more of household income. This indicator is expressed as a percentage of the total number of households in a city, including households that rent or own their homes outright.

Rationale

Households that spend a large share of their income on mortgage payments have less money to spend on other things. These households are also typically more vulnerable to financial shocks associated with house price falls or interest rate rises, which can increase risks of default or further constrain consumer spending. Having a large number of households in mortgage stress presents broader risks to the local economy.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Census of Population and Housing 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data are summed to align with city geographies and proportions are calculated.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Percentage

Data update

Five yearly

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Housing construction costs

Description

The average cost per square metre of constructing a new detached house in a city. This indicator presents average costs for a standardised building type: a full-brick detached house with a tiled roof, built on a flat site.

Rationale

Construction costs are a large component of housing prices, along with the cost of land. Monitoring construction costs enables a better understanding of the factors contributing to house price levels in a city.

Limitations

Construction costs vary depending on the type of building, the materials used to build it, the workers employed and the cost of complying with regulations. This indicator does not disaggregate contributions to construction costs from materials, labour, taxes, fees and charges, and profit margins. Cost estimates outside the capital cities are measured with less precision than the capital city estimates.

Data source

Rawlinsons Guide to Construction Costs SGS Economics & Planning

Source-data geography

Rawlinsons-defined city geographies Method Rawlinsons cost estimates are used for the capital cities. Cost estimates for non-capital cities are derived using Rawlinsons’ regional indices. Source data geographies are used as a proxy for city geographies.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

$ per square metre

Data update

Annually

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Dwelling price to income ratio

Description

The ratio of the median dwelling price to median annual household income.

Rationale

Home ownership is an aspiration for many Australians. Purchasing a home is also the largest single expenditure for a typical household. The dwelling price to income ratio is a key measure of housing affordability. Low levels of housing affordability have negative implications for a city’s economic performance by reducing labour market efficiency, undermining social cohesion and exacerbating wealth inequality (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute).

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

CoreLogic – Housing Affordability Report

Source-data geography

GCCSA, SA4 (ASGS 2011)

Method

For capital cities, source data geography aligns with city geographies. For non-capital cities, dwelling price to income ratios are constructed from SA4 data using a simple average.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Ratio

Data update

Annual

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Population change per residential building approval

Description

The ratio of annual population change to annual residential building approvals.

Rationale

Population change is an indicator of change in the demand for housing. Residential building approvals are a forward indicator of the volume of dwelling investment and the supply of new housing in a city. Tracking relative movements in population change and building approvals helps understand how well housing supply is keeping up with new demand.

Limitations

None in addition to those identified in the limitations section

Data source

ABS – Building approvals, Australia, Aug 2017 (Cat. No. 8731.0) - 2017 ABS – Regional Population Growth (Cat. No. 3218.0) – 2016

Source-data geography

SA2 (ASGS 2016)

Method

SA2 data on population change and building approvals are summed to align with city geographies. Derived population change estimates are divided by number of new building approvals.

City geography

GCCSA (Capital cities), Western Sydney and SUA (other cities) (ASGS 2016)

Unit

Persons per number of approvals

Data update

Annually

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