Friday, March 21, 2008

How to find and use Australian census data 2 - Creating maps and other nice things

My last post, How to find and use Australian census data 1 - Languages spoken at home case study, I provided an introduction to ways of accessing and using Australian census data. I now want to drill down a little, showing you how you can find and use data on specific locations, creating some rather nice maps in the process.

Still fitting within my current pre-occupations, I thought that I would look at indigenous NSW starting with Redfern.

For the benefit of readers outside Sydney, Redfern is a traditionally poor inner city working class suburb next door to Sydney University. It also has an in indigenous population centred on what is known as the block that attracts great media attention, so much so that the NSW Government actually has a minister whose portfolio includes Redfern.

We need to start by getting some basic statistical data on Redfern. Here we start by going to 2006 census data by location. Now click on search. Enter Redfern in the search box. Three locations come up. Click on Redfern state suburb. A nice map appears on the right showing the area covered.

Now click on select product. A new screen comes up. I just want basic data, so I then click on quick stats. This tells me that 11,482 people live in Redfern, of whom 277 (2.4%) were indigenous.

A little care needs to be exercised with this figure for two reasons. First, the statistics I am using are based on place of residence, so visitors are ignored. Secondly, there are also specific concentrations of indigenous people in areas immediately adjacent to Redfern.

Now where do Redfern's indigenous people live? Here we return to the previous page and now click on map stats. Click on select topic. Now click on place of usual residence. Select indigenous size and population distribution as a topic.

This brings up one choice, proportion of indigenous population. Highlight this, and then select sublocation. In this case, this gives you only one choice, census collection district. Now click on view map, and the following map appears.

Indigenous People as a Proportion of the Population - Redfern

When you look at this map, the relative concentration of Aboriginal people in areas and the block itself stand out.

For comparative purposes take Armidale. For the benefit of those who do not know Armidale, this is a university city in New England. In Armidale's case, I have used the urban area rather than state suburb because the state suburb includes a lot of open country and makes the map hard to read.

According to the census data, 19,486 people live in Armidale of whom 1,217 (5.13%) were indigenous. The map below shows their distribution.

Indigenous People as a Proportion of the Population - Armidale

The pattern of Aboriginal population distribution reflects the history and social structure of Armidale.

The large yellow, low proportion, Aboriginal population on the left of the map covers the University campus, open country plus the New England Girls' School campus, so can be ignored.

The square grid pattern in the centre is the older Victorian city.

The high Aboriginal concentration to the lower right of the old city- 22 t0 32% of the population - centres on the traditional Aboriginal Reserve area. This includes the Aboriginal housing built during the sixties.

From the fifties, the Aboriginal Welfare Board began encouraging the relocation of Aborigines into the main city. This is reflected in the higher concentrations in West and East Armidale, traditionally working class areas, within the old city grid.

In the sixties, the Housing Commission built a number of new homes on the north-western edge of the old city towards the University - this is the area where the Aboriginal population falls in the 14-22% range.

Then in the 1980s, a new housing commission area was opened on the east of the expanding urban area. This is where the 8-14% Aboriginal population area is located.

My aim in this post has been to provide hints to help you gather data, but also have fun.

You can generate map after map after map. But be warned. You may find yourself completely side-tracked!

No comments: