Monday, 15 April 2013

Stoney Creek and the Census: households and families

Earlier posts on Census data in Carwoola etc are here and also here.

Back in the day, when I became “in charge” of the Census Output program one of my first tasks was to manage the preparation of the hard copy publications from the 1996 Census.  Yes, readers in those days , less than 20 years ago the main way of disseminating statistics was through ink on former trees.  I digress.  

The main point was that I had to read through the text and tables of a publication for each State and Territory.  After a couple of these it became apparent that there was a common point emerging: in every case a number of topics were all indicating a move towards social isolation.  Some examples:

  • The proportion of single person households was increasing; 
  • Single parent families were increasing as a proportion of family households; and 
  • Couple families without children were increasing as a proportion of all family households.
So my next wade into the Census data for the Stoney Creek Gazette area will look at family and household structures.  I will begin with a glance at the situation in 2011 before checking the change since 2006.

A first topic is Household size (note ‘household’ is usually to be interpreted as “eating from a common pot”).  Just before getting  down to that it will be helpful to note that the Census recorded 762 households in the Stoney Creek area of which

  • 85 have a “number of usual residents not applicable” – almost certainly vacant dwellings; 
  • 3 appear to be Bed and Breakfasts.    I have said ‘appear to be’ since such a small number is almost certainly affected by the confidentiality protection measures applied by ABS.   
  • A further 61 households are not classifiable which I suspect means that there is insufficient information to identify all relationships in the household (this has been confirmed by ABS with non-response to the Census question on relationship explaining about 98% of the category); and   
  • 14 households are ‘visitors only'.
Removing these leaves 599 households in which the household composition and size can be examined.  They will be covered in the next section, beginning with a classification by number of usual residents.
The first chart shows the % of households classified by number of usual residents in Stoney Creek  and NSW.

The most dramatic difference is the low proportion of single person households in Stoney Creek.  This is compensated for by a higher proportion of (particularly) 4 and 5 person households.

Looking at the type of household shows a consistent pattern with a higher proportion of family households (especially “one family only” households) in Stoney Creek than NSW with compensatory higher proportions (degrees of freedom solve many issues) in lone person households and, to a lesser extent, group households for NSW.
We'll now check out some information about family households.  Surprisingly I can't find an ABS definition of a family household so will assume it is a household containing at least one family.  It may include more than one family and/or some folk who are not part of the primary - or possibly any - family.  I'll begin by comparing the % of families x number of people in family households in Stoney Creek and NSW.
Within the levels of error for the Census, these two distributions are the same.  (It does of course exclude the Lone person HHLD type.)

The next Chart shows the percentage of families by type.
The most obvious difference is the higher percentage of single parent families in NSW.

Without wishing to get judgemental, my view is that there is less 'isolation' in the Stoney Creek area than in NSW as a whole.  (Of course these data say nothing about inter-household communication but IMHO that is also rather good in Stoney Creek.)

Getting back to where I started this post - if any of you are still with me -I had hoped to compare Stoney Creek in 2011 and 2006. Unfortunately there has been a massive change (IMHO for the better) to ABS statistical geography in that time and getting the corresponding data for the entire area is a little beyond my patience.  (A particular problem was not being able to find a clear set of Collection District boundaries for 2006.)

I was able to come up with something resembling a 2006 version of the Stoney Creek area but as I am far from confident it is an accurate match I will do no more than comment that

  • there was an increase of 31 family households between the two years
  • there appeared to be a small decrease in the proportion of "couple with kids" households but they still made up the majority of family households in the area.

No comments: