Friday, 4 August 2017

2016 Census Carwoola: indicators of affluence

When I started on the Income topic I intended to cover some more "household asset and economic" data but found I had a full post with the income stuff.  So here we go with some of the other items, which could be taken as indicators of affluence (ie economic well being)  in the area.  (Note that I'll get into Employment, Education and Internal Migration when the more detailed topics are released in October.)

In each case below there are many additional analyses which could be undertaken (eg looking at household types or age distributions) but:

  • in some cases the necessary groups of data are not available in Table Builder Basic; and/or
  • my time is limited!

I have tried to do some very basic material but if anyone one else wants to have a crack at more detail be my guest!  I'd be interested to see what you come up with.


It is interesting that the rate of internet access in the Gazette area is higher than both NSW and Australia.  This emphasises the level of Community interest in getting decent access!

I have previously noted the risk of a topic becoming interesting and leading me into strange areas of research.  That reared its head here, when I looked at the rates of internet access for Capital cities vs Rest of State.
In every State the rate of internet access for the dwelling was higher in the city than than the bush.  Why is this so?  And why is the Gazette area higher than the Rest of NSW?   Given the level of disquiet in the Gazette-area about the service we get it could be suggested that the general city-bush comparison is a supply issue rather than a demand one.  In simple words the problem is that a higher proportion of people in the bush can't get access rather than them not wanting it.

I might do a later specific post exploring some nuances of the characteristics of households which do access the 'net and those that don't.

Motor Vehicles

In the post about Income I commented that it had a primary purpose of being an indicator of financial hardship rather than affluence.  In a similar vein this topic serves to identify areas in which there are people without cars and thus the area has priority needs for public transport services.  Seen any public transport in Carwoola recently?

The simplest chart is the proportion of households according to the number of vehicles garaged thereat.
The information in the census relates to registered motor vehicles only and excludes motor bikes and similar machines.  Table Builder only includes the range variable as shown.  (A more detailed variable, including cells for up to 29 vehicles is also available on request (and presumably payment) to ABS.)

The first obvious extension to this analysis is the relationship between the number of vehicles and the number of people normally resident in the household.  Initially I had some difficulty working out how to demonstrate this but decided that calculating the average number of cars for each household size did what was needed. (I arbitrarily set the average number of cars in the group 4 and over as 5 - I think that is reasonable, and the result looks OK).
For every size of house we average more cars than Australia as a whole.  This is quite reasonable since if you live in a city with public transport there is less need for a car (and much less for a car per person).

I also did a similar analysis for average number of cars for the standard Household Income groups using the upper bound of the standard ranges as an indicator (and taking $500k as an indicative value for the highest class).
The trendline for the Gazette area is above the National line at every point and the slope of the line is a little steeper, suggesting that when people's income rises they are more likely to spend some of it on getting an extra car!


The ABS doesn't define a bedroom so the definition of is essentially up to the person completing the Census form and can be subject to different interpretations.  By way of  example our house could be considered as having 2,3 or 4 bedrooms depending on the owner's preference.  We use 2 rooms for sleeping and 2 as studies because we can.  I am sure the previous residents used all 4 as bedrooms.

The basis for having this item in the Census is as an indicator of overcrowding.  Not really likely in a rural-residential area where the most common number of bedrooms is 4 and the commonest household types are nuclear families or empty nests!

The distribution of average number of bedrooms according to household size is interesting in that the Gazette area shows a different (and I'm not sure if the difference is statistically significant) pattern to Australia. This may reflect the absence of households >7 usual residents from the area.  (Note that there seems to be a small number of 7 person households but the number seems very variable due to the confidentiality algorithm, so I have omitted them from this chart.)
When looking at income levels (defined as for the number of cars) I found that there wasn't really a clear pattern for the Gazette area.  I suspect this is due to the great flexibility in determining the number of bedrooms discussed in the preamble to this topic.  As the main interest is what goes on in the Gazette area I haven't done the analysis for Australia.


There is currently much debate about the difficulty of younger people (in particular) getting into the housing market.  So when looking at affluence etc a brief look at the tenurial arrangements in the Gazette area seems appropriate.

As might be expected if one knows the people in the area tenure is pretty much focussed on ownership rather than renting.  In both the "Owned" categories the Gazette area is well above the Australian values. Consequently, in a zero-sum game the area is way down in the rented class.  In the Gazette area "Not applicable"is unoccupied dwellings.  (Most of the other categories are a source of mystery to me!)

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