What Is the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the country of Australia's independent national statistical office. The mission statement of the Australian Bureau of Statistics is to assist and facilitate informed decision-making, research, and discussion within governments and the community by providing high-quality and responsive national statistical service.

Key Takeaways

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is that countries office of national statistics.
  • The ABS is responsible for conducting the national census and maintaining demographic and other data.
  • The ABS also compiles and publishes various economic indicators for Australia.

Understanding the Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (CBCS), the predecessor to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), was established in 1905. It was replaced in 1974 by the ABS. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act of 1975 established the ABS as a statutory authority headed by the Australian Statistician and responsible to the Treasurer.

The Bureau reports on typical national statistical office key statistics, covering areas such as economic, population, environmental, and social issues. Like similar country statistical offices, ABS offers the data free of charge on their website.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Responsibilities

Beyond serving up a variety of national datasets, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is also responsible for conducting Australia's census covering population and housing. Currently, Australia performs its national census every five years. Their most recent was conducted in August 2021 and represented Australia's eighteenth such census tally.

Australia's 2016 census offers an example of one of many pitfalls in modern data collection. In an effort to conduct the census electronically, Australian officials initially implemented the census online, rather than with traditional paper-based forms. After a series of cyber attacks rendered the online method unusable for a period, the ABS took the form offline.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes a host of monthly and quarterly economic publications throughout the year. Topics generally center on the economy, industry, people, labor, health, environment, and other characteristics unique to Australia.

Primary economic indicators follow the usual standard, including key economic indicators such as interest rates, property prices, employment, and the Australian dollar's value. Other research and analysis cover the country's Consumer Price Index (CPI), Australian National Accounts, and detailed factors impacting labor supply and demand.