2916.0 - Census of Population and Housing - QuickStats, Community Profiles and DataPacks User Guide, Australia, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2017  First Issue
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DataPacks

What are DataPacks?

Census DataPacks contain comprehensive data about people, families and dwellings. They contain data for all Census geographies from Australia down to Statistical Area Level 1, with associated Geographic Information System digital boundaries.

DataPacks are designed for clients who have existing databases or analysis systems, for example Geographic Information Systems or other mapping and tabulation systems.

What DataPacks Profiles are available?

There is a total of five DataPacks, based on Community Profiles with two additional profiles:

  • General Community
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Time Series
  • Place of Enumeration (additional)
  • Working Population (additional, available late 2017).

^ Separate Estimated Resident Population DataPacks will be produced once 2016 Estimated Resident Population data becomes available.

How do I download a DataPack?

To download a DataPack, click the 'Open DataPacks' button located at the top of the DataPacks page.

This will lead you to the selection page for DataPacks. There should be multiple drop downs as well as a table at the bottom of the page.


  • Step 1 will allow you to select the Census year which your data will be drawn from. By default, this will be the year 2016.
  • Step 2 will allow you to select the DataPacks type.
  • Step 3 will allow you to select the Geography type. The available options will depend on which profile is chosen in the second step.
  • If you selected the year 2011, you will receive an extra step (step 4); the choice of descriptor type for your DataPack. This step has been removed from the 2016 year choice as new DataPacks will be supplied with short column descriptor labels, and metadata will include supplementary details for sequential and long descriptors.
  • Step 5 - If All geographies options are selected, individual boundary files need to be downloaded from the individual region level.

Once you've made your selections, the grid of available download links will update below.

To download a specific DataPack, simply click on a blue arrow that corresponds to the state or territory that you’d like data for. Blue means that the DataPack is available now, while dark grey arrows represent later releases.

The Download grid also includes digital boundary files specific to each of the available geographies located in the last two columns. These are particularly relevant and useful when working with mapping software.

Note: all DataPack downloads have been compressed and will require decompression software (such as WinZip) in order to open or view the files.

What do I need to use DataPacks?

You will need the following software to use DataPacks:
  • Software for compressed zip files
  • Text Editor for CSV Files
  • Spreadsheet application for the Metadata files
  • Geographic Information System application.

Metadata files contain the information you need to match the data with the Community Profile template, this includes information about sequential numbers and labels, the digital boundaries, the table descriptors (long, short and sequential) and the population that is being counted.

What files are contained in a DataPack?

In each DataPack there are three different file types; 'Text Documents', 'Microsoft Excel Worksheets', and 'Microsoft Excel Comma Separated Values Files' (CSV).
  • The text documents provide help on specific topics and functions for DataPacks.
  • Each DataPack will include three Excel Worksheets; A Census Geography description pack, a Sequential Template containing all categories, and a Excel worksheet with a list of all the tables and cell descriptors.
  • Within a DataPack, Each table type will have its own CSV file which will contain raw data ready for use.

Both 'Geography boundary: ESRI Shapefile' DataPacks and 'Geography boundary: Map Interchange' DataPacks will contain different file types to the regional DataPacks. This will allow you to easily extract the data into your mapping software of choice.

What are the different types of descriptors?

Should you require data using long or sequential descriptors you can replace headers within the .CSV file using descriptor information available in the Metadata contained in the zip file.

For example the Metadata_2016_GCP_DataPack contains a listing of all sequential, short and long descriptor information.

The example below, using Local Government Area (LGA) geography, shows the short descriptor.

Region_idTot_P_MTot_P_FTot_P_P
LGA10050000
LGA10110000
LGA10150000

How do I open boundary files?

To open the 2016 DataPacks boundary files you need to use MapInfo version 7.8 or above.

When creating .tab files in MapInfo for SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, STE or SLA, the 'region ID' in the CSV file has to be changed from 'integer' or 'small integer' to 'character', before merging with the corresponding boundary file.

This is not necessary with other geographies. The '.tab' files for other geographies can be opened and merged with the data file in the usual way.

To do this:

(In this example we are using MapInfo Professional 10.5 and the SA4 geography for South Australia)

1. Open MapInfo.
2. Cancel *Quick Start*.
3. Select *File*.
4. Select *Open*.
5. When the *Open* tile appears:
**** In the field *Files of type* select *Comma delimited CSV*
**** Select your CSV file.
**** Tick the *Create copy in MapInfo format for read/write* check box.
**** Press the *Open* button. The *Comma Delimited CSV Information* dialog box appears.
6. Tick the *Use First Line for Column Titles* box. Leave other settings as is. Then press the *OK* button.
7. The file will open. Select, *Table* -> *Maintenance* -> *Table Structure*.
8. Change *Small Integer* or *Integer* to *Character* for the region_id field.
9. The change to *Character* will bring up the *Width* dialog box.
10. The *width* is the number of characters in the geography code. In this case the geography is SA4. SA4s have three digit codes so enter 3.
11. Press OK.

****Note: Some geographies will have codes of more than three numerals and so will have commas. When counting the number of characters for the 'width' field, exclude the commas from the count.*

12. A box will appear saying: *One or more fields have been shortened or removed. The resulting loss of data cannot be undone.*
13. Press OK button and you have finished.

How do I convert region ID from numeric to text fields?

ESRI ArcGIS Technical Notes

When working with data files for SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, STE or SLA, the **'region ID'** in the CSV file has to be changed from a numeric to a text type field, before any merger with the corresponding boundary file can occur. *Note that this is not necessary with other geographies. The '.tab' files for other geographies can be opened and merged with the data file in the usual way.*

To do this: (In this example we are using ArcMap 10.3.1)

1. Open *ArcGIS* -> *ArcMap*.
2. Cancel *ArcMap Getting started*.
3. Select *Windows* -> *Catalogue*
4. In the *Catalogue* window, right click on *Folder Connections* -> *Connect Folder*
5. Navigate to the folder location of the data file(s) to connect to folder for access in ArcMap.
6. Select the data file(s) you would like to convert the region ID field of.
7. Drag and drop the data file into your workspace (middle panel where maps are displayed).
8. Your data file should appear within the *Layers* level in your *Table of Contents* window.
9. Right click on csv file in the Table of contents window, select *Data* -> *Export*.
10. Click on the *browse* folder icon.
11. Navigate to your *Folder Connections* and select a folder to create a new Geodatabase, to store exported csv files (if you do not have one already).
***a. To do this, select the highlighted icon to create a database.
***b. Give a new name to your database (for example *Validation_shape.gdb*).
12. Double click on your new geodatabase created.
13. Name your exported file (for example ***T01_AUST_STE*** – note name has a 13 character limit).
14. Select *Save*.
15. The following dialog box should appear – select *OK* and note the output destination database and file name.
16. After the file is exported, a dialog box will appear with *Do you want to add the new table to the current map*. Select *Yes*.
17. In *Table of Contents* panel, open your new file within the database you created (for example ***T01_AUST_STE***).
18. Right click on file and select *Open*.
19. In the table that opens, select the drop down menu and *Add Field*.
20. Assign a name to new field (e.g. *region_id_txt*), select type as *Text*, then select *OK*.
21. In the table, scroll to the last column to locate new field.
22. Right click on *region_id_txt*, then select *field calculator*.
23. Double click on *region_id* so that your new text field is equal to the contents of *region_id*
24. Select *OK*

You can now merge the boundary file (for example *state_code* from the *STE* boundary) with the appropriate data file (for instance *T01_AUST_STE*) using the new text field *region_id_txt*.

What geographies are available?

Details on which geographies are available can be found in the DataPacks geography table.

How do I compare Census data over time?

The Time Series Profile DataPack has data from the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Censuses. There is data for persons, families and dwellings.

Has the data been made confidential?

Yes. For further information view Confidentiality and protecting your data.

Documents for further reading

Download PDF - Formats

Download PDF - Creative Commons Licensing


Download PDF - About Data Packs

Download PDF - 2016 POA