Uncovering the makeup and future directions of the Territory’s population will be made easier this week for a Charles Darwin University population expert, with the release of the 2011 Census data.
Senior Research Fellow with CDU’s The Northern Institute, Andrew Taylor said the Census released every five years helped to build a picture of the Australian population’s social and economic characteristics now and in the future.
Mr Taylor, who specialises in research-based modelling of demographic scenarios, said population researchers relied heavily on Census data to model and understand society.
“The Census paints a detailed social and economic picture of who we are and where we are headed,” Mr Taylor said. “Business uses Census data to plan and strategise, governments use it for policy making and to determine investments in infrastructure, and other organisations like charities use it to help run and deliver their services.”
He will be like a kid in a candy store, when the data is released on Thursday morning, which will feed into several population research projects he has on the boil.
“The Census is invaluable for answering critical policy and social questions,” he said. What have been the impacts from the Northern Territory Emergency Response on remote communities? How well prepared is Darwin to meet the oil and gas boom? And will retiring people keep leaving the NT?”
Mr Taylor points out that Census data is the basis for official population estimates, which determine how much money is given to the Territory and how many seats we have in the national parliament.
“Our NT population is so small, and so diverse, it is important we also compare ourselves to other parts of Australia, and indeed other parts of the world,” he said.
Mr Taylor said he encouraged Territorians to check out the Census to find out more how and why their community was changing and what it means for them.