Postcode Census Enhanced GIS Data Series

Current (2016), accurate digital Australian Postcode Areas enriched with a comprehensive range of popular data from the most recent published (2011) Australian Census of Population and Housing.

The 2016 Census results will be progressively published by the ABS from mid 2017. We anticipate our postcode product range will be updated with 2016 Census data by late 2017.

Postcode Census Enhanced GIS Data Series – MapMakers 2017 range of Census Enhanced Postcode Data  products

MapMakers Census Enhanced Postcode Data products attributed with the latest Census data were released late 2012. This release of our always up-to-date Postcode Area GIS data series is enriched with over 280 fully proportioned attributes from the Census.

We expect to update our postcode products with variables form the 2016 Census some time during the second half of calendar 2017, pending ABS publication of data.

The default range of variables has been designed to meet the requirements of the majority of users, and while any individual user may have an interest in only a sub-set, data creation and maintenance tasks are collective ones. However we do offer discount rates for users requiring a only a limited sub-set of variables; contact us for details.

These products are also available as tabular summaries (no digital geography) at a rate 40% of the full GIS versions.

There are a number of upgrade paths available for users of our 2006 Census products wishing to access the most recent Census 2011 data. Products containing equivalent data from the 2006 plus the 2011 Censuses are also available on request. A small number of fields present in the 2006 Census have not been included in the 2011 data, while a number of fields appear in the 2011 for the first time. In our default products these are primarily related to place of birth and languages other than English spoken at home; details appear in our concordance table (supplied with applicable products).

2011 Census Postcode examples and 2006 – 2011 change analysis.

We have prepared a number of examples using just the 2011 Census data, with others showing the results of analysing comparable data from both 2006 and 2011 Censuses. Crucial to most of us is how our income is keeping up with the seemingly spiraling cost of living; These maps of weekly household income in each postcode give us that information! The explosive growth of Internet connectivity is illustrated in the new 2011 Census, even compared to the impressive take up in 2006, social trends are revealed by an apparent shift to smart devices away form fixed line Internet in the home. Most of us are aware of the declining populations of many of our rural and regional towns, as well as the increasing congestion on city roads and concerning crime rates. When rural populations decline below critical levels, business and services may not be viable and whole communities can disappear. High population densities in cities can lead to a sense of alienation, frustration and rising crime rates. These maps illustrate both these population trends for NSW and Sydney in the period 2006 and 2011.

Weekly household income change 2006 – 2011 NSW, ACT and greater Sydney.

The change to weekly household income in each postcode during the five years between the last two Censuses is clearly shown.

While most areas have seen a modest increase, some have remained stagnant, while others have actually seen household incomes decline over the period. A more detailed view of greater Sydney is below.

The same data shown for the Greater Sydney region.


With an even richer range of data variables than our 2006 product (a number of additional second languages and country of birth categories appear in the 2011 data for the first time for example), it is possible to scrutinise the relationships which may explain the changing fortunes of some postcode areas relative to others; the closure of large employing industries for example, which would be reflected in employment and unemployment figures.

Baby Boomers – where they live as a percentage of the overall population by postcode area – Greater Sydney 2011.

Broadly defined as being born between 1946 and 1964, “Boomers” are moving into retirement in growing numbers. Looking for peace and quiet might seem a logical next step if downsizing and no longer needing the daily commute to work, so locating areas already found suitable by this generation seems sensible. But then Barnsey and ACDC are Boomers too..

Insights like this can be gained using our Census Enhanced Postcode GIS Data product range, by State, Territory, national or custom areas.

The same view into the 2011 Census data for NSW and the ACT. Further investigation may confirm a reluctance by younger people to take up farming and other rural occupations.

NSW and the ACT gross (before tax) household monthly income for each postcode (not all values shown in order to maintain clarity), minus monthly mortgage payment – disposable income. Is your budget more likely to be in the red, or in the black?


These dollar values are for Census night 2006, before the recent “financial crisis”. Using your GIS you would be able to factor in interest rate changes, wage growth and other parameters as required.

A zoomed in view of metropolitan Sydney.

This image shows a calculation of the percentage of all dwellings in each postcode which were being purchased under a mortgage agreement on Census night.

By contrast, this is the percentage of all dwellings in each postcode which were fully owned on Census night.


The data required to make similar maps for rented and public housing stock are included in the product.

Of the working population in each postcode area, this map presents the percentage actively seeking employment on Census night.


If you are a business looking for a site for a new labour intensive factory, analyses presenting labour availability would be a sound investment.

Additional data to refine such a task, including population figures for different age groups of males and females, school levels completed, educational qualifications, skill categories and languages spoken are included in the product.

Number of Internet Connections per dwelling in Postcodes 2011 (right) and 2006 (below).

The increase in Internet access in most households during the five year period between Censuses is clearly shown.

It is of note that the Census questions dealing with Internet connectivity confine themselves to those directly accessible from the dwelling; it is possible that the rise in personal mobile Internet via smart devices during the period may skew this picture somewhat, hence the additional insights yielded when integrating the changes to number of dwellings over the period shown in this map.

For the first time, Census 2006 collected information on the presence and type of Internet connection in homes.


This map shows the total number of Internet connections in each postcode area.

The same information zoomed in for metropolitan Sydney.

Another way of looking at the information is to calculate the ratio of Internet connections to number of dwellings.


The closer the number is to “1” the more likely it is that dwellings in that postcode will have an Internet connection.

One could use this kind of information to assist in planning rollout priority for new infrastructure, for example.

The same information for metropolitan Sydney.

Change in the ratio of Internet connections per dwelling 2006 – 2011.

For some areas where the absolute number of connections may have increased, the ratio of connections per dwelling has decreased. It is possible that this reflects areas where fixed Internet connection has been historically unreliable and / or expensive, and a consumer switch to mobile based technologies has occurred. Again an example of how such data may usefully guide the prioritisation of large scale infrastructure planning.


Population change for NSW and the ACT 2006 – 2011.

The continuing trend in drift of populations from the bush to regional towns and major cities is illustrated in these maps, comparing the total population in each postcode using 2006 populations as the baseline, i.e. 2006 population is 100%.

The trend is further illustrated by using smaller labels to indicate smaller starting population numbers..


When zoomed in to the greater Sydney region, the rapid population growth of some suburbs already with high populations in 2006 becomes very clear. Immigration and urban planners can use insights like these to fine-tune policies and plans. Both 2006 and 2011 MapMakers Census products contain a rich array of default demographic data to underpin this kind of research and analysis.


(the small red area just right of centre is the Concord Repatriation Hospital 2139, hopefully indicating far fewer sick beds occupied in 2011!)

The demographic has been exported for display in Google Earth. The “higher” the postcode above the surface, the greater the population density for the group in that postcode area. The colours are formatted on the actual number of the group in each postcode, red (low) through green (high). Combining the two views illustrates some interesting patterns, where for example absolute numbers are low, but density is high (the red and yellow medium height “skyscrapers” in central Sydney). Click the image to see more examples.


Please note, this product is not directly suitable for direct use in Google Earth, owing to very limited data field capacity in that application. This example was processed entirely in a GIS and then exported in the limited format required by GE.

If all the statistics confirming the pressures of modern life are thriving in your postcode and you feel a “sea change” beckons, here’s a peace and quiet map!


Population density in other words. This is the number of people per km² in each postcode area.

Sample postcode data displayed via a Google Map

Click on a postcode to see a sub-set of the Census data included in this product range.

This sample data is available on our download page.

Following are a few notes outlining differences between current and previous Census data products, including update options for existing users:


MapMakers Postcode data product content for the 2016 Census

Each Census has some variation in the questions asked when compared with previous Censuses – the inclusion of questions about Internet connectivity in the 2006 and again in the 2011 Census is a good example. The questions asked in the 2016 Census were the same as those in 2006 and 2011, but there are some changes to data field IDs and names. A concordance table providing Census 2006, 2011 attribute names and their equivalents for 2016 attributes is supplied to all Licensees upgrading to 2016 Census Enhanced MapMakers data products.

Upgrading from MapMakers products based on the 2011 Census to products incorporating 2016 Census data.

We offer existing 2011 Census Enhanced Postcode Data Licensees generous discount rates to update to products incorporating 2016 Census data. Default upgraded products will contain data fields from both the 2011 and 2016 Censuses. We know the sheer number of data fields can be problematic for users of some popular GIS packages, there will be over 550 data fields in an upgraded product. We can process to meet your different requirements if required, standard custom mapping charges apply. Three upgrade paths are available:

  • For current Postcode Update subscribers, your geography is automatically updated so only new attribute data is involved; as an update subscriber, you will already have been supplied updated geography with 2016 Census data at no additional cost.
  • For clients with a static License (i.e. no geography updates since the time of Licensing and no wish to update to current geography) the update data charge is 20% of your original License cost, plus a time based processing charge. If we re-process your original data as supplied from our archive, we expect this to take approximately 3 hours, so would cost an additional $525. You may have significant internal modifications to original data as supplied; we will work with you to provide any desired updates, but would need to discuss this on a case-by-case basis to determine how much time is likely to be required, please contact us through the usual channels.
  • For clients with a static License (i.e. no geography updates since the time of Licensing) but who now would like to update to current geography as well as receive new Census 2011 data, you will be charged for cumulative annual upgrade costs from the date of your current License based on the current list price of the Licensed product(s) for which an upgrade is required. This structure aims to be fair on clients who have taken advantage of the Postcode Update service, and accommodate the cumulative changes incorporating new postcodes, boundary changes and deletion of redundant postcodes over time. In practice, if your License is more than five years old, you will need to buy a new product license.

New users wanting both 2011 and 2016 Data.

From late 2017, our Census Enhanced Postcode Data products contain default attributes drawn from the 2016 Census only, these replace the previous range using 2011 Census data. While upgrade paths are available for existing 2011 product Licensees, new users may also wish to deploy multi-Census data for time series, trend analyses or similar. While no longer available via the web site shopping cart, products with both sets of Census data will be maintained and remain available at least until the 2021 Census. If you require a multi Census Postcode Data product, please e-mail sales including the product ID(s) you require and include the tag “plus 2011 dat” in the subject line or prominently in the message body. There is a price difference of +20% from the current 2011 product range for the multi Census products.

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