written by

Michael Woods (He/Him)

Get to know your community with these free data tools

Typically, one of the great challenges faced when delivering inclusive sport activities is actually getting people to come along. This may be due to several factors but often it is because we don’t fully understand the community we are delivering our activities in. Why is this important? Well, by understanding the places we deliver our activities we know more about the types of people who live there. Once we know this we can engage directly with the community and design activities that suit their needs.

For example, if you know the community has a large migrant population from a particular region you can work towards delivering activities which appeal to them, or work with them to find ways to get them involved.

Having a good understanding of the types of people in the community will go a long way to improve your chances of engaging them in your sport activities.

A good place start is by doing some research. Here we provide you with some handy data tools that will help you build a better picture of what types of people make up the communities you deliver your sport activities in. The best thing is these are all free!


Australian Bureau of Statistics

The ABS is your number one source of up to date and historic statistics about the Australian population. The ABS offers a host of information from raw data sets through to interactive tools that help us understand what the numbers mean. Here we provide a selection of tools that you may find useful. But spend some time exploring the ABS site as it’s a treasure trove of useful information.

Browse Statistics

To gain some insight you can jump straight into some specific stats by browsing the range of topics listed on the ABS website here. Alternatively, you can select from the list of suggested topics below:

Data in Pictures

Data in Pictures delivers eye catching infographics that are shareable, easily digestible and provide a good starting point for accessing selected data on the states, territories and capital cities of Australia.

Infographic of demographic data for Perth

Data by Region

The Data by Region tool on the ABS website is one of the most useful tools for understanding your local community. Data by Region provides you easy access to statistics on a particular geographical region. It lets you explore a whole host of statistics right down to your local level using an interactive map.

Image of a map of Hobart from the ABS Data by Region tool

Find the Data by Region tool here.

Community Profiles

The Community Profiles tool on the ABS website is great for researching, planning and analysing geographic areas for a number of social, economic and demographic characteristics.

A Community Profile provides a comprehensive statistical picture of an area in Excel format, providing data relating to people, families and dwellings. They cover most topics on the Census form.

You can watch a tutorial created by the ABS below.

Find the Community Profile tool here.


.id are a consulting firm specialising in the analysis and interpretation of population and demographic data. They help organisations decide where and when to locate services to meet the changing needs of their communities. The great thing is they also offer free regional profiles that you can use to build a better understanding of your local community.

Check out .id's community profiles here.

SBS Census Explorer

This tool provides an interactive platform where you can explore the most recent Australian Census data. You can narrow your search by a whole host of factors including language, places, and topics. It provides interactive charts, tables and maps.

Check it out here.

Clearinghouse for Sport

The Clearinghouse for Sport (Clearinghouse) is the principal information coordination point for Australian sport. It aims to share knowledge and insights about elite sport, organised and grassroots sport, and increasing physical activity levels within our communities. In the Clearinghouse you can find plenty of information on a range of topics, some of which may assist in building a better understating of the places we deliver sport such as:

Monash University - Mapping Australia's Population

This site seeks to augment informed public discussion of immigration and population issues. The information on the site is provided to further inform understanding of population change in Australia, as indicated by statistics detailing immigration and population growth and Australian public opinion on immigration and population issues.

Check out the Monash Univeristy site here.


Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is the national statistical office. The agency ensures Canadians have the key information on Canada's economy, society and environment that they require to function effectively as citizens and decision makers.Statistics Canada provides information from raw data sets through to interactive tools that help us understand what the numbers mean. Here I provide a selection of tools that you may find useful. But spend some time exploring the Statistics Canada website as it’s a treasure trove of useful information.

A good place to start is the Census Products page.

Census Program Data Viewer

The Census Program Data Viewer (CPDV) is a new web-based data visualisation tool that will make statistical information more interpretable by presenting key indicators in a statistical dashboard.

Access the Census Program Data Viewer here.

Census Profile tool

This tool presents information from the 2016 Census of Population for various levels of geography, including provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas, communities and census tracts. Use the search bar or browse options to find your area of interest by typing its place name, postal code or geographic code or by browsing a list.

Access the Census Profile tool here.

Disability data sources

You will notice that the Census Data Profile tool does not include Disability statistics. For this you can use one or more of the data sources below. However, be aware these sources only allow you to view data at the Provincial/Territory level.

United Kingdom

Office for National Statistics

The ONS is the UK's largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK. A good place to start is the Local Statistics page.

NOMIS Local Area Report tool

Nomis is a service provided by the Office for National Statistics, ONS, to give you free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources. It provides a range of tools and resources but the most useful one for getting to know the local population is the Local Area Report tool. Simply enter your area name or post code to view a report for a local area such as a parish, ward, village or town. Includes information on the characteristics of people and households in the area.

Access the Local Area Report tool here.

United States of America

United States Census Bureau

The USCB is your first port of call for important data about the American population and economy. The USCB provides information from raw data sets through to interactive tools that help us understand what the numbers mean. Here I provide a selection of tools that you may find useful. But spend some time exploring the USCB site as it’s a treasure trove of useful information.

A good place to start is the Data Tools and Apps page.

Explore Census Data tool

This is a relatively new resource created by the USCB. It provides a more streamlined way to access data. This is probably the most useful tool available to find key population data about your local community.

Access the Explore Census Data tool here.

Quick Facts tool

The USCB QuickFacts tool provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more. Just insert your location to get population data relevant to your region.

Access the Quick Facts tool here.

New Zealand

Stats NZ

Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa is New Zealand's official data agency.

Stats NZ collects information from people and organisations through censuses and surveys. They use this information to publish insights and data about New Zealand, and support others to use the data. There is a large amount of information available on the Stats NZ website but a great place to start is the Population page.

QuickStats about a place tool

QuickStats about a place gives you an overview of New Zealand's communities. Get information on topics such as age and sex, cultural diversity, qualifications, income, and housing.

Data is available for New Zealand, regional council areas, territorial authority areas (cities and districts), Auckland local board areas, and area units.

Access the QuickStats about a place tool here.

Hopefully these free data tools will help you understand your communities a little better.

Do you know of any other sources of information that help understand our communities better? Head over to the ISD Community page to share the data sources you use.

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