ABS Microdata

Researchers can gain access to a large number of Australian and New Zealand National Statistics via an agreement between the ABS and Universities Australia. There is a range of products and services available to university researchers at no cost to the researcher, including TableBuilder, CURFs and Detailed microdata.

About Microdata

  • CURF are Confidentialised Unit Record Files that contain data from ABS surveys in the form of unit records.
  • CURF have been confidentialised by removing name and address information, by controlling the amount of detail and by changing a small number of values.
  • The unit level for a CURF may be a household, an income unit or a family.
  • CURF contain the most detailed statistical information available from the ABS and are for researchers and analysts who wish to run their own statistical queries on the data using software packages such as SAS or SPSS.
  • The ABS provides three different ways to access ABS Microdata:
    1. on CD ROM.
    2. via Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), or
    3. via DataLab. (on-site at ABS offices or as part of the virtual DataLab trial program).
      Types of Microdata
      There are three types of microdata:
  • Basic CURFs are the least detailed Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) type. Users can access basic CURFs in their own environment. Individual data items in basic CURFs are likely to be at broader levels of their classification than in an expanded CURF.
  • Expanded CURFs are accessible in the secure Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and DataLab environments. They contain finer levels of detail than basic CURFs. For example, where a basic CURF might report an age classification in five-yearly increments, an expanded file may include data against each year.
  • Detailed microdata is available in the secure DataLab environment. Files released through the DataLab are de-identified and confidentialised appropriately within the context of the other security features of the DataLab. This means that the data is more detailed and requires less confidentialisation than a CURF.
    Available Microdata
  1. Register a new user account in the Registration Centre and agree to the Terms and conditions
    - Use your organisation email address when registering. 
    - If you are not sure if you have previously registered, contact or phone 02 6252 7714 before re-registering.
    - If you are a user in more than one organisation, you will need to register separately for each organisation using each organisation's email address.
  2. You will receive an email asking you to activate your account by clicking on the link.
  3. Once activated, all registered users automatically have access to the free products, including Census TableBuilder Basic.
  4. If your organisation has already been registered you may be automatically joined to your organisation in Registration Centre. You will receive a confirmation email to let you know you have been joined and which products your organisation has subscribed to. If you are not automatically joined to your organisation, contact and request to be joined to your organisation.


Access Data


  • Your organisation's Contact Officer will provide you with access to basic CURFs on CD-ROM once you have registered and joined your organisation in the Registration Centre.

    Expanded CURFs in RADL