Plenary Speakers


Confirmed Key Note speakers

Jennifer Lee Berkely

Professor Jennifer Lee
– School of Social Sciences, University of California

Title of talk: ‘Diversity and its Discontents’
Abstract: The United States is more ethnoracially diverse than at any point in the country’s history as a result of immigration, intermarriage, and multiracial identification. The Latino and Asian populations have more than tripled in size since 1970; Latinos are now the largest ethnoracial minority group, and Asians the fastest growing group in the country. Also contributing to America’s new diversity is increasing intermarriage and a growing multiracial population.

However, these broad national trends mask stark intergroup differences: America’s ethnoracial groups are not equal participants in the new diversity. Moreover, the new diversity is evident in some states and metropolitan areas, yet nearly invisible in others. While diversity is helping to erode some colour lines, this process is not occurring at the same pace for all ethnoracial groups nor in all parts of the country, revealing that the United States is far from a “post-racial” society.

Alan Smith UK
Alan Smith, OBE – Head of Digital Statistics, UK Office for National Statistics

Title of talk: ‘Visual, Personal, Social: Adventures in Presenting Statistics’
Abstract: The visual presentation of data through maps, charts and other types of graphics is a long-established part of the statistician’s toolkit. But the use of data graphics presents many issues for data-driven organisations in the digital age. Who are we designing graphics for? What specific benefits do graphics bring them? And who should produce them?

This talk will focus on some of the work of ONS’ Data Visualisation Centre and its mission to promote statistical literacy and engagement through visual methods. It will particularly address opportunities to bring statistics to a broader audience through the use of persona analysis and the application of modern tools and platforms to address age-old problems.”


Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
– Department of Public Health, Otago University

Title of talk: ‘Shrinking Suburbs and Town: Changes in household formation and housing needs’
Abstract: A number of demographic changes have considerable importance for housing policy. An absence of integrated housing policies can have had an impact on family formation. In New Zealand, the 2013 Census showed a decline in average household size and crowded households, but an increase in the number of people living in crowded households, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch.

The lack of a capital gains tax in New Zealand has led to housing being the most popular financial investment and this has had the effect of raising house prices, again primarily in Auckland and Christchurch. Growing inequalities in wealth, and income after increasing housing costs, has led to a steady decline in home ownership, especially among young adults. Increasing numbers of children are now being brought up in largely unregulated and poorer quality rental accommodation.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson
– Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, The Salvation Army

Title of talk: ‘Changing Fortunes – The economic and social fortunes of regional New Zealand and their population impacts’
Abstract: The neo-liberal world view which has dominated New Zealand’s politics and public policy for the past 30 years has not only increased inequalities in wealth and income but is has redistributed advantage and disadvantage. This redistribution of course has a spatial dimension to it as witnessed by the quite different economic and social fortunes across communities and regions within New Zealand.

These different fortunes have population implications of at least two sorts. Communities and regions with advantages and opportunities of course attract people to them so there are shifts and changes in where people live. Those people who are unwilling or unable to shift to these opportunities may be left stuck in places where the social and economic disadvantages they face are multiplied. Often too these people and communities have the poorest access to resources which might allow them to cope and be sustained meaning that their quality of life is often compromised.

The paper considers the changing fortunes of New Zealand’s regions over the past decade or so and especially the geographic distribution of advantage and disadvantage between regions. The implications of this distribution for the structure of our population are discussed and some tentative ideas are offered on what possible futures these may create for New Zealand

Dr Siu-Ming Tam
– Methodology and Data Management Division, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Title of talk: ‘Big Data, Offcial Statistics and some initiatives by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’
Abstract: Official statisticians have been dealing with a diversity of data sources for decades. New sources from Big Data can help them deliver an efficient and effective official statistical service, provided that the sources satisfy a number of conditions, including the ability to provide valid statistical inferences.

Until recently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) progress in Big Data domain has been primarily review and monitoring of industry developments while contributing to external strategic and concept development activities. However, ABS efforts have recently been stepped up both in terms of methodological research, and participation in national and international activities on Big Data. Finally ABS is collaborating with the Centre of Excellent on Mathematics and Statistics, which is funded by the Australian Research Council, with a mandate to discover new sights from Big Data.

This talk will outline a number of considerations for the official statistician when deciding whether to embrace a particular Big Data source in the regular production of official statistics, and the more significant ABS initiatives on Big Data.