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4.1. The accuracy of population estimates is dependent on the quality of population census data, the estimates of census net undercount derived from the census Post-Enumeration Survey and the statistics of the components of population change which are used to update the census year population. This chapter discusses these various sources of data and their accuracy.
4.2. The base population for population estimates, which is derived from the latest available Population Census, comprises residents only, (ie. people whose place of usual residence is in Australia). The Census of Population and Housing in Australia, however, is currently enumerated according to their actual location and aims to count everyone who spends Census night in Australia except for foreign diplomats and their families. This includes Australian residents in Antarctica and people in the territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The other Australian territories of Norfolk Island and minor islands such as Heard and McDonald Islands, are outside the scope of the Australian Census. Australians out of the country on Census night are generally out of scope of the Census.
Non-response to census questions
4.6. Besides the question on address, questions on age, sex, marital status, country of birth and Indigenous origin are particularly important in the context of estimating population. Instances in which people do not answer these questions therefore have a bearing on the accuracy of census counts, although information is imputed by the ABS from other details supplied on the census form or, failing that, using a variety of imputation techniques. Details are imputed for all instances in which there is no response to questions on age and sex.