ABOUT THIS RELEASE
This publication is part of the Demography Working Paper series.
This paper reports on user needs and the conceptual, methodological and reporting load issues involved in estimating service populations. It has been prepared in response to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 1996 Review of Demography Statistics, with the intention that the paper will promote discussion about the issues raised within.
The term service populations refers to those persons who demand goods or services from providers of such commodities. Such persons may be permanent or temporary residents of the area from which the service is sought, or they may be daytime visitors (including commuters), overnight or short-term visitors to the area.
Nearly 40 percent of agencies which responded to the 1996 Demography Review specified that estimates of resident populations (ERPs), as currently prepared by the ABS, do not meet their population needs since services can also be demanded by persons not resident to an area.
It is not surprising that the Review concluded that support for service population estimation is strong and widespread given the expansion of the service industry sector over the past twenty years (as measured by employment growth). Such support is also consistent with informal comments made by a variety of population users, especially over the last decade, about limitations associated with ERPs.
Whilst population estimates based on place of 'usual residence' are conceptually sound and are favoured over 'place of enumeration' estimates by many international statistical agencies, the relevance of 'usual residence' based estimates to some users is limited by the level of population mobility hidden within these estimates. Concerned users are therefore seeking a supplementary series of population estimates to ERPs.