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2016.5 - Census of Population and Housing: Selected Characteristics for Urban Centres and Localities, Western Australia, Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Islands, 1996  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/01/1998   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


    Scope and Coverage
    1. The 1996 Census of Population and Housing was held on 6 August 1996. The first census was held in 1911 and since 1961 a census has been taken every five years, a frequency which is specified in the Census and StatisticsAct - 1905. The objective of the census is to measure accurately the number and key characteristics of people in Australia on census night, and the dwellings in which they live.

    2. The census aims to count every person who spends census night in Australia. This includes Australian residents in Antarctica and people in the Territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The other Australian External Territories, Norfolk Island and minor islands such as Heard and McDonald Islands, are outside the scope of the Australian Census. The only people who spend census night in Australia but are excluded from the census are foreign diplomats and their families.

    3. The census includes people on vessels in or between Australian ports, on board long distance trains, buses or aircraft and on oil or gas rigs off the Australian coast. People entering Australia before midnight on census night are counted while people leaving an Australian port for an overseas destination before midnight on census night are not. Visitors to Australia are included regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay. However, for people who intend to be in Australia less than six months only basic demographic data are available. The census includes people camping out and the homeless.

    4. All private dwellings, except diplomatic dwellings, are included in the census, whether occupied or unoccupied. Caravans in caravan parks, manufactured homes in manufactured home estates and self-care units in accommodation for the retired or aged are counted only if occupied. Occupied non-private dwellings, such as hospitals, prisons, hotels, etc. are also included.

    5. Details about the 1996 Census content, collection operations, confidentiality and privacy protection, processing and evaluation activities are contained in 1996 Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content of the Census (Cat. no. 2008.0).

    ABS Population Estimates
    6. These documents contain population counts based on where people were counted on census night, which may not have been where they usually lived. However, the Census can provide person counts based on place of usual residence.

    7. Official ABS population estimates (estimated resident population (ERP)) are also separately available from the ABS. The estimates are based on census counts which have been adjusted to:

  • include people who were in Australia on census night but were missed in the Census;
  • include Australian residents who were temporarily overseas on census night (these people were not within scope of the Census); and
  • exclude overseas visitors counted in the Census who were not usual residents of Australia.

    8. The adjusted census count is then updated quarterly using demographic statistics. These are statistics on births, deaths, and overseas and internal migration.

    9. ABS population estimates are published in Australian Demographic Statistics

    (Cat. no. 3101.0), produced quarterly, and in Estimated Resident Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (Cat. no. 3201.0) produced annually.

    10. The ABS also provides projections (based on different assumptions as to future fertility, mortality and migration) of the resident population of Australia, States and Territories. These projections are published biennially in Population Projections (Cat. no. 3222.0).

    Data Limitations
    11. Census data are subject to a number of inaccuracies resulting from errors by respondents or mistakes in collection or processing. Whilst many of these are corrected by careful processing procedures, some still remain. The effect of the remaining errors is generally slight, although it may be more important for small groups in the population. The main kinds of error to keep in mind are:
  • Partial non-response: In some cases where an answer is not provided to a question an answer is imputed (often from other information on the form). In other cases a 'Not stated' code is allocated.
  • Processing error: While such errors can occur in any processing system, quality management is used continuously to improve the quality of processed data, and to identify and correct data of unacceptable quality.
  • Random adjustment: Table cells containing small values are randomly adjusted or suppressed to avoid releasing information about particular individuals, families, or households. The effects of these adjustments are statistically insignificant.
  • Respondent error: Because processing procedures cannot detect or repair all errors made by people in completing the forms, some remain in final data.
  • Undercount: Although the Census aims to count each person, there are some people who are missed and others are counted more than once. The data in these documents are not adjusted for the net undercount.

    12. Further information on data quality is provided progressively in Census Update (Cat. no. 2902.0) and in 1996 Census Data Quality Working Papers.

    Overseas Visitors
    13. Data for overseas visitors (who intend to be in Australia for less than six months) are restricted to age, sex and marital status. In these documents, overseas visitors contribute only to the age, sex and total person counts.
    Calculation of Proportions
    14. When calculating the proportion of the population with a particular characteristic, 'Not stated' responses are included in the denominator. For example, in the Summary of Findings, the proportion who are of indigenous origin has been calculated by dividing the number of persons who stated that they were of indigenous origin by the total population (including those who did not respond to the relevant question) and expressing the result as a percentage.
    Calculation of Medians
    15. A median is a measure of central tendency. It is a mid-value which divides a population distribution into two, with half the observations falling below it and half above it. Unlike averages (means), medians are not usually skewed by extreme observations.

    16. There are several issues to be aware of:

  • The categories 'Not stated', 'Overseas visitor', and 'Not applicable' are not included in the population distribution when calculating medians.
  • If a median falls into a category that has a text only label then the median is set to zero. For these documents this is only relevant to the calculation of median household income, as the income classification includes the categories 'Nil income' and 'Negative income'.
  • If the median is calculated on a classification containing ranges and a range is open-ended and the median falls within that category, the median is set to the number in the label. For example, in the calculation of the median household income, if the median falls in the last range $2,000 or more, $2,000 is allocated as the median.
    Unadjusted Dollars
    17. The 1991 Census dollar values for Median Household Income, Median Housing Loan Repayments and Median Rent paid have not been adjusted into 1996 dollars.
    Symbols and Other Usages
    18. The following abbreviations and symbols are used in these documents:
    ABS - Australian Bureau of Statistics

    ACT - Australian Capital Territory

    ERP - Estimated Resident Population

    n.a. - not available

    NSW - New South Wales

    NZ - New Zealand

    UK - United Kingdom

    - nil or rounded to zero

    Spatial units
    CD - Collection District

    L - Locality

    SLA - Statistical Local Area

    SOS - Section of State

    S/T - State/Territory

    UC/L - Urban Centre/Locality



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