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3238.0 - Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2014   
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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia are based on population estimates derived from the most recent Census of Population and Housing (currently 2011) and Post Enumeration Survey as well as data from the birth and death registration collections. Assumptions about past and future levels of the components of population change are applied to the base Census population in order to produce estimates (for earlier reference years) and projections (for future reference years).

Assumptions are derived from an analysis of data sourced form a variety of institutional environments. Much of this data is administrative by-product data collected by other organisations. Assumptions on fertility and mortality are based on births and deaths statistics extracted from registers administered by the various state and territory registrars of births, deaths and marriages.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

RELEVANCE

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates for years prior to the base population provide estimates on a temporally consistent basis, thus eliminating any inconsistencies in estimates due to the changing propensity of people to identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander across Censuses or changes to the methods used to collect this information. Estimates are published for Australia and the states/territories, by five-year age groups and sex. Single year of age data is also available for persons only.

Population projections inform on future changes in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia, such as population growth/decline and changes in age structure, and are therefore used in a variety of key planning decisions. Projections are published for Australia, states/territories, Indigenous Regions and three categories of Remoteness Areas, by five-year age groups and sex. Single year of age data is also available for Australia, states/territories and three categories of Remoteness Areas for persons only.

Assumptions have been formulated on the basis of past demographic trends, in conjunction with consultation with various experts and government department representatives at the national and state/territory level. Consultation occurred between November 2013 and February 2014, after which the assumptions were finalised.

TIMELINESS

ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections are compiled and published once every five years (i.e. after each Census of Population and Housing).

ACCURACY

Base population (2011 estimates)
The estimates and projections presented in this release are based on results of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, adjusted for net undercount as measured by the Post Enumeration Survey (PES). The goal of the Census is to obtain a complete measure of the number, and characteristics, of people in Australia on Census night and their dwellings.

The ABS conducts the PES shortly after the Census to determine how many people were missed in the Census and how many were counted more than once. For 2011, the net undercount of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 114,200 persons (17%). The extent of undercoverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the 2011 Census, the relatively small sample size of the PES to adjust for the undercoverage, and the number of records with unknown Indigenous status means that 2011 population estimates should be interpreted with caution. For more information see Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011 (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001).

It is important to remember that while the Census, PES and other administrative datasets used in compiling these estimates produce statistics with relatively small amounts of error, this error can be more significant when focussing on a very small population (like the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population).

Population estimates
Given that the quality of historical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander component data (births, deaths and migration) is variable, ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates for non-Census years are produced by applying assumptions about past levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy and net interstate migration at birth to the population. As levels of life expectancy at birth are unknown, estimates should be treated with caution, particularly for the period 1996 to 2000.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates for 1996 to 2010 based on the 2011 Census supersede previously published estimates for this period.

Population projections
ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections are based on a number of assumptions on future levels of fertility, mortality and migration. They are not intended as predictions or forecasts, but are illustrative of growth and change in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population that would occur if the assumptions were to prevail over the projection period.

While the assumptions are formulated on the basis of an assessment of past demographic trends, there is no certainty that any of the assumptions will be realised. In addition, the assumptions do not attempt to allow for non-demographic factors (such as major government policy decisions, economic factors, natural disasters, epidemics or significant health treatment improvements) which may affect future demographic behaviour or outcomes.

The accuracy of each component of the data presented in this release is also affected by changing social norms and an individual's propensity to identify as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian. This propensity is not only affected by an individual's decision on how they choose to identify, but also by improvements to collections methods that allow the data to be captured more accurately. This propensity can change over time and between collections, which can significantly affect the accuracy of the data.

COHERENCE

The estimates and projections presented in this release are not consistent with estimates and projections based on 2006 or previous Censuses. As the assumptions used in each successive set of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections incorporate recent trends, comparison of data across issues of this release is not advised. As mentioned above, the coherence of this data is also affected an individual's propensity to identify in each collection and the ability of each dataset to accurately capture this information which can vary across time and between data sources. The coherence between the estimates and projections compiled at different points in time is explored in more detail in Appendix 3.

INTERPRETABILITY

ABS population projections are not intended as predictions or forecasts, and should not be considered as such. Rather, they are illustrations of growth and change in the population that would occur if the assumptions were to prevail over the projection period.

This release contains information about the assumptions and methods used to produce the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections. It also contains Explanatory Notes and Glossary that provide information on the data sources, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics and their use.

ACCESSIBILITY

ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections are available in a variety of formats on the ABS web site under the 3238.0 product family. The formats are available are:

  • Main Features, which contains commentary on key figures;
  • a .pdf version of the publication;
  • data cubes (in excel, supertable and ABS.Stat formats) containing:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections for Australia and the states and territories, by five-year age groups to 85 years and over (65 years and over for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory) and sex, for all projection series (Series A to J);
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections for Indigenous Regions, by five-year age groups (to 65 years and over) and sex (Series A, B and C);
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections for Remoteness Areas, by five-year age groups (to 75 years and over) and sex (Series A, B and C).
  • data cubes containing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections, components of change and summary statistics for Australia and the states and territories, Indigenous Regions and Remoteness Areas, for the three main projection series (Series A, B and C).

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. For inquiries contact the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email client.services@abs.gov.au.

The ABS observes strict confidentiality protocols as required by the Census and Statistics Act, 1905. This may limit access to data at a detailed level.

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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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