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2914.0.55.002 - 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media Releases and Fact Sheets, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2007  First Issue
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MEDIA FACT SHEET
June 27, 2007
Embargoed 9.30 am (AEST)
70/2007
The difference explained: comparing the Census population count and the estimated resident population



The 2006 Census counted 19,855,289 Australian residents on Census night, an increase of 11.8% since the 1996 Census.

Earlier this month the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the official estimate of Australia's population – the estimated resident population (ERP). This estimated that there were 20,701,500 people usually resident in Australia as at 30 June 2006.

These figures are different for good reason.

The Census counted whoever was in Australia, wherever they happened to be, on Census Night (8 August 2006) – a frozen snapshot in time. However the estimated resident population figure takes into account the wider picture and moves people back to where they live. For example, Australians temporarily overseas are not counted in the Census, but they are accounted-for in the estimated resident population figures.

Because they are comprehensive, the estimated resident population figures are used as the official population estimate.

The estimated resident population as at 30 June 2006 used the 2006 Census counts as a base. The count was adjusted to exclude temporary overseas visitors in Australia. Then these figures were adjusted to include Australian residents temporarily overseas on Census Night as well as an estimate of people not counted on Census Night. Finally, the estimates took into account births, deaths and migration that occurred between 30 June 2006 and Census Night – 8 August 2006.

Official population estimates are used to determine the number of seats each state and territory has in the House of Representatives, as stipulated in Section 24 of the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act, 1918, and this is why the ABS must, by law, carry out a census every five years. Official population estimates are also used in the distribution of Commonwealth funds to state and territory governments, funds which are used for the provision of a wide range of services.

NB: The figures in this fact sheet exclude overseas visitors. Where an answer to a question has not been provided (i.e. not stated) these occurrences form a separate category in the data and therefore some percentages do not total to 100%.

Source: ABS 2006 Census.

Table 1. 2006 Census: usual residence census counts by state and territory

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(a)

Population
6 549 172
4 932 422
3 904 534
1 514 339
1 959 088
476 481
192 899
324 034
19 855 289
% change 1996-2006
9.0
11.7
20.2
5.4
14.8
2.6
10.0
8.4
11.8

(a) Australia's total includes Other Territories.

Table 2. 2006 Census: usual residence census counts by capital city(a)

Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane
Adelaide
Perth
Hobart
Darwin
Canberra

Population
4 119 190
3 592 591
1 763 131
1 105 839
1 445 078
200 525
105 991
323 056
% change
1996-2006
10.8
13.8
19.6
5.3
16.4
4.9
35.2
8.4

(a) Capital City Statistical Division.

Table 3. Estimated Resident Population figures as at 31 December 2006 (latest available figures)

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(a)

Population
6 854 848
5 165 404
4 132 015
1 575 714
2 080 966
491 666
212 551
336 444
20 851 997
% Annual
growth(b)
0.9
1.5
2.0
1.0
2.1
0.6
1.8
1.2
1.4

(a) Australia's total includes Other Territories.
(b) Growth for calendar year 2006.


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