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2077.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counts, 2006-2011 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/09/2013  First Issue
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. How large was the increase in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2006 and 2011?

There was a 21%, or 93,300, increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people counted in the Census between 2006 and 2011. While Census counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been increasing since 1971, this increase was the largest since 1991-1996 when Census counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased by 33%.

2. Where was most of the increase?

The vast majority (90% or 83,100) of the 93,300 increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2006 and 2011 occurred in non-remote areas, with just over two-thirds (67% or 62,400) of the increase occurring in New South Wales and Queensland.

3. What was the reason for the large increase in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2006 and 2011?

Births, deaths and overseas migration accounted for over two-thirds (70% or 65,500) of the additional 93,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people counted in the 2011 Census. This means that most of the increase can be explained by measurable demographic factors of population change.

4. What are the other reasons for the increase?

The remaining 30% (27,800 people) of the total increase in the Census count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was the result of a range of factors including improvements to Census enumeration and a decrease in the number of Census records with an unknown Indigenous status. The analysis in this publication suggests that the most significant factor was a change in the way some people reported their Indigenous status between 2006 and 2011, resulting in them identifying themselves and (if they had children) their children as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in the 2011 Census but not in the 2006 Census.

5. Why is it important to understand the increase in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2006 and 2011?

Large increases in Census counts require careful consideration to assess if any changes observed in the characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the result of an increase in number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people counted, or an actual outcome for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people identified in the previous Census. Similarly, a large increase in the Census counts could mask actual change in characteristics for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people identified in the previous Census.

6. Do the characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people counted in the 2011 Census differ from those counted in 2006?

Comparisons of the Census counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2006 and 2011 suggest there has been little change in selected characteristics, such as the proportion of people living in each Remoteness Area, fertility rates and labour force outcomes.

The most significant differences between 2006 and 2011 in the characteristics examined in this publication were an increase in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over with a Year 12 or equivalent qualification (up from 20% to 25%) and an increase in the proportion of those aged 25 years and over with a non-school qualification (up from 25% to 31%).

7. Can I compare 2011 Census data with 2006 Census data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

Yes. Census data from 2006 and 2011 represent the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at each point in time.

However, as the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was much larger in 2011 than in 2006, any change in socio-economic characteristics should not be assumed to reflect an outcome for the population identified in 2006. Caution should be exercised when comparing rates calculated using 2006 data and 2011 data (for example, the Year 12 attainment rate or labour force participation rate), and when constructing analysis based on small area or small sub-populations.

8. Where can I go for more information about how the data were collected?

For information about how the ABS takes a Census, refer to How Australia Takes a Census (cat. no. 2903.0).

For estimates of net undercount for the 2011 Census, as well as details about how the estimates have been calculated, refer to Census of Population and Housing - Details of Undercount, 2011 (cat. no. 2940.0).

For estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2011 for various geographies, refer to Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011 (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001).


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