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Indigenous Statistics for Schools


Data Constraints

Census Labour Force data versus monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Care should be taken when comparing labour force data from the Census with information collected in the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS provides Australia's official estimates of employed and unemployed persons classified by sex, full-time/part-time status, states and territories and some age groups; and persons not in the labour force.

While the Census aims to derive labour force status that is comparable with the LFS, there are a range of differences in the scope, coverage, timing, measurement of underlying labour force concepts and collection methodologies of the LFS and Census. Largely due to space limitations on the Census form, as well as constraints imposed by self enumeration, the Census uses less questions to determine labour force status.

Census data is also affected by non-response. LFS estimates only include fully responding questionnaires but are adjusted to account for any non-response. While Census and LFS survey counts may differ, the proportions of people in each industry and occupation category are similar at the broad level. For more information refer to the Census and Labour Force Survey feature article in Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2007 (cat. no. 6105.0).

For more information on labour force see Appendix 1, Census Labour Force Data, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 (

For discussion on the impact of non-response on the Indigenous status question in the Census refer to Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, (

Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP)
Care should be exercised when using Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) participation as its collection was limited to people enumerated on the Indigenous Household Form (IHF) and who answered 'Yes' to the question on whether they had a job last week (question 41 on the IHF).

The limited collection in the 2006 Census of this variable means it cannot be used as a count of people who are participating in the CDEP program. It does, however, provide information on the characteristics of those people for whom it was collected.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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