ABOUT ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATISTICS
There are a number of issues which impact on the use of Census data for measuring the size of the Indigenous population. These include: under enumeration of the Indigenous population, interpretation of Census records where Indigenous status is unknown, and the changing level of reported identification as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
The estimated resident population (ERP) is the official measure of the population of Australia and the states and territories and is adjusted for net undercount and unknown Indigenous status.To arrive at the estimated resident population for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the Census count is adjusted for instances in which Indigenous status is unknown and for net undercount (See Glossary).
For more information on the ERP see Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 4705.0) and the Indigenous estimated resident population - method of calculation feature article in Australian Demographic Statistics, March quarter 2007 (cat. no. 3101.0).
All ABS surveys ask about Indigenous status. However the size of the Indigenous component of any sample is generally quite small and hence obtaining reliable data about the Indigenous population is not always possible.
The usefulness of administrative data collections for collecting Indigenous statistics is currently limited by whether a person's Indigenous status is recorded in the collection and how accurately it is recorded. This varies from collection to collection and place to place, and is often unknown.
The ABS and other agencies, in partnership with state and territory authorities and the Indigenous community, are making efforts to improve the quality and completeness of Indigenous identification in key administrative collections.
This page last updated 1 April 2010