3113.0 - Demography Working Paper 1998/1 - Issues in Estimating Small Area Populations, 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/03/1999   
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Demography Working Paper 98/1


Andrew Howe

November 1998


In Australia, the Statistical Local Area (SLA) is the base spatial unit used to collect and disseminate statistics other than those collected from the Population Census. Population estimates for SLAs are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as at 30 June each year.

Data from the 1991 Census was used to produce SLA population estimates as at 30 June 1991. These were then used as a base to provide preliminary estimates for 1992 to 1996, by applying estimation techniques to various data sources such as buildings approvals and Medicare enrolments.

Following the release of 1996 Census data, population estimates for 30 June 1996 were recalculated. These are customarily adopted as the 'true', or final, 1996 estimates.

The inevitable discrepancies that occurred between the preliminary and final 1996 SLA estimates can be attributed to several factors, including: the inherent characteristics of the region (such as population size and growth rate); changes in the geographic boundaries; the quality of input data; the estimation method; and adjustments to State and Territory totals. This paper investigates the differences between the preliminary and final 1996 SLA estimates by assessing the magnitude and nature of these discrepancies.

See also: Demography Working Paper 2000/3 - Methods and Procedures for Estimating Small Area Populations in Australia