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Data quality assurance
Census Post Enumeration Survey
The Census is a large and complex exercise. There are always going to be a small number of people missed or who are counted more than once.
People may be missed for several reasons. For example, they may have been travelling and were difficult to contact, the person completing the form may have mistakenly thought that they shouldn't be counted, or the household was difficult to find. People can also be counted when they should not have been. This can occur when a person was overseas on Census night, but they were still included on a Census form at their home.
The Post Enumeration Survey is a short survey run the month after the Census to determine how many people were missed, counted more than once, or counted in error.
It is run separately from the Census to provide an independent assessment of the completeness of the Census.
From the Post Enumeration Survey, it is possible to determine the number of people who should have been counted in the Census. This is then compared to the number of people who were counted in the Census. The difference is referred to as ‘net undercount’ or ‘net overcount’.
For more information
For further information on the 2016 Post Enumeration Survey and net undercount, refer to the Census of Population and Housing: Details of Overcount and Undercount, Australia, 2016 (Cat.no. 2940.0).
2021 Census Statistical Independent Assurance Panel
The ABS will establish a 2021 Census Statistical Independent Assurance Panel. The 2021 Panel will independently assure the 2021 Census data and publicly release a report on their findings.
This initiative follows the establishment of the 2016 Census Independent Assurance Panel. The 2016 Panel published their findings in the Report on the Quality of 2016 Census data, which is available on the ABS website. The 2016 Panel recommended that the ABS continue the practice of an Independent Assurance Panel reviewing the quality of the Census data to provide greater transparency and accountability.
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