3101.0.55.001 - Information Paper: Rebasing Population Estimates, Australia, 2011, Aug 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/09/2011  First Issue
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The Australian Bureau of Statistics takes a Census of Population and Housing ('Census') every five years as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905. One of the key reasons for undertaking a five-yearly population Census is so that the statistical series on official population estimates are as accurate as possible to inform evidence-based decisions by government, business and the community.

The Estimated Resident Population (ERP) statistics by state and territory are used to inform decisions such as:

  • allocating Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue and other funds to the states and territories as set out in the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009 and the Local Government Assistance (Financial Assistance) Act 1995, and
  • allocating the number of seats for the House of Representatives between the states and territories as set out in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to ensure representation which is proportional to population.

Taking a Census regularly directly enables the updating and maintenance of an accurate time series of population estimates. In 2011, Census night was Tuesday 9 August. Following the processing of Census responses into aggregate statistics, the ABS will undertake a program of work to compile and release updated population estimates for states and territories in mid 2012, and subsequently for other disaggregations (e.g. estimates for sub-state geographic areas and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians).

The purposes of this paper are to:

  • explain the process of using the latest Census data to update the existing series of population estimates;
  • describe the range of population estimates which will become available following the 2011 Census rebasing cycle;
  • provide scheduled release dates for these population estimates and related statistics; and to
  • give an overview of the opportunities for stakeholders and data users to discuss these plans with the ABS.