2940.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Details of Overcount and Undercount, Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2017   
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INDIGENOUS STATUS

Special procedures are used in the Census to support the enumeration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, particularly in remote areas, as counting this population continues to present a number of challenges.

The 2016 PES estimated that 786,689 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should have been counted in the Census, compared with 648,939 persons who were counted. This is equivalent to a net undercount of 137,750 persons, or a rate of 17.5%. This is only slightly higher than 2011, which estimated a net undercount of 114,188 persons, or a rate of 17.2%.

Net Undercount Rate, Indigenous Status(a), 2011-2016

PES population estimate
Census count(b)(c)
Net undercount
Net undercount rate
no.
SE
no.
no.
SE
%
SE

2016
Indigenous
786 689
19 776
648 939
137 750
19 776
17.5
2.1
Non-Indigenous
22 837 014
46 483
21 337 326
1 499 688
46 483
6.6
0.2
Not stated
1 411 031
2011
Indigenous
662 335
14 274
548 147
114 188
14 274
17.2
1.8
Non-Indigenous
21 216 926
37 272
19 898 127
1 318 799
37 272
6.2
0.2
Not stated
1 058 447

Nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
(a) Net undercount is based on Census counts for a category. In the Census, Indigenous status was set to not stated where the response was blank or where imputed person records were created for non-responding dwellings. Hence components of undercount for Indigenous status do not sum to the Australia total.
(b) Includes imputed persons in non-responding dwellings. These were all given an Indigenous status of not stated.
(c) Refers to Census counts which correspond to the scope of the PES and may differ slightly from aggregate counts in other Census products.


It is important to note that Indigenous status, as collected in both the Census and PES, is based on responses to a question related to information that some people will consider personal and sensitive. Respondents may choose to indicate in the Census that they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, or they may choose to not answer the question at all.

If no answer is provided, the Census does not impute for this missing response (which is also the case for imputed persons). While the person (real or imputed) will continue to be counted in broad-level Census counts, they will not be included in the Census counts for Indigenous status. There were 1,411,031 people (6.0%) whose Indigenous status was not stated in the 2016 Census, compared with 1,058,447 people (4.9%) in 2011.

For information on how Census not stated responses feed into estimates of net undercount, see Components of Net Undercount on the Summary tab.