3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/12/2006   
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1 This quarterly publication contains the most recent estimates of the resident populations (ERP) of Australia and the states and territories based on the results of the Census of Population and Housing held on 7 August 2001 (with various adjustments described in paragraph 4). The publication also contains estimates of the number of households by household size as well as the latest available statistics of births, deaths (including infant deaths) and overseas and interstate migration. In addition, the publication includes estimates of the resident population by age and region, population projections for Australia and experimental estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Periodically, articles on specific demographic topics will be released on the ABS web site in conjunction with this publication.

2 Following the 1992 amendments to the Acts Interpretation Act to include the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands as part of geographic Australia, population estimates commencing from September quarter 1993 include estimates for these two territories. To reflect this change, another category of the state and territory level has been created, known as Other Territories. Other Territories include Jervis Bay Territory, previously included with the Australian Capital Territory, as well as Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, previously excluded from population estimates for Australia. Data for Other and External Territories are detailed separately in table 7.

3 Estimates for Australian External Territories will be updated annually as at 30 June unless a more recent estimate is required for a determination under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.


4 Australia’s population estimates for the period since 1971 are compiled according to the place of usual residence of the population. An explanation of the place of usual residence conceptual basis for population estimates is given in Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat.no. 3228.0).

Method of estimation

5 The estimated resident population is an estimate of the Australian population obtained by adding to the estimated population at the beginning of each period the component of natural increase (on a usual residence basis) and the component of net overseas migration. For the states and territories, account is also taken of estimated interstate movements involving a change of usual residence. Estimates of the resident population are based on census counts by place of usual residence, to which are added the estimated net census undercount and Australian residents estimated to have been temporarily overseas at the time of the census. Overseas visitors in Australia are excluded from this calculation.

6 After each census (at 30 June of the census year), estimates for the preceding intercensal period are revised by incorporating an additional adjustment (intercensal discrepancy) to ensure that the total intercensal increase agrees with the difference between the estimated resident populations at the two 30 June dates in the respective census years.

Natural increase: births and deaths

7 Natural increase is a major component of ABS quarterly state and territory population estimates and is calculated using the estimated number of births and deaths. The births and deaths data in this release are shown by state and territory of usual residence, using year/quarter of registration for preliminary data and year/quarter of occurrence for both revised and final data. This may affect time series comparisons within relevant tables. For preliminary estimates, births and deaths by quarter of registration are used as a proxy for quarter of occurrence. For revised estimates, a factor has been applied to the number of occurrences to allow for those occurrences which were yet to be registered at the time of revision. For final estimates between 30 June 1991 and 30 June 2001, year/quarter of occurrence data are used. For further details see Demography Working Paper 1998/2 - Quarterly Birth and Death Estimates (cat.no. 3114.0).

8 The timeliness and accuracy of ABS quarterly population estimates depends in part on the timeliness and accuracy of estimates of births and deaths which are based on registrations. To be able to provide timely estimates the ABS produces preliminary estimates using births and deaths by quarter of registration as a proxy for quarter of occurrence. The major difficulty in this area stems from the fact that while the vast majority of births and deaths are registered promptly, a small proportion of registrations are delayed for months or even years. Lags or accumulations in births and deaths registrations can be caused by either:

  • late notification of a birth or death event to a state or territory registry,
  • delays arising from incomplete information supplied for a registration,
  • procedural changes affecting the processing cycles in any of the state and territory registries, and
  • resolution of issues that may arise within the ABS or registry processing systems.

9 Preliminary births and deaths estimates are subject to fluctuations caused by lags or accumulations in the reporting of births and deaths registrations. Accumulations can result from the eventual processing of lagged registrations in a later quarter. As a result, preliminary quarterly estimates can be an underestimate or an overestimate of the true numbers of births and deaths occurring in a reference period. Note that estimates from September quarter 2005 onwards are preliminary.

Net overseas migration

10 Conceptually, net overseas migration (NOM) is the difference between permanent and long-term arrivals, and permanent and long-term departures. Estimates of NOM are derived from information provided on incoming and outgoing passenger cards, as well as other data supplied by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). Data on the intended duration of stay of overseas visitors arriving in Australia and the intended duration of absence of Australian residents travelling overseas are used to determine the numbers of permanent and long-term arrivals, and permanent and long-term departures. Passenger card data are also used to calculate migration adjustments and determine the state and territory distribution of NOM. The processes of adjusting movement data on travellers' stated intentions to reflect their actual behaviour are complex, and depend upon the amount and type of movement data available at a particular point in time. The methods currently used compare data on actual travel movements over a one year period with those first advised by individual travellers, and are explained in more detail in Demography Working Paper 2003/5 - Net Overseas Migration: Adjusting for Actual Duration of Stay or Absence (cat. no. 3137.0). In order to conduct such a comparison, data for a 15 month period (i.e. one year plus one quarter) are required.

11 The adjustment methods described in the working paper have been applied to NOM data from the September quarter 2001 onwards and will be subject to further investigation and improvement with the accumulation of additional data and time series. For more information see the Technical Note - Measuring Net Overseas Migration.

Net interstate migration

12 Estimates of interstate migration since June 1986 have been derived from the latest census data on interstate movement in the preceding one year and unidentified information on interstate changes of address advised to Medicare Australia in the process of administering Medicare. Medicare Australia came into operation on 1 October 2005, and now performs all the functions and provides all the services that were previously administered by the Health Insurance Commission. For further information on the process of estimating interstate migration and the administrative data used, see the Demography Working Paper: 2004/1 Review of Interstate Migration Method (cat.no. 3106.0.55.001) and the Information Paper: Evaluation of Administrative Data Sources for Use in Quarterly Estimation of Interstate Migration, 2006 to 2011 (cat. no. 3127.0.55.001)

Defence force adjustment

13 Medicare theoretically covers all Australian usual residents as well as those non-Australian residents granted temporary registration. However, there are a range of Australian usual residents who do not access the Medicare system, primarily due to access to alternative health services. One such group is the military. As such, estimates of interstate migration produced from the interstate migration model described in the working paper Demography Working Paper: 2004/1 Review of Interstate Migration Method (cat.no. 3106.0.55.001) are adjusted to compensate for defence force movements not covered by Medicare. These adjustments are estimated using counts of defence force personnel by age, sex and state/territory, obtained from the Department of Defence, with 70% of any change in quarterly defence numbers assumed to be due to interstate migration not otherwise covered by the model.


14 For the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, most prison data was received for processing via electronic data files. During the post-processing evaluation cycle, it was established that the male and female counts for Queensland prisons (only) were incorrectly captured. This resulted in the publication of incorrect census counts for males and females for various Queensland geographical areas and, as a consequence the incorrect numbers for males and females for Queensland and Australia. Revised population estimates for the 2001-02 financial year phased in a correction for this error. Information on the geographical areas affected are available in the 2001 Census Working Paper-Fact Sheet: Correction of Prison Data for Queensland.


15 The average annual growth rate, r, is calculated as a percentage using the formula
r =
Equation: rateofgrowthwhere P0 is the population at the start of the period, Pn is the population at the end of the period and n is the length of the period between Pn and P0 in years.


16 Estimates of the Indigenous population are experimental in that the standard approach to population estimation is not possible because satisfactory data on births, deaths and internal migration are not generally available. Furthermore, there is significant intercensal volatility in census counts of the Indigenous population, thus adding to the problem of estimating the true Indigenous population. This volatility can in part be attributed to changes to the Indigenous population that can not be attributed to natural increase or interstate migration. As a result, a method based on the use of life tables is used to produce time series data. For further details see Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2009 (cat. no. 3238.0).


17 Experimental estimates of the Indigenous population as at 30 June 2001 are used as the base population for projections of the Indigenous population to 30 June 2009. A low and a high projection series have been generated, and respectively imply a low and high overall growth rate of the Indigenous population. The low series assumes a change to the Indigenous population is a result of natural increase and, for states and territories, a result of interstate migration. The high series assumes an increase in the Indigenous population observed between the 1996 and 2001 censuses which cannot be attributed to natural increase. For further details see Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2009 cat. no. 3238.0).


18 Estimates of households are based on the estimated resident population series, to which propensities to form households are applied. These propensities were estimated from the Census of Population and Housing, and updated using the monthly Labour Force Survey. A detailed description of the method used to produce household estimates is contained in Household Estimates 1986, 1991-94 (cat. no. 3229.0).


19 Overseas arrival and departure statistics are derived from a combination of full enumeration and sampling. All permanent movements and all movements with a duration of stay of one year or more are fully enumerated and processed. All movements with a duration of stay of less than one year are sampled. Statistics relating to these movements are therefore estimates which may differ from statistics which would have been obtained if details of all these movements had been processed.

20 From July 1998 DIMA has been able to determine the actual length of stay for departing overseas visitors and arriving Australian residents previously collected from information on intended length of stay supplied on the arrival or departure card by the passenger. This new method has resulted in a change in data distribution with the number of passengers staying for one year exactly declining significantly.


21 Population projections presented in this publication are not predictions or forecasts. They are an assessment of what would happen to Australia's population if the assumed levels of components of population change - births, deaths and migration - were to hold for the next 50-100 years.

22 The ERP at June 2004 is the base for the projections series. The three series presented in this publication, and their assumptions are as follows:

  • Series A (high series) - assumes the TFR will reach 1.9 babies per woman by 2018 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase until 2050-51 (reaching 92.7 years for males and 95.1 years for females), NOM will reach 140,000 by 2007-08 and then remain constant, and high flows of interstate migration.
  • Series B (medium series) - assumes the TFR will decrease to 1.7 babies per woman by 2018 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase each year until 2050-51, though at a declining rate (reaching 84.9 years for males and 88.0 years for females), NOM will be held constant at 110,000 per year throughout the projection period, and medium flows of interstate migration.
  • Series C (low series) - assumes the TFR will decrease to 1.5 babies per woman by 2018 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase each year until 2050-51, though at a declining rate (reaching 84.9 years for males and 88.0 years for females), NOM will reach 80,000 per year by 2007-08 and then remain constant, and low flows of interstate migration.
    For additional series and information (e.g. age, sex, states/territories and capital cities/balances of state) see
    Population Projections, Australia, 2004-2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).


23 In this publication population estimates and their components have sometimes been rounded. Neither rounded figures nor unrounded figures should be assumed to be accurate to the last digit shown.

24 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals.


25 Other ABS products which may be of interest to users include:


26 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

27 AusStats is a web based information service which provides ABS full standard product range online. It also includes companion data in multidimensional datasets in SuperTABLE format, and time series spreadsheets.

28 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

29 Statistics of overseas arrivals and departures and related data are also published regularly by DIMA (see the Department’s quarterly publication, Immigration Update) and by the Tourism Research Australia (on international travel and tourism).