4705.0 - Population Distribution, Indigenous Australians, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/2002   
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General descriptions of terms and concepts used in this publication are provided below. Tables are also footnoted where applicable for additional clarity. Detailed definitions of classifications and concepts are available in the 2001 Census Dictionary (Cat.no. 2901.0).


A person of Aboriginal origin. Includes persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. See also Indigenous status.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Region

An ATSIC Region is a legally prescribed area for the purposes of administration by ATSIC and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The ATSIC Region boundaries and Census statistics produced for these areas are derived from Collection Districts (CDs). For the 2001 Census, 37 CD derived ATSIC Regions are defined to cover the whole of geographic Australia. The region names used in the classification are the same as those determined for the official area by the relevant legislation. ATSIC Regions can cross State/Territory borders. For example, the ATSIC Region of Queanbeyan crosses the borders of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory (which is part of Other Territories). The map on page 89 shows the boundaries and names of the ATSIC Regions.

Collection District

The Collection District (CD) is the smallest geographic area defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification and Australian Indigenous Geographical Classification. CDs are also the lowest level at which Census statistics are available. In the 2001 Census there were about 37,000 CDs throughout Australia. For more information on the criteria used in the design of CDs, see Statistical Geography Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat.no. 1216.0).

Discrete Indigenous community

A geographic location, bounded by physical or cadastral (legal) boundaries and inhabited or intended to be inhabited predominantly (i.e. greater than 50% of usual residents) by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander residents, with housing or infrastructure that is managed on a community basis.

Estimated resident Indigenous population

The official Australian Bureau of Statistics experimental estimate of Australia's Indigenous population. The estimates are based on results of the Census of Population and Housing and are compiled as at 30 June. Census usual residence counts are adjusted for undercount and non-response.


A person is defined as Indigenous if they are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. See also Indigenous status.

Indigenous Area

An Indigenous Area is a medium sized spatial unit which enables the production of detailed Census statistics relating to Indigenous peoples, while maintaining the confidentiality of individuals. They comprise one or more Indigenous Locations. Indigenous Areas are generally based on Statistical Local Areas, except in remote areas, where language and cultural groupings are also taken into account. See also ATSIC Region and Indigenous Location.

Indigenous Location

Indigenous Locations are single CDs or aggregates of CDs designed to allow production of summary Census statistics relating to Indigenous people, while maintaining the confidentiality of individuals. Indigenous Locations generally include at least 50 Indigenous persons, and can be aggregated to form Indigenous Areas. See also ATSIC Region and Indigenous Area.

Indigenous status

The Census asks, for each person in a household or non-private dwelling, whether they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin and the response(s) to this question determine their Indigenous status. People may identify, or be identified, as being in one of five categories: Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; non-Indigenous; or status unknown.


The Census is largely self-enumerated and despite the efforts of question designers and Census collectors, not all of the questions on the Census form are answered for every person. This is generally referred to as non-response and is represented in output by the 'status unknown' category.

The non-response rate refers to the proportion of the population without a response to the Indigenous status variable. The proportion is calculated by dividing the number of person records with a not stated code in the Indigenous status field by the total population of a particular geographic area, and expressing the result as a percentage. The non-response rate is also referred to as the not stated rate or Indigenous status unknown rate.

Non-sparsely settled areas

Refers to Statistical Local Areas in which the dwelling density for the SLA as a whole was more than 59 dwellings per 100 square kilometres. See also Sparsely settled areas.

Other Territories

Comprises Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory. In this publication, data for Jervis Bay Territory appears separately in table 2.

Place of enumeration

Census counts based on where people were counted, or enumerated, on Census night. Also referred to as the Census 'As Enumerated' population. The data exclude overseas visitors.

Place of usual residence

Census counts based on where people usually lived at the time the Census was conducted. 'Usual residence' refers to the place where the person has lived or intends to live for a total of six months or more. Counts on this basis are used to minimise the effect of seasonal fluctuations in holiday/resort areas and, in remote areas, the effect of visitation and mobility issues and events such as festivals, funerals, hunting or other cultural activities.

Post Enumeration Survey

A special survey conducted by specially trained interviewers, following each Census. The main purpose of the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) is to measure the extent of undercount and overcount in the Census, by asking respondents if they were included on a Census form for the household being interviewed, and if there were any other addresses where they may have been included in the Census. At each of these addresses (including the interview address), the personal information is matched to any corresponding Census forms for these addresses to determine whether a person is counted, is counted more than once, or not counted at all. The level of net underenumeration (or undercount) is one adjustment made to the Census count in the compilation of the experimental estimated resident Indigenous population.

Sparsely settled areas

Refers to Statistical Local Areas in which the dwelling density for the SLA as a whole was less than 60 dwellings per 100 square kilometres. See also Non-sparsely settled areas.

Special Indigenous form

Census forms (Personal and Household) designed to be appropriate to Indigenous culture, for use in discrete Indigenous communities. These interview forms are used in instances where a community need has been identified due to specific cultural or language barriers. Census Field Officers recruit, train and work with people from these communities in order to conduct the Census in these areas.

Torres Strait Islander

A person of Torres Strait Islander origin. Includes persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. Torres Strait Islanders are one of the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait, between the tip of Cape York and Papua New Guinea. See also Indigenous status.


Despite the efforts of Census collectors, some people are missed each Census and some are counted more than once. The net effect of overcount and undercount is called net undercount. A measure of the extent of net undercount is obtained from the Post Enumeration Survey (PES). See also Post Enumeration Survey.

Usual residence
See Place of usual residence.