2940.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Details of Overcount and Undercount, Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/02/2018   
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This publication presents estimates of undercount and overcount for the 2016 Census of Population and Housing (Census), resulting from the 2016 Census Post Enumeration Survey (PES).

The Census net undercount is the difference between the PES estimate of how many people should have been counted in the Census and the actual Census count (including imputed persons).


  • The Census net undercount rate in 2016 was 1.0% (equivalent to 226,407 persons)
  • The net undercount rate was lower in 2016 compared with 2011 (1.0% and 1.7%, respectively)
  • The Contact sector showed a net undercount of 875,915 persons, indicating that the number of persons missing from responding Census dwellings (1,150,588 persons) exceeded the number of persons counted multiple times or in error (274,673 person)
  • The Non-contact sector had a net undercount of -649,509 persons (i.e. a net overcount), which is essentially a measure of over-imputation for non-responding dwellings in the Census that were deemed occupied.

States and Territories
  • The Northern Territory recorded the highest net undercount rate of all states and territories (5.0%), while the Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest net undercount rate (-1.1%; i.e. a net overcount)
  • Victoria was the only state or territory to exhibit a higher net undercount rate in 2016 (1.4%) compared with 2011 (1.1%).

Key Population Characteristics
  • The highest net undercount rate for age groups was for the 0-4 year olds (5.1%), followed by the 20-24 and 25-29 year age groups (5.0% and 4.9%, respectively)
  • Males were more likely to be missed in the Census compared with females, with net undercount rates of 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively
  • The net undercount rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 17.5% (equivalent to 137,750 persons). This is only slightly higher than 2011 (17.2%)
  • For Country of birth, persons born in Australia had the highest net undercount rate (8.1%) while China showed the largest change in net undercount of the ten highest ranked countries (from 14.9% in 2011 to 6.2% in 2016).