6287.0 - Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Estimates from the Labour Force Survey, 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/2010   
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Contents >> Other Sources of Information >> Census of Population and Housing


The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing is a source of information on small population groups such as the Indigenous population. The Census also provides information for small geographic regions.

However, the Census collects only a limited range of labour force information, and the questionnaire is mainly completed by people answering the questions by themselves (or by another household member on their behalf), without an interviewer present (although interviewers are used in most discrete Indigenous communities).

Because the self-enumerated questionnaire module defines unemployment less precisely than the LFS, the estimates produced are not strictly comparable with those from the LFS.

To be consistent with the estimates in this publication, the Census data used here are based on place of enumeration and exclude Indigenous people in Other Territories and Indigenous people who did not state their labour force status.

Population differences

The number of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over enumerated in the 2006 Census is lower than the 2006 estimated resident Indigenous population and subsequent low-series Indigenous population projections (used for the LFS Indigenous population benchmarks).

To obtain the estimated resident Indigenous population for 2006, various adjustments were made to the 8 August 2006 Census estimates. These adjustments included accounting for non-response to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin question, net Census undercount of Indigenous persons, and residents temporarily overseas on Census night. See the Explanatory Notes in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 3238.0) for further information.

As a result of the differing population bases, estimates of labour force characteristics from the Census are substantially lower for the employed, though the difference is less pronounced for the unemployed. Estimates of rates, such as the unemployment or labour force participation rate, which do not depend on having the same base population, show Census results which are quite similar to estimates from other Indigenous data sources.

Questionnaire differences

While the Census aims to derive labour force status on a basis comparable with the LFS, the Census questions are not as detailed, nor as comprehensive. Largely due to space limitations on the Census form, as well as constraints imposed by self-enumeration, the Census uses a shorter questionnaire module to determine labour force status.

This shorter questionnaire module produces different estimates of employment, unemployment and not in the labour force, than the full LFS questionnaire (which was used in 80% of LFS interviews with Indigenous respondents, with a short questionnaire used for the remaining 20%, mainly in remote communities). The shortened set of questions in the Census cannot determine labour force status as precisely as the full LFS questionnaire does, resulting in some differences.

Other differences occur because of the self-enumerated nature of the Census forms and the inevitable differences in interpretation among respondents. As a result, the LFS and Census definitions differ slightly for those employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force.

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