1352.0.55.092 - Research Paper: Imputation and Estimation for a Thematic Form Census (Methodology Advisory Committee), November 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/04/2009   
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The population Census provides a unique opportunity to obtain detailed information from the whole population of Australia in a way that supports tabulation for small geographic areas and fine classificatory items. This paper discusses a thematic form approach to the Census that aims to extend the number of items collected in the Census without increasing the respondent burden. The approach involves identifying a subset of the current Census items as core items (to be included on all forms), with the remaining questions plus a number of additional questions being arranged into ‘themes’; in the simplest version each form contains a single theme.
This paper discusses design and estimation for a thematic form Census. It discusses the quality of estimates that could be produced at various levels under a weighting strategy, and the properties of these estimates. It then develops an imputation approach to producing estimates, in which values for items not collected on a particular form are imputed on the basis of information from similar dwellings providing the theme data. An investigation of the quality and properties of estimates under both a weighting and an imputation approach is presented.
The balanced imputation approach proposed in this paper appears to provide good outcomes in the thematic form context, with potential for application in a variety of other contexts.