The 2011 Census of Population and Housing recorded a large increase in the number of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (compared to the 2006 Census count) (ABS, 2012a; ABS, 2012b). This increase, and other recorded increases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counts, should be considered with regard to the range of factors that contribute to these changes. Examples of changes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counts include the increase recorded between the 1991 and 1996 Censuses (Ross, 1996) and recorded increases in the uptake of Medicare’s Voluntary Indigenous Identification program (AIHW, 2010 (appendix A) - see page 6).
These increases can be attributed to a range of factors: demographic changes such as births and deaths, procedural changes such as enumeration and processing strategies, and changes in the number of people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) plans to undertake further analytical work to understand the demographic and non-demographic factors contributing to changes in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. It is anticipated that the first release of the analytical work will be in June 2013.
This paper explores factors that contribute to an individual's decision to disclose their Indigenous status.
Literature review findings in brief
Focus group research: Propensity to identify in surveys
Focus group research: Propensity to identify in administrative data collections
Suggestions offered by participants for improving identification