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Language Statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples methodology

Reference period
June 2016
Released
11/04/2022
Next release Unknown
First release

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This publication presents results from the 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing (Census) and the 2008 and 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).

For the respective Methodologies, refer to the following:

Census

NATSISS

  • Explanatory notes, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008.
  • Explanatory notes, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15.

Data definitions

Data definitions table

Table 1. Language Statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – data definitions(a)
MeasurementDownloads tableCollectionData itemsInclusions/Exclusions(a)

Speakers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Language speakers, table 1.1

Census 1991-2016

Language spoken at home (LANP)

All persons.

Denominator includes all languages in the ASCL and not stated responses.

Language speakers, table 1.2

Census 2006-2016

Language spoken at home (LANP)

Indigenous status (INGP)

All persons.

Denominator includes all languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’.

Language speakers, tables 1.2.1-1.2.4

Census 2006-2016

Language spoken at home (LANP)

Age (AGEP)

Remoteness

All persons.

Denominator includes all languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’.

Language speakers by State Territory and Indigenous location, tables 1-9

Census 2016

Indigenous Location (ILOC)

Indigenous Region (IREG)

All persons.

Denominator includes: all languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’ and migratory-offshore-shipping and no usual address.

Language speakers, table 1.4

Census 2006-2016

Language spoken at home (LANP)

State/Territory

All persons.

Denominator includes all languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’.

Language speakers, table 1.5

Census 2006-2016

Remoteness

All persons.

Denominator includes: all languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’ and migratory-offshore-shipping and no usual address.

Number of languages spoken

Language speakers, table 1.2.1

Census 2011-2016

Language spoken at home (LANP)

All persons.

Denominator includes: languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’ (including languages that are not elsewhere classified (‘nec’).

Denominator excludes: languages under broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’ that are not further defined (‘nfd’), LANP not stated responses and languages outside of ASCL broad group 8 ‘Australian Indigenous languages’.

English as a second language

English as a second language, table 1

Census 2006-2016

Proficiency in spoken English (ENGP)

All persons who reported speaking an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.

Denominator includes: people who did not state their main language at home or proficiency in spoken English, and people who spoke a language other than English at home but did not state their proficiency in spoken English.

Denominator excludes: persons who speak English only.

 

English as a second language, table 2

NATSISS 2014-15

Whether experienced difficulty understanding and/or being understood by English speakers

Persons aged 15 years and over.

Denominator excludes: persons whose main language is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.

Understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

 

Language speakers, table 2

NATSISS 2008-2014-15

Whether understands an Australian Indigenous language

Persons 3 years and over only.

Denominator excludes: persons whose main language spoken at home was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language and persons not currently speaking.

 

Language speakers, table 2

NATSISS 2008-2014-15

Whether speaks an Australian Indigenous language

Persons 3 years and over only.

Denominator excludes: persons whose main language spoken at home was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language and persons not currently speaking.

Learning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Language learning, table 1.1 and 1.2

NATSISS 2008-2014-15

Whether currently learning an Australian Indigenous language

 

 

Persons 3 years and over only.

Data available by age group.

Denominator excludes: persons whose main language spoken at home was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language and persons not currently speaking.

 

Language learning, table 2.1 and 2.2

NATSISS 2008 and 2014-15

Who is teaching, or where learning Indigenous language

Persons 3 years and over only.

Denominator excludes: persons whose main language spoken at home was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language or are not currently speaking, and persons who were not currently learning an Australian Indigenous Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.

(a) All data is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons unless otherwise specified.

About ABS Geography

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) provides a framework of statistical areas used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and other organisations to enable the publication of statistics that are comparable and spatially integrated. The ASGS provides users with an integrated set of standard areas that can be used for analysing, visualising and integrating statistics produced by the ABS and other organisations. See here for further information about the ASGS.

The tables in this publication are presented by the following ASGS ABS Structures:

Main Structure

  • State and Territory

Remoteness Structure

  • Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia, Very Remote Australia and Remote and Non-remote areas.

Indigenous Structure

  • Indigenous Regions (IREG) and Indigenous Locations (ILOC)

Census data is presented at all of the above Geography Structures, while the survey data is limited to State and Territory and Remoteness. Further information about ABS statistical geography and a diagram of how the various ABS Structures interrelate can be found here.

The Indigenous Structure is based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ population distribution in the broader Australian community, so is ideal for analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data. In the ASGS Indigenous Structure, Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) are the smallest available unit. These are combined to create Indigenous Areas (IAREs) and then Indigenous Regions (IREGs). Further information about the Indigenous Structure can be found here.