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Indigenous Status

Indigenous Status (INGP)

This variable records whether a person identified themselves as being of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

In order to achieve the most accurate count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in both nominated discrete communities and elsewhere, the ABS put in place an Indigenous Enumeration Strategy as part of the collection of the 2011 Census data. This strategy was developed to have sufficient flexibility to allow for the unique cultural aspects of Indigenous society which could affect the enumeration and to raise the quality of the count of this small but significant population group. In many nominated discrete communities, collection of Census information was undertaken by an Interviewer, using a tailored Interviewer Household Form, with 14.3% of persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin being enumerated using this method. Non-response to the question on Indigenous status was 0.5% (0.7% in 2006) when this approach was used. In other areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples were enumerated using standard procedures and forms. Special Collectors skilled in Indigenous languages and culture were available to assist in these areas if required.

The total number of people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin identified in the Census was 548,368, or 2.5% of the total population. A significant impact on data quality comes from non-response because the total Not Stated count is almost twice the size of the count of people identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The non-response rate for this variable was 4.9% (5.7% in 2006), the majority of which comes from non-responding persons. In such cases persons are imputed, along with selected demographic characteristics, but the value for Indigenous Status (INGP) remains Not Stated. More information is available from the 2011 Census non-response quality statement.

For persons who submitted a form, the non-response rate for this item tends to be lower for forms used in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities due to the use of Interviewers to collect the information and scrutiny by other field staff prior to forms being sent for processing. Non-response for this variable is higher in non-private dwellings both because person non-response is higher and people, such as nursing home administrators, often don't know the answer when filling out the form for others.

Responses to the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander question are captured automatically from mark box responses on the Census Form (question 7 on the Census Household Form) so the risk of processing error is minimal. Sample checks are undertaken to ensure an acceptable level of quality. Standard procedures were in place to deal with conflicting responses.

Other sources of potential error in this variable are respondent error. There are a small number of respondent errors that come from misunderstanding and mistakes, and in some circumstances can be due to deliberate errors.

Another aspect of data quality is how changes between Censuses can affect the interpretation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples data. It is important to remember that this variable is collected through self-identification and any change in identification will affect the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Compared with 2006, improved collection of Indigenous status within the prison system has led to almost no prisoners with a Not Stated Indigenous status. In 2011, for the first time, people in detention centres have been treated as non-Indigenous rather than having their status be 'Not Stated'.

More information on INGP is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

Question 7 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Image of question 7 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available

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Household / Dwelling

2011 Census Dictionary

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