Locations of Indigenous Population Change: What Can We Say?

Author/editor: Taylor, J, Biddle, N
Year published: 2008
Issue no.: 43


The ABS 2006 Post Enumeration Survey was extended to include a sample of localities from the whole of Australia, thereby providing an estimate of census net undercount reflective of the enumeration in remote Indigenous settlements for the first time. The results revealed substantial undercounting of the Indigenous population in certain jurisdictions. The analytical and policy issues that arise from this revolve around a simple question: how can we be sure that we are measuring the same population over time? This paper seeks to provide an answer to this question by modelling the contribution of net migration to small area population change. In doing so, it also seeks to address the concerns of population analysts in Australia who have long argued that the use of administrative units for the spatial presentation of census data is sub-optimal in representing meaningful social and economic regions. Accordingly, we examine intercensal population change using a non-jurisdictional typology of Indigenous settlement reflective of different residential arrangements. This reveals that the 2006 Census count of Indigenous population was deficient in many remote towns, many Indigenous towns, and many outstation areas, but was higher than expected in regional country towns and many city suburbs. These findings have implications for the analysis of change in population characteristics over time. This is the inaugural paper in what will become a series of CAEPR Working Papers co-badged with the Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

ISBN: 0 7315 4942 2

ISSN: 1442 3871

Updated:  9 June 2009/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications