The characteristic of the Indigenous population which is widely acknowledged to have consequences for the efficient delivery of services is a propensity for frequent mobility over the short-term. At the same time, this is the one demographic variable where hard data and understanding are grossly deficient. This paper explores various dimensions of this dilemma with a view to considering potential implications for policy. It opens by reviewing what we know about short-term movement and extends this knowledge using an innovative technique for establishing the rate and pattern of short-term population displacement from census data. Other indicators of short-term movement are highlighted from household surveys and administrative data sets on the duration of stay in non-private dwellings. On the basis of this, recommendations are made regarding the use of usual residence data in rural areas and resident counts in urban areas for global estimation of service demand. Also stressed is the importance of including visitors in estimates of household size and composition. Finally, the limitations of official data collections on short-term movement are highlighted with a call for greater community-based research.
ISBN: 0 7315 1792 X