Survey or census? Estimation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing need in large urban areas

Author/editor: Taylor, J
Year published: 1992
Issue no.: 28


A consultancy paper outlining the technical options for assessing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing need in large urban centres followed from discussions relating to the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) workshop, 'A National Survey of Aboriginal and Islander Populations: Problems and Prospects' convened in April 1992. One issue raised in the proceedings was that the availability of accurate data on the social and economic characteristics of Indigenous Australians has fallen behind the growth in demand for such statistics. Among the reasons advanced to explain this hiatus was a growing Aboriginal and Islander presence in urban areas with the associated difficulty of locating possible survey participants leading to bureaucratic statistical inertia.

This paper examines some of the difficulties faced by social scientists in attempting to derive a representative sample for survey purposes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations resident in large urban areas and considers the range of options available for data acquisition. In the context of time and financial constraints, a preference is expressed in favour of census-based normative indicators supported by qualitative input from local organisations. While the discussion relates specifically to the estimation of housing need, the basic issues and methodologies outlined provide essential background for any attempt at information gathering from statistically rare populations.

ISBN: 0 7315 1454 8

ISSN:1036 1774

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