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Indigenous Statistics for Schools

Image: About Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics ABOUT ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATISTICS
How are Indigenous statistics collected?

Census of Population and Housing
Sample Surveys
Administrative collections

There are
three main sources of data about Australia's Indigenous population.

Census of Population and Housing
The Census of Population and Housing is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and one of the most important. Its objective is to measure the number and characteristics of all people and dwellings in Australia on Census night. The Census is where most of the detailed Indigenous statistics are collected. The Census of Population and Housing is conducted every 5 years in Australia.

Sample Surveys
Sample surveys are used extensively by the ABS as part of its role in collecting information to assist governments and other users with their decision making processes. In a sample survey, only part of the total population is approached for information on the topic under study. These data are extrapolated to the target population as a whole.

The ABS runs two Indigenous surveys, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS). These surveys are conducted every 6 years, and are three years apart from each other.

Administrative collections
Administrative data collections are the third type of statistical data collection.

In conducting their day to day business, many organisations collect data about their clients. These organisations may be government departments, hospitals, welfare service providers (aged care, disability services, family services) and schools. If you apply for a service at one of these or similar organisations, often you will be asked details such as your age, sex, and where you live. You may also be asked whether you are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

This type of data is often referred to as 'administrative by-product data' and such collections can be a valuable source of information. For example, the data collected about hospital patients can be of use in learning about the
hospitalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the outcomes of their visits to hospital. This information can also be used as an indicator of the health and well being of populations. Births and deaths data are used to track changes in population growth and make predictions about future growth. These can provide a high level of detail and as data are collected on an on-going basis, it allows trend (times series) analysis.

These administrative data collections may be analysed by the collecting organisation or sometimes, by the ABS. However in all cases, any data released are confidentialised i.e. people's names and any other information that may identify an individual are removed.

Further Information: See Statistics - A Powerful Edge! - Data Collection

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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