ABS responds to "Error in IGR stats to delay forecast" by David Crowe (The Australian, 19 April 2013, pg.2)

Your article 'Error in IGR stats to delay forecast' (The Australian, 19 April 2013) suggested that a 'glitch' in the 2011 Census created an 'unprecedented statistical error'. This is not the case. The 2011 Census was successfully conducted and produced high quality results.

A major improvement in the way in which Australia's population is measured was recently introduced, following the 2011 Census. We now know that the population was lower than previously measured and estimated, and for this reason the ABS will be releasing revised historical population information in June 2013.

The term 'intercensal error' refers to the difference between previous measures of the population and measures derived from the latest Census. It is not a measure of error of the Census itself.

Australia's official population statistics are very well respected and are one of our country's most important information assets. Australia has been very effectively delivering high quality Censuses for over a hundred years.

Peter Harper
Deputy Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics