City of PlayfordCommunity profile

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City of Playford

Notes - population types

All data in this Profile is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, copyright in ABS data vests in the Commonwealth of Australia.

The most comprehensive population count available in Australia is derived from the Census of Population and Housing, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics every five years. It is an official count of all people and dwellings in Australia on Census night, and collects details of age, sex, religion, education and other characteristics of the population. The last Census was conducted on 9 August 2011 and was the sixteenth national Census for Australia. The next Census will be conducted in August 2016.

Census statistics are used as the basis for estimating the population at national, state and local government levels, for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. They are used by individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors for planning, administration, research and decision making.

You would think counting people was pretty straightforward, but populations are estimated in various ways. It is important to understand how a population has been derived when you are using the data.

In, there are three different population types which you need to be aware of:

Enumerated Population

Enumerated population refers to the population counted in the City of Playford on Census night.  Because it is impossible to catch everyone at home on one night, the Census counts people wherever they were sleeping that night. This might include people who usually live somewhere else but were staying in the area on business or holiday.

This type of count provides a snapshot at a given point in time. The Census is timed to capture the typical situation, however, holiday resort areas, such as the Gold Coast and snow fields, may show a large enumeration count compared with the number of people who usually live there.

Where enumerated population data is used in the profile, overseas visitors have been specifically excluded from the tables, but visitors from within Australia are included.

For detailed information about Enumerated population please refer to the ABS Fact Sheet on Population Measures.

Usual Residence Population

Usual Residence population refers to the population that usually lives in the City of Playford rather than the population that was counted there on Census night. Each person completing the Census is required to state their address of usual residence and this information is used to derive the Usual Residence population. To be counted as the usual residence, a person has to have lived or intend to live in the dwelling for six months or more of the year.

Usual residence counts are less likely to be influenced by seasonal factors, such as holiday seasons and snow seasons, and provide information about the usual residents of an area.

In 2011, 2006 and 2001 all Census data are provided for usual residence as well as enumerated population. Usual residence is the default output for data on individuals in, and most data from the ABS is published on a usual residence basis.

Information on households and dwellings in is only presented on an as enumerated basis, as usual resident counts are not available at the dwelling or household level. However, while they are referred to as enumeration counts, household characteristics are partially usual residence-based as they are determined with reference to up to three people recorded as temporarily absent on the form.

Additionally, data about usual residence for areas below the LGA level were not published for any data sets prior to 2001. Consequently, usual residence data are not available for the 1996 and 1991 Census years in, and to access these years, enumeration counts need to be selected.

For detailed information about Enumerated population please refer to the ABS Fact Sheet on Population Measures.

Estimated Resident Population

The Estimated Resident Population (ERP) is the official ABS estimate of the Australian population. The ERP is based on results of the Census and is compiled as at 30 June of each Census year. It is updated between Censuses - quarterly for state and national figures, and annually for local government areas and provides a population figure between Censuses.

The ERP is based on the usual residence population and includes adjustments for Census undercount, Australian residents who were temporarily overseas on Census night, and backdates the population to 30 June. Each years updates take into account births, deaths and both internal and overseas migration.

The ERP is rebased after the results of the Census are released, with adjustments to the population counts made for the previous 5 years, back to the year after the previous Census. These adjustments take into account the population numbers of the most recent Census and improve the accuracy of the intercensal counts in hindsight. Any intercensal ERP is subject to this review after the Census results are released.

ERPs can be found under the 'Population estimate section of the menu in the Community Profile.

For detailed information about ERPs please refer to the ABS publication Population Estimates: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009.

Which population should you use?

As a general rule, if you just want an official population count you should use the Estimated Resident Population as it is more accurate and is the official population figure.  ERPs are also used as the basis for all future projections of the population.

However, the Estimated Resident Population is not broken down into population characteristics such as birthplace, religion, industry or occupation etc. Therefore, if you are exploring or reporting on the characteristics of a population you need to choose between the Enumerated or Usual Residence populations.

For most areas the numbers will be very similar, and if you are looking at demographic characteristics, it is normally percentages which matter, rather than raw numbers. Both populations are useful measures, and neither is "wrong". You do need to make sure that you are consistent about which population base you decide to use, if you are comparing information between different topics.

Areas with lots of hotels or full tourist accommodation even in winter include CBDs of major cities, Queensland coastal holiday resorts and NSW and Victorian ski fields, and these areas are likely to show a difference between the two counts. In this case, if you want to know about how many people are both living and staying in the area and using services, you should use the Enumerated population.  But if you specifically want to know only about the people who live in an area, use the Usual Residence population.