Estimating small-area Indigenous cultural participation from synthetic survey data

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Journal Article

Abstract

Lack of data on the spatial distribution of the social conditions of Australia's Indigenous peoples has created difficulties in the allocation of government and community programs. Small-area estimation methods can overcome this lack of data, but typically require access to a unit record file. However, strict confidentiality rules applied to these unit record files may hinder the development of these models. In Australia, unit record data for the Indigenous population is analysable only using Australian Bureau of Statistics servers remotely. This study looks specifically at this issue and offers a solution to the problem of confidentiality restrictions by using a synthetic database. The results show that reasonable small-area estimates of social conditions for Indigenous Australians can be derived from a small-area estimation (spatial microsimulation) model using a synthetic database. While this application is for Australia, the method developed can be used for any small-area model requiring unit record data that are not available due to confidentiality restrictions.

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