Welfare programs for particular groups in Australian society have changed dramatically since the 1970s when the policy of deinstitutionalisation for the mentally ill was first considered. Since then there has been an increased use of programs of community care for the elderly and people with disabilities, combined with diversion programs for those taken into custody. All of these affect the size of the population who are maintained in institutions of various kinds. Yet despite these developments, those living in institutions are often excluded from sample surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other agencies and are thus not covered in much of the data which is used to inform social policy research and analysis in this country. There is an information gap here which needs to be filled and this report is one step in that process.