The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the status of dementia data at the time of preparing the report Dementia in Australia (AIHW 2012a), and to suggest ways in which the availability, consistency and quality of these data could be improved. This paper was borne out of the process of compiling the dementia report, and is therefore largely the result of a ‘bottom up’ analysis of dementia data in Australia, rather than a comprehensive ‘top down’ process, and should be read in conjunction with the Dementia in Australia report. It aims to inform and provide direction for collaborative efforts to improve dementia data.