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  1. A small area typically refers to a subpopulation or domain of interest for which a reliable direct estimate, based only on the domain-specific sample, cannot be produced due to small sample size in the domain. While traditional small area methods and models are widely used nowadays, there have also been much work and interest in robust statistical inference for small area estimation (SAE). We survey this work and provide a comprehensive review here.We begin with a brief review of the traditional SAE methods. We then discuss SAEmethods that are developed under weaker assumptions and SAE methods that are robust inmore »certain ways, such as in terms of outliers or model failure. Our discussion also includes topics such as nonparametric SAE methods, Bayesian approaches, model selection and diagnostics, and missing data. A brief review of software packages available for implementing robust SAE methods is also given.« less