ABOUT THIS RELEASE
This publication is part of the Demography Working Paper series.
The assessment in Deaths, Australia 1999 (ABS, 2000b) that from 1990-92 to 1997-99 there appears to be some improvement in the life expectancy of indigenous people in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory may not be correct. As outlined in appendix 1 of this publication, two sets of experimental indigenous life tables were produced. One set was based on the actual number of registered deaths and the other set was based on adjusted deaths. The adjusted deaths took into account the estimated under-coverage of indigenous deaths in each state/territory. These undercoverage estimates were based on experimental estimates and projections of the populations which in turn used 1991-96 experimental indigenous life tables. In evaluation of the experimental life tables, it was realised that the 1990-92 to 1997-99 life expectancy calculations replicated the 1991-96 life expectancy values with slight modification which was due to the varying age distribution of registered deaths in the time periods in question. Hence, the adjusted life expectancy estimates cannot be validly interpreted as reduction in indigenous mortality over time. On the other hand, there is an apparent improvement in the experimental observed life expectancy estimates although much uncertainty applies to them.