The estimates and projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians presented in this publication are experimental. The significant volatility in Indigenous census counts and the quality of data on births, deaths and migration of Indigenous people do not support the use of the standard approach to population estimation.
Estimates for the Indigenous population of Australia and the states and territories have been produced for the period 1986 to 2006. Estimates should be treated with caution given the 20-year interval for which the assumption of improving life expectancy is applied (see Chapter 2 for more information), particularly for the period 1986 to 1990.
Using assumptions about future fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration, 14 series of projections of the Indigenous population have been generated for 2007 to 2021 (see Chapter 2 for more information). Two series, Series A and B, have been chosen for analysis in this publication. Detailed information for these and the remaining series are available in data cubes attached to this publication on the ABS web site.
It is important to recognise that the projections are not predictions or forecasts, but are illustrations of the growth and change in population which would occur if certain assumptions about future levels of fertility, mortality and migration were to prevail over the projection period. There can be no certainty that any particular outcome will be realised, or that future outcomes will necessarily fall within the projected ranges.
Main projection series, Australia
Assumptions, year ended 30 June 2021
Projected population at 30 June 2021
Total fertility rate(a)
Total paternity rate(b)
Male life expectancy at birth
Female life expectancy at birth
babies per woman
babies per man
|Series A |
|Series B |
|(a) Indigenous fertility rates decline by 0.5% per year. |
|(b) Indigenous paternity rates increase by 1% per year. |
|(c) Indigenous life expectancy at birth remains constant at 67.3 years for males and 73.0 years for females. |
|(d) Indigenous life expectancy at birth increases by five years, reaching 72.1 years for males and 77.8 years for females by 2021 (from 67.1 years for males and 72.8 years for females in 2006). |