The standard approach to compiling life tables and resulting life expectancy estimates requires complete and accurate data on deaths that occur in a period, and reliable estimates of the population (at the mid-point of the period) exposed to the risk of dying. These data are required by age and sex, so as to calculate age-sex specific death rates.
In the case of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality estimation, this situation is less than perfect. Information on death registrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians has limitations while a number of quality issues associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates exist. In combination, these present particular methodological challenges to compiling high quality life tables and making comparisons over time.
This chapter discusses the data challenges associated with death registrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates in more detail.