Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mortality
On 24 September 2004, the ABS released ABS Demography Working Paper 2004/3 - Calculating Life Tables for Use in Population Estimates and Projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS cat. no. 3106.0.55.003). This paper describes the process of constructing experimental Indigenous life tables for the period 1996-2001 using a new demographic method. Various issues related to calculating life tables for Indigenous Australians are also included.
The Indigenous life expectancy estimates presented in this paper are experimental because of the nature of the base population estimates, which are affected by both intercensal volatility in the census counts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and deficiencies in Indigenous identification in birth and death registration data. Consequently, there is uncertainty about the accuracy of death rates which can be derived from these inputs and used in life table construction. While the life expectancy estimates are the best that can be compiled with currently available data, and are assessed to be suitable for experimental population estimates and projections, over-precise analysis of the life expectancy estimates as measures of Indigenous health outcomes should be avoided. In particular, the differences between the life expectancy estimates in this paper and those previously published by the ABS, which were based on analysis of data for the intercensal period 1991 to 1996 and a different method, represent improvements in methods and data quality and do not necessarily represent any changes over time in the life expectancy of the Indigenous population.
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