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3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2001   
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Special Article - Experimental estimates of the Torres Strait Islander population


INTRODUCTION


The Indigenous population of Australia is comprised of people in Australia who, in the 1996 Census of Population and Housing, identified themselves as of Torres Strait Islander origin, Aboriginal origin, or of both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal origin.

Estimates have been produced for the Torres Strait Islander population, comprising those people who indicated Torres Strait Islander origin alone and those who indicated both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

HOW MANY PEOPLE

The June 1996 estimate of the Indigenous population (386,000) represented 2% of the total population of Australia (18,310,700). The estimate of the Torres Strait Islander population was 42,400 (11% of the total Indigenous population).

WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE LIVE?

More than half (54%) of the Torres Strait Islander population lived in Queensland (27% in the Torres Strait Area) while the remaining 46% were dispersed throughout the rest of Australia. For those of Aboriginal origin, 25% lived in Queensland (with less than 1% in the Torres Strait Area).

EXPERIMENTAL ESTIMATED RESIDENT INDIGENOUS POPULATION - 30 June 1996



REGION

Indigenous category
Torres
Strait
Area
Rest of
Queensland
Rest of
Australia
Total
Australia
Torres Strait Islander(a)
6,335
16,705
19,363
42,403
Aboriginal(a)
709
86,300
267,689
354,698
Total Indigenous(b)
6,654
98,163
281,232
386,049

(a) Includes those people who identified themselves as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
origin.
(b) The Indigenous categories do not add to the total Indigenous population because people who identified
themselves as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin are included in both the Torres
Strait Islander and Aboriginal categories.

A YOUNG POPULATION

At June 1996, the total Indigenous population had a much lower median age than the total Australian population. The median age is the age where there are as many people above the age as below it. The median age for the Indigenous population was 20.1 years, about 14 years lower than for the total Australian population in 1996. The median age for the Torres Strait Islander population and the total Indigenous population was very similar.

The age distribution of the Torres Strait Islander population was also similar to that of the total Indigenous population. Compared with the total Australian population both the Torres Strait Islander and total Indigenous populations had higher proportions of people in the younger age groups and lower proportions in the older age groups. This reflects the relatively high fertility and high mortality of these populations when compared with the rest of the Australian population. The proportion of the population in the age group under 5 years and in all age groups from 40 years was slightly higher for the Torres Strait Islander population than for the total Indigenous population. This pattern was reversed for all other age groups.


EXPERIMENTAL ESTIMATED RESIDENT INDIGENOUS POPULATION - 30 June 1996
Experimental estimated resident indigenous population - 30 June 1996
(a) The Torres Strait Islander population includes those people who identified themselves as being of
both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

MORE FEMALES THAN MALES

The sex ratio of the total Indigenous population at June 1996 was 97 (97 males to 100 females) compared to 99 for the total Australian population. In the Torres Strait Area, the sex ratio of the total Indigenous population was similar to the Torres Strait Islander population (around 98). For all other regions the ratio was higher in the Torres Strait Islander population.


SEX RATIOS, Indigenous Category and Region

Sex Ratios, Indigenous Category and Region

(a) The Torres Strait Islander population includes those people who identified
themselves as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

METHOD

The 1996 Census usual residence counts and the 1996 experimental estimates of the resident Indigenous population provided the data for the experimental estimates of the Torres Strait Islander population. See Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population (Cat no. 3230.0). The Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations were calculated as a proportion of the 1996 Census usual residence counts of the total Indigenous population. These proportions were applied to the 1996 experimental Indigenous ERP, by age, sex and region, to give separate population estimates for the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

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