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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2011  Final
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Contents >> Executive Summary >> Demographic, social and economic characteristics overview:


DEMOGRAPHIC, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OVERVIEW
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


KEY MESSAGES

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population comprises around 2.5% of the Australian population and is relatively young:
  • At 30 June 2006, the estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 517,000 people, or 2.5% of the total Australian population.
  • In 2006, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population had a median age of 21.0 years compared with 37.0 years for the non-Indigenous population.
  • In 2011, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females was estimated to be 2.74 babies per woman, compared with 1.88 babies per woman for all women in Australia.
  • At 30 June 2006, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in non-remote areas with an estimated 32% of people living in major cities, 43% in regional areas, and 25% in remote areas.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians:
  • At the national level for 2005–2007, the gap in life expectancy was 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females.
  • Life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males is estimated to be 67.2 years, compared with non-Indigenous males at 78.7 years.
  • Life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females is estimated to be 72.9 years, compared with non-Indigenous females at 82.6 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture is strong:
  • In 2008, 19% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) and 13% of children (3-14 years) spoke an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are identifying with a clan, tribal or language group, with an increase from 54% in 2002 to 62% in 2008.
  • 70% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (3–14 years) and 63% of adults were involved in cultural events, ceremonies or organisations in 2008.

Socioeconomic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians continue to improve, but remain below those for non-Indigenous Australians:
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people completed Year 12 - 22% of people aged 15 years and over in 2008, up from 18% in 2002.
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people completed non-school qualifications - 40% of people aged 25-64 years in 2008, up from 32% in 2002.
  • The unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians fell from 23% in 2002 to 17% in 2008, but remained more than three times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous Australians (5% in 2008).

The Torres Strait Islander population comprises 0.3% of the total Australian population:
  • Torres Strait Islander people comprised 10% of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia, and 23% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland.
  • Nationally, more Torres Strait Islander adults spoke an Australian Indigenous language than all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (31% compared with 19%).
  • Torres Strait Islander people were more likely than all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be participating in the labour force (73% compared with 65%) and to be employed (64% compared with 54%) in 2008.
  • In 2008, 36% of Torres Strait Islander adults (excluding those still attending secondary school) had completed Year 12, higher than the rate for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (22%)
  • Many other health and welfare outcomes for Torres Strait Islander people were similar to those for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This article provides an overview of the demographic, social and economic characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, families and their communities. Data presented are drawn from a range of sources and provide a context for the series of detailed articles focussing on aspects of health and wellbeing that comprise this release, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (cat. no. 4704.0).

Topics covered in this article include:

This section contains the following subsection :
        Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and where they live
        fertility and births
        life expectancy
        language, culture and socioeconomic outcomes
        Family and community characteristics
        Demographic characteristics: Torres Strait Islander People

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