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1387.3 - Queensland in Review, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/2003  Ceased
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Contents >> Population Characteristics >> Indigenous Population (1971-2001)

IMPORTANT NOTICE
An error was detected in the processing of the 2001 Census data for Queensland prisons which affected the male and female counts for the Queensland and Australian populations. This resulted in the publication of incorrect sex counts for males and females in the following article. Relevant corrections will be loaded as soon as possible.

The following link will direct readers to further information about this issue Correction of Prison Data for Queensland

INDIGENOUS CENSUS COUNTS

At the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, there were 112,772 people who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, counted in Queensland. The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing is an important source of information about Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, providing a wide range of socioeconomic indicators. Data from the respective censuses also provide historical counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POPULATION, Queensland
Census, place of enumeration
Aboriginal people
Torres Strait Islander people
Total

1971
24,414
7,508
31,922
1976
31,948
9,396
41,344
1981
33,966
10,732
44,698
1986
48,098
13,170
61,268
1991
55,511
14,559
70,070
1996
74,394
16,346
(a)95,518
2001
87,322
16,415
(a)112,772

(a) Includes persons of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
Source: Census of Population and Housing

In Queensland, the number of people who identified as being of Indigenous origin in 2001 increased by 18.1% since 1996. Analysis by the ABS suggests that in Queensland, the Indigenous census count has increased by approximately 13% due to natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and a further 5% primarily due to an increasing propensity for persons to be identified as Indigenous on census forms.


EXPERIMENTAL ESTIMATES OF THE INDIGENOUS POPULATION

In recent years, the ABS has published experimental estimates and projections of the Indigenous population. These statistics are regarded as experimental in that the standard approach to population estimation is not possible because satisfactory data on births, deaths and internal migration are not generally available. Furthermore, there is significant intercensal volatility in census counts of the Indigenous population. For more details see Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 30 June 1991 - 30 June 1996 (cat. no. 3230.0) and Experimental Projections of the Indigenous Population (cat. no. 3231.0).

Using data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, the ABS has published the estimated resident Indigenous population. Usual residence census counts were adjusted to allow for cases where indigenous status was unknown and for net census undercount. The resultant estimated resident population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland at 30 June 2001 was 126,035. This represented 3.5% of the resident Queensland population and more than a quarter (27.4%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

The majority of Torres Strait Islander people (58.6%) live in Queensland and this state recorded a 20% increase in people identified as Torres Strait Islander in origin (either solely or as well as Aboriginal origin). This was mainly due to an 89% increase in the population reporting dual origin. Not surprisingly, almost three quarters of the people living in the Torres Shire were Torres Strait Islanders (73.9%).


POPULATION STRUCTURE


INDIGENOUS AND TOTAL POPULATIONS BY AGE, QUEENSLAND - 2001

pyramid graph showing indigenous and total populations by age for Queensland 2001.
Source: 2001 Census of Population and Housing.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland have a much younger age profile compared with the general Queensland population. In 2001, the indigenous population had nearly twice the proportion of children under 15 years (40%) as the total Queensland population (21.3%). This age structure is largely a product of high fertility and high mortality among the Indigenous population.


BIRTHS

One component of this age structure is the comparatively large number of Indigenous children born each year. There are high rates of fertility amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Queensland, who in 2001 had a total fertility rate of 2.2 babies per woman on average. For all women in Queensland, the total fertility rate was 1.8. The median age of Queensland's Indigenous mothers giving birth in 2001 was 24.9 years compared with a median age of 29.3 years for all Queensland mothers.

The large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births each year can partly be attributed to the widening population base with each generation, as children of mixed parentage can be identified in the Indigenous population. In Queensland in 2001, 3,337 births (7% of the total) were registered with one or both parents identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. There were 2,427 births registered to Indigenous mothers.


DEATHS

The high mortality experienced by the Indigenous population is reflected in their life expectancy at birth, which in 1997-99 was about 56 years for males and 63 years for females. These figures are nearly 20 years less than the respective life expectancies of all males and females in the Australian population in 1997-99.

In 2001, the median age at death was 52.5 years for Indigenous males and 54.1 years for Indigenous females, considerably lower than the median age at death for the total Queensland population of 74.7 years for males and 81.4 years for females.

There were 565 Indigenous deaths registered in Queensland in 2001, 2.5% of total deaths registered. Leading causes of death for the Indigenous population in 2001 were malignant neoplasms (cancer) and ischaemic heart diseases, which together accounted for 37% of Indigenous deaths. The same two leading causes accounted for 51% of non-Indigenous deaths. External causes (accidents, poisonings and violence) accounted for 16% of Indigenous deaths, compared to 7% of non-Indigenous deaths. Diabetes accounted for 7% of Indigenous deaths compared with 2% of non-Indigenous deaths in Queensland.


POPULATION DISTRIBUTION

The Indigenous population is more decentralised throughout Queensland than the non-Indigenous population. Based on where people were counted on Census night 2001, almost half (43.4%) of the Indigenous population was located in the Northern, Far North and North West Statistical Divisions, compared with only 12% of the non-Indigenous population counted in Queensland.

Readers with an interest in population data on Indigenous people should refer to Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 4705.0) for more information. From the 2001census, data are provided on Indigenous status by place of usual residence by ATSIC Region, Indigenous Area and Indigenous Location throughout Australia.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Census of Population and Housing, 2001
Indigenous theme page on the ABS web site

Other sources of information:

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, at http://www.aiatsis.gov.au


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