This publication contains population estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) population of Australia, based on results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, for the period 30 June 1986 to 30 June 2021.
Estimates for 1986 to 2005 have been produced by reverse-surviving the experimental estimated resident Indigenous population at 30 June 2006, using 2005-2007 experimental Indigenous life tables as a basis on which to make assumptions about past Indigenous life expectancy at birth. Projections for 2007 to 2021 have been produced by applying a range of assumptions regarding future levels of components of population change to the 30 June 2006 population (see Chapter 2 for more information).
For the purposes of the estimates, Indigenous life expectancy at birth for Australia is assumed to have increased by 0.2 years per year between 1986 and 2006, for both males and females.
Estimates for 1986 to 1990 should be treated with caution given the 20-year interval for which the assumption of improving life expectancy at birth is applied, as well as the assumption of zero net interstate migration over the period.
It is important to recognise that the projections presented in this publication are not predictions or forecasts. Rather, they are an assessment of what would happen to the size and structure of the Indigenous population of Australia if the assumed levels of the components of population change - births, deaths and migration - were to be realised over the projection period. There can be no certainty that any particular outcome will be realised, or that future outcomes will necessarily fall within the projected ranges.
As described in Chapter 2, various assumptions have been made about future levels of Indigenous fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration, resulting in 14 projection series. Two main series (Series A and B) have been selected for presentation and analysis in this publication. Both series assume the total fertility rate will decrease to 2.1 babies per Indigenous woman by 2021, the total paternity rate will increase to 1.2 babies per Indigenous man, and net interstate migration will remain at levels observed in the 2006 Census. Two assumptions on life expectancy at birth have been used to produce the two main series:
- in Series A, Indigenous life expectancy at birth is assumed to remain constant at current levels for both males and females; and
- in Series B, Indigenous life expectancy at birth is assumed to increase by 5 years from current levels for both males and females.