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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
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Contents >> A Population Overview >> Fertility and mortality


A POPULATION OVERVIEW: FERTILITY AND MORTALITY

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section 'children' refers to people aged 0–14 years. The terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS Experimental Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2006 (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001), Births, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 3301.0) and Deaths, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 3302.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2009:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females in the 20–24 year age group had the highest birth rate out of all age groups (152 births per 1,000 females)
  • the teenage fertility rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females was six times the non-Indigenous teenage fertility rate (79 births per 1,000 females compared with 13 births per 1,000 females).
  • Between 2005 and 2009, the number of deaths per 100,000 people in the 15–24 year age group was almost three times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it was for non-Indigenous people (115 deaths per 100,000 compared to 41 deaths per 100,000).

FERTILITY

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females have more babies (a higher total fertility rate) at younger ages compared with non-Indigenous females. Having more babies at younger ages contributes to the larger share of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (as a proportion of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population) and also means that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females are more likely than young non-Indigenous females to be parents.

In 2009, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females in the 20–24 year age group had the highest number of births of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females (152 babies per 1,000 females). For non-Indigenous females, the age group with the highest number of births was the 30–34 year age group (123 babies per 1,000 females).

Births to teenage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15–19 years (2,400 births) accounted for 21% of all births to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females (11,500 births) in 2009. In comparison, births to teenage non-Indigenous females accounted for only 3% of all births. Overall, the teenage fertility rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females (79 babies per 1,000 females) was six times the teenage fertility rate of non-Indigenous females (13 babies per 1,000 females).

MORTALITY

Between 2005 and 2009, the age-specific death rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for each age group from birth to 24 years of age was more than twice as high as the comparable age-specific death rate for non-Indigenous people. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 1–4 years and youth aged 15–24 years, the age-specific death rates were almost three times as high as the comparable rates for non-Indigenous people.

3.1 AGE–SPECIFIC DEATH RATES (a)(b), by Indigenous status—2005–2009 (c)(d)(e)

Age


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander


Non-Indigenous


Rate ratio(f)


0(b)
9.0
4.2
2.1
1–4
56.2
20.3
2.8
5–14
20.9
9.3
2.2
15–24
114.8
40.9
2.8

(a) For more information on the quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths data, see Endnote 1.
(b) Deaths per 100,000 population, except for age 0 where the rate is per 1,000 live births.
(c) Death rates based on the average number of death registrations between 2005–2009, divided by the population at 30 June 2007.
(d) Data are for NSW, Qld, WA, SA, and NT combined, based on state or territory of usual residence see Endnote 1.
(e) Deaths where Indigenous status was not stated are excluded. As a result, age-specific death rates may be underestimated.
(f) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rate divided by the non-Indigenous rate.
Source: ABS 2010, Deaths, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 3302.0)


ENDNOTES

1. Care should be exercised when undertaking analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths as results may be affected by the following: under-identification of Indigenous deaths in the death registration system; unexplained changes in the number of identified deaths in different data collections and over time; the use of a standard Indigenous status question; changes in administrative processes; and not stated Indigenous status. Due to these data quality issues, detailed disaggregations of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are only available for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. For more information see ‘Deaths, Australia, 2009’, cat. no. 3302.0, ABS, Canberra, <www.abs.gov.au>.


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