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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Population

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

Over recent decades, changing social attitudes, political developments, improved statistical coverage and a broader definition of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin have all contributed to the increased likelihood of people identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia was estimated to be 517,000 people at 30 June 2006, or 2.5% of the total Australian population. In 2006, around 90% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples identified as being of Aboriginal origin, 6% identified as being of Torres Strait Islander origin and 4% identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is relatively young, with a median age of 21 years compared to 37 years for the non-Indigenous population in 2006.

In 2006, around one-third (32%) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population lived in major cities of Australia, 43% in regional areas and 25% in remote areas. The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in New South Wales (30% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population lived in this state), Queensland (28%) and Western Australia (14%). While 12% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in the Northern Territory, they do make up almost a third (30%) of the total Northern Territory population. In all of the other states and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make up less than 4% of the total population.

The latest ABS projections of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population show an increase from 517,000 people in 2006 to between 713,300 and 721,100 people in 2021. The projected average annual growth rate of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population between 2006 and 2021 is 2.2%, much higher than the same rate for the total Australian population (1.4%) (ABS 2010).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous age distribution - 30 June 2006
GRAPH: Age and sex distribution pyramid of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, 1996
Source: ABS Experimental Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Jun 2006 (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001).


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population distribution - 2006(a)
DIAGRAM: Indigenous population distribution across Australia and Remoteness Areas, 2006

(a) Final estimates based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.
Source: ABS data available on request, Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)

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