For the final population estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, please refer to the ABS release Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat no. 3238.0) released in September 2009.
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents preliminary estimates of the Indigenous population at 30 June 2006. Final estimated resident population by Indigenous status was published in mid 2008 and released in a datacube spreadsheet (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001) on the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au>. A time-series of Indigenous population estimates and projections was released in September 2009 in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0).
DATA IN THIS PUBLICATION
For each Indigenous Location, Census counts by Indigenous status are provided, including the proportion of the population that is Indigenous. Census counts of the Torres Strait Islander population are provided for each state and territory, as well as for selected Indigenous Areas within Queensland and selected Indigenous Locations within the Torres Strait Indigenous Region. Some comparisons with previous Censuses at the state/territory level are presented. Unless otherwise stated, Census counts relate to place of usual residence.
INTRODUCED RANDOM ERROR
Introduced random error is used to ensure that no data are released that could risk the identification of individuals in statistics. Accordingly, the data presented in this publication are subject to small adjustments and therefore totals and components may not be consistent within and between tables. For further information see Census Dictionary, 2006 (cat. no. 2901.0).
More information about ABS activities in the field of Indigenous statistics is available from the Indigenous theme page on the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au>. Details of other ABS publications relating to Indigenous Australians can be found in paragraph 24 of the Explanatory Notes.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Julie Nankervis on Darwin (08) 8943 2146.
The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing is one of the most important sources of information about Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, providing a wide range of socioeconomic indicators, particularly for small areas. It is also the basis for calculating the Indigenous estimated resident population (ERP). This publication presents information on the Indigenous ERP at the state/territory level, and the unadjusted sub-state geographic distribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population as counted in the Census.
ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION
To arrive at the estimated resident population for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the census count (on a usual residence basis) is adjusted for instances in which Indigenous status is unknown and for net undercount. This publication presents preliminary estimates of the Indigenous population at 30 June 2006. Final estimated resident population by Indigenous status was published in mid 2008 and released in a datacube spreadsheet (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001) on the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au>. For more information on how the Indigenous population is estimated, see Appendix 2: Indigenous Estimated Resident Population - Method of Calculation.
At 30 June 2006, the Indigenous estimated resident population of Australia was 517,200 or 2.5% of the total population. This Indigenous population estimate was 14% higher than the 2006 unadjusted Census count (455,028). See also Chapter 2: Interpreting the Data.
In terms of absolute numbers, New South Wales (148,200) and Queensland (146,400) had the largest Indigenous estimated resident populations followed by Western Australia (77,900) and the Northern Territory (66,600).
Among the Indigenous population in 2006, 463,900 or 90% were estimated as being of Aboriginal origin only, 33,100 or 6% were of Torres Strait Islander origin only, and 20,200 or 4% were of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin (table 1). This distribution was virtually unchanged from 2001.
Almost one in three people in the Northern Territory (32%) were estimated to be of Indigenous origin. In all other states/territories less than 4% of people were estimated to be of Indigenous origin. Victoria had the lowest proportion of people of Indigenous origin at 0.6% of the total state population.
Between 2001 and 2006, the Australian Indigenous estimated resident population increased by 58,700 or 13%. The jurisdictions with the highest growth rates were Western Australia (18%), the Northern Territory (17%) and Queensland (16%). These rates are subject to revision once 2006 population estimates have been finalised and after analysis of the components of growth (demographic and non-demographic factors) between 2001 and 2006 in the Indigenous population.
Further information on the size and distribution of the preliminary Indigenous estimated resident population will be available in the forthcoming publication: Australian Demographic Statistics, March 2007 (cat. no. 3101.0), due for release in September 2007. Final estimated resident population by Indigenous status was published mid 2008 and released in a datacube spreadsheet (cat. no. 3238.0.55.001) on the ABS web site (www.abs.gov.au). A time-series of Indigenous population estimates and projections was released in Sepetmber 2009 in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0). This publication will also present an analysis of components of growth in the Indigenous population between 2001 and 2006.
(a) Estimates are subject to revision once 2006 population estimates have been finalised and analysis of the components of growth in the Indigenous population (demographic and non-demographic factors) between 2001 and 2006.
Estimated resident population(a), Indigenous Status – 2001 and preliminary 2006
Proportion of total
Proportion of state/territory population
Intercensal change 2001–2006
|New South |
|Australian Capital |
(b) Includes Other Territories. See Glossary. Table 1.
Usual residence census counts are presented in all tables in this publication except table1 since, at time of writing, Indigenous population estimates were only available at the state/territory level. The following discussion of population distribution is therefore based on usual residence census counts.
In 2006, 455,028 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted in the Census, representing an increase of 11% between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses. The census count for the total population increased by 6% over the same period (table 3). Over the past 20 years, the census count of Indigenous people has doubled from 227,593 in 1986. This high level of growth is a result of natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and non-demographic factors such as people identifying their Indigenous origin for the first time in the Census. Analysis of the components of population growth between 2001 and 2006 will be undertaken as part of the development of final estimates and projections of the Indigenous population as discussed above.
CENSUS INDIGENOUS POPULATION COUNTS
The remoteness structure outlined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) and used to present data in this section includes all CDs and therefore, in aggregate, covers the whole of Australia. The purpose of the structure is to classify CDs which share common characteristics of remoteness into broad geographical regions called Remoteness Areas (RAs).
There are five major categories of Remoteness Area: Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia and Very Remote Australia, together with a residual Migratory category. While most state and territory capitals are classified as Major Cities, Hobart is classified as Inner Regional Australia and Darwin as Outer Regional Australia.
– nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
2006 Census(a), Indigenous population – Remoteness Areas(b)
Major Cities of Australia
Inner Regional Australia
Outer Regional Australia
Very Remote Australia
|New South Wales|
|Australian Capital |
(a) Usual Residence.
(b) Remoteness calculated using best fitof 2006 Collection Districts with 2001 Remoteness Areas. data may change with release of 2006 Remoteness Areas.
(c) Hobart is classified as Inner Regional Australia.
(d) Darwin is classified as Outer Regional Australia.
(e) Excludes Other Territories. See Glossary.
In 2006, the majority of Indigenous people in Australia lived in Major Cities (31%). The remaining Indigenous population was evenly distributed across Inner Regional (22%), Outer Regional (23%) and Remote/Very Remote Australia combined (24%).
States with a relatively high proportion of Indigenous people living in Major Cities included South Australia (48% of the total state Indigenous usual residence count), Victoria (48%) and New South Wales (42%). In contrast, 81% of the Indigenous population counted in the Northern Territory lived in Remote/Very Remote areas. Likewise in Western Australia, 41% of the Indigenous population lived in Remote/Very Remote areas.
Indigenous Regions comprise the highest level of the Australian Indigenous Geographic Classification (AIGC) and are largely based on the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Region boundaries. In 2006, nine out of the 37 Indigenous Regions accounted for half of the Indigenous population of Australia. These were Sydney, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Perth, Townsville, Cairns, Adelaide, Tasmania and Wagga Wagga.
The Indigenous Regions with the highest usual residence census counts were Sydney (41,804), Brisbane (41,369) and Coffs Harbour (40,041) all located along the eastern seaboard of Australia (table 4). This is consistent with the 2001 Census results.
The Indigenous Regions with the highest proportion of Indigenous residents were outside major population centres and included the Torres Strait Indigenous Region in Queensland (83%), and the Apatula and Jabiru Indigenous Regions in Northern Territory (79% and 77% respectively) (table 4).
The highest regional increases in the Indigenous population between 2001 and 2006, based on 2006 AIGC boundaries, occurred in the Indigenous Regions of Coffs Harbour (25%), Non-Metropolitan Victoria (25%), Wagga Wagga (21%) and Melbourne (20%). As in previous censuses, high Indigenous population growth occurred in more urbanised locations. A decline in Indigenous census counts was observed in some Indigenous regions between 2001 and 2006. For more information on the factors which led to these changes see Appendix 3: Quality of Indigenous Status Data in the 2006 Census. Further detail on the AIGC more broadly, including comparability of 2001 ATSIC Regions to 2006 IREGs, is available in Appendix 1: AIGC Structure.
Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Locations
Indigenous Regions can be divided into Indigenous Areas, the second level of the AIGC. In turn, Indigenous Areas may then be divided into smaller units known as Indigenous Locations, which are the third and lowest level of the AIGC. About 60% of Indigenous Areas are comprised of a single Indigenous Location, while others are divided into a number of Indigenous Locations. For detailed information on the structure of the AIGC, see Appendix 1: AIGC Structure.
Among Indigenous Areas, Gold Coast (C) had the largest number of Indigenous people, with 5,675, followed by Townsville (C) (4,982). Many of the Indigenous Areas with a large number of Indigenous people (usual residence census count of more than 2,500 Indigenous people) had a higher proportion of Indigenous people than the national average of 2.3%. Among Indigenous Areas with large Indigenous populations, Moree Plains (A) had the highest proportion of residents who were Indigenous (2,702Indigenous people, 19%) (tables 6-42).
Within the Indigenous Region of Sydney (41,804 Indigenous usual residence census count), the most populous Indigenous Areas included Wollongong (C) (3,124), Liverpool (A) (2,193) and Kiama (A)/Shellharbour (C) (1,622). The Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown local government areas also have large Indigenous populations and each has been split into a number of Indigenous Areas because of the size and diversity of their populations (table 9).
Indigenous people comprised 90% or more of the total census count in more than 60Indigenous Areas. All of these areas were in northern and central Australia and included Mowanjum and Tennant Creek (T) - Towns Camps (both 100% Indigenous people), Looma and Amoonguna (99%), and Bayulu, Cherbourg (Shire), Mer (IC), Yarrabah (S) and Maningrida Outstation (97%) (tables 6-42).
Torres Strait Islander People
In 2006, over half (61%) of the census count of Torres Strait Islander people (people of Torres Strait Islander origin only and those of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin) lived in Queensland. Indigenous Areas in Queensland with high census counts of Torres Strait Islander people included Cairns (C) - Central Suburbs (1,742) and Mackay(C) (1,474) (table 45).
There were 6,958 Torres Strait Islander people living in the Torres Strait Indigenous Region (15% of the total count of Torres Strait Islander people). The largest count of Torres Strait Islander people was on Thursday Island (935 people in Tamoi, Rose Hill, Applin, Wyborn and Quarantine (TRAWQ) and 844 in Port Kennedy). Badu Island (706) and Bamaga (681) also recorded relatively large counts of Torres Strait Islander people. Overall, 81% of people counted in the Torres Strait Indigenous Region were of Torres Strait Islander origin (table 46).