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Newsletters - Demography News - November 2004


The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at March 2004 was 20.1 million persons, an increase of 234,800 since March 2003 and 64,000 since December 2003. The national growth rate during the 12 months ended March 2004 was 1.2%, the same as the growth rate for the previous 12 months.

Natural increase for the year ended March 2004 was 115,400 persons, an increase of 1.3% on the number recorded in the year ended March 2003 (113,900). Births contributed 249,300 babies and deaths removed 133,900 persons from the population in the year ended March 2004.

Net overseas migration was 37,600 persons in the March quarter 2004, a decrease of 9% from the number recorded in the March quarter 2003 (41,600). During the March quarter 2004 there were 118,700 permanent and long-term arrivals and 81,100 permanent and long-term departures after migration adjustments.

The March quarter 2004 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) was released on 16 September 2004. For more information please contact Rachael Hill on (02) 6252 6296 or


On 27 September 2004, the ABS released estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia from 1991 to 2001, and projections for each year to 2009 in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS cat. no. 3238.0). These estimates and projections are based on the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Population estimates for June 2001 also include disaggregation by ATSIC regions, capital city and balance of state, remoteness areas, major population regions and section of state. Separate estimates of the Torres Strait Islander population at June 2001 are also given. Two series of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections are provided for Australia and the states and territories. The ABS also released an electronic data cube Experimental Projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, ATSIC regions, 2001-2009 (ABS cat. no. 3238.0.55.002 Charges apply). Methods and assumptions used to produce the estimates and projections are described in ABS cat. no. 3238.0.

Users interested in Indigenous population statistics are encouraged to read ABS cat. no. 3238.0 and the ABS Demography Working Paper 2004/3 - Calculating Life Tables for Use in Population Estimates and Projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS cat. no. 3106.0.55.003). This paper describes a new method for developing experimental Indigenous life tables for the period 1996-2001. Due to the small number of registered Indigenous deaths, Indigenous life tables were not produced for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. For these two jurisdictions, a combined life table for New South Wales and Victoria for 1996-01 was assumed to apply.

For more information please contact Shahidullah on (02) 6252 5129 or


The first issue (2002) of the new electronic product Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001) was released on 16 September, 2004.

Some of the findings include:
  • Divorce rates: the crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1,000 population) in 2002 was 2.7 per 1,000. This was a decrease on the 2001 rate of 2.9 per 1,000, and a slight increase on the rate in 1992 of 2.6 per 1,000.
  • Age-specific Divorce rates: In 2002 males aged 40-44 years and females aged 30-34 experienced the highest divorce rate (13.2 per 1000 and 13.7 per 1000 respectively). For males, the highest rate has previously been among those aged 35-39, while the female age-specific rate has remained relatively constant.
  • The median duration of marriage to both separation and divorce is increasing over time. The median duration of marriage to separation in 2002 was 8.6 years, up from 7.4 years in 1992. The median duration of marriage to divorce in 2002 was 12.0 years, up from 10.5 years in 1992.
  • The proportion of divorces involving dependent children under 18 years has shown a slight decline from 53% in 1992 to 51% in 2001 and 50% in 2002.

The 2003 issue of Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001) is scheduled for release in February 2005.

For more information please contact Carole Nomarhas on (02) 6252 5873 or


The 2004 update of Australian Historical Population Statistics ( 3105.0.65.001) was released on 1 October 2004. This electronic product includes 105 data cubes (in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format) containing a wide range of demographic data going back where possible to the beginnings of European settlement (1788) of Australia. Statistics are included on population size and growth, population distribution, population age-sex structure, births, deaths, migration and marriages and divorces. It is recommended that clients read the descriptions of each data cube before purchasing to ensure that it contains the information required.

For more information please contact Cassandra Eaves on (02) 6252 6384 or


On 24 September 2004, the ABS released ABS Demography Working Paper 2004/3 - Calculating Life Tables for Use in Population Estimates and Projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS cat. no. 3106.0.55.003). This paper describes the process of constructing experimental Indigenous life tables for the period 1996-2001 using a new demographic method. Various issues related to calculating life tables for Indigenous Australians are also included.

The Indigenous life expectancy estimates presented in this paper are experimental because of the nature of the base population estimates, which are affected by both intercensal volatility in the census counts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and deficiencies in Indigenous identification in birth and death registration data. Consequently, there is uncertainty about the accuracy of death rates which can be derived from these inputs and used in life table construction. While the life expectancy estimates are the best that can be compiled with currently available data, and are assessed to be suitable for experimental population estimates and projections, over-precise analysis of the life expectancy estimates as measures of Indigenous health outcomes should be avoided. In particular, the differences between the life expectancy estimates in this paper and those previously published by the ABS, which were based on analysis of data for the intercensal period 1991 to 1996 and a different method, represent improvements in methods and data quality and do not necessarily represent any changes over time in the life expectancy of the Indigenous population.

For more information please contact Shahidullah on (02) 6252 5129 or


A number of changes were introduced to the release format of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) as of the August 2004 issue (released 14 October 2004). Changes included the introduction of four new tables (tables 3, 4, 7 and 8). These tables present trend and seasonally adjusted estimates for short-term visitor arrivals and resident departures by selected countries of residence/destination. The key figures, key points, main features and time periods presented in tables 3 to 12 were are redesigned to encourage better use of overseas arrivals and departures time-series estimates.

In most circumstances the ABS recommends the use of trend estimates in the analysis and interpretation of short-term overseas arrivals and departures estimates, particularly when making comparisons over time. This is because original estimates are influenced by seasonal and irregular factors that can distort interpretations in the fundamental direction of the series. The trend series removes such influences. The ABS encourages users of overseas arrivals and departures statistics to read the ABS Demography Working Paper 2004/02 – Interpretation and Use of Overseas Arrivals and Departures Estimates (cat. no. 3106.55.001).

For further information about the changes to the Overseas Arrivals and Departures release format, contact Chrissy Beruldsen on (02) 6252 5640 or email


'Understanding Demographic Data,' the popular one-day course offered by ABS Demography, will be held in Canberra on 30 November. To register contact or (02) 6207 0277.

The course provides an understanding of demographic information produced and disseminated by the ABS and the processes which shape the population, and includes practical exercises in the analysis of demographic information. Key issues covered include:

  • Relationship of Census counts to Estimated Resident Population
  • Components of population growth: births; deaths; internal and overseas migration
  • How the ABS produces population estimates and projections, including for Indigenous people and small areas
  • The relevance of demographic data to society and the economy
  • Tools for demographic analysis, with practical exercises
  • Population dynamics such as population momentum, ageing and migration effects on the population profile.

Course notes and a copy of
Australian Demographic Statistics are provided. The cost per participant is $350, which includes a light lunch. A discount of $25 applies for those who register a month in advance.


The Demography section was strongly involved with the recent Australian Population Association (APA) Conference, for which the ABS was Principal Sponsor. The conference was held in Canberra on 15-17 September 2004. The aim of the conference was to: provide an opportunity to present and discuss current and future population issues and their implications; stimulate discussion and debate about population policy futures; involve a wide range of individuals and organisations interested in population issues; encourage networking for those working on population matters; and provide support for young researchers and professionals.

The Demography section of the ABS presented the following papers at the APA conference:
  • Households, family and living arrangements of the population of Australia, 1986 to 2026.
Paper available at:
  • International migration: Conceptual and measurement puzzles.
Paper available at:
  • Indigenous mortality estimation: an application of Bhat's recent reformulation of Brass Growth Balance Equation.
Paper available at:
  • Social Martial status in Australia; Evidence from 2001 Census.
Paper available at:
  • A case of Parity and Birth-order statistics.
Paper available at:

The ABS will also be hosting the 55th Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) in Sydney from 5 to 12 April 2005. The conference will include an invited paper meeting on demographic forecasting and several other invited and contributed papers on demographic topics. Registration for ISI2005 is now open. For more information including registration details see the ISI 2005 website


The ABS Demography section produces estimates of population by age, sex, country of birth, Indigenous status, registered marital status, geographical distribution and estimates of families and households. Projections of the population, families and households, according to specified demographic assumptions, are published on a regular basis and produced on request. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures and internal migration. The Demography area also produces estimation benchmarks for population surveys conducted by the ABS. In addition to reporting on statistics, courses are conducted and an email newsletter is sent to national and international government and commonwealth agencies and other major clients, including the media and non-profit organisations.


If you are seeking demography or any other ABS data, you can:

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If you wish to discuss statistical issues, contacts are as outlined below. (02) 6252 5117 (02) 6252 6573
Migration - international and (02) 6252 6141
Overseas arrivals and (02) 6252 5640
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 6316
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 5873
Households and (02) 6252 6487
Indigenous - (02) 6252 6663
Indigenous - (02) 6252 5129
Population (02) 6252 6487
Population - general and (02) 6252 6557

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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