2075.0 - Census of Population and Housing - Counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2016  
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2016 CENSUS COUNTS - ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES (BY REMOTENESS AREA)


In the 2016 Census, there were 649,171 people across Australia who identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, the majority (81%) of whom lived in non-remote areas of Australia.

Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to be living in non-remote areas, they made up a greater proportion of the remote (25%) than non-remote (2%) population.

INDIGENOUS STATUS BY REMOTENESS AREA, 2016 (a)

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous

Remoteness Area
Count of Persons (no.)
Proportion of Persons (%)
Count of Persons (no.)
Proportion of Persons (%)

Non-Remote
526 009
81.0
21 000 766
98.4
Remote
119 595
18.4
304 394
1.4

Total Australia (b)
649 171
100.0
21 341 231
100.0

(a) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(b) Includes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

REMOTENESS AREA BY INDIGENOUS STATUS, 2016 (a)

Non-remote
Remote

Count of Persons
(no.)
Proportion of Persons
(%)
Count of Persons
(no.)
Proportion of Persons
(%)

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
526 009
2.3
119 595
25.3
Non-Indigenous
21 000 766
91.8
304 394
64.3

Total Australia (b)(c)
22 882 169
100.0
473 356
100.0

(a) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(b) Includes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
(c) Includes Indigenous status Not Stated.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

Remoteness Area

The Remoteness Area structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) provides a geographical standard for the publication of statistics about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia. This structure is produced by dividing each state and territory into five classes of remoteness based on relative access to services. The five classes of remoteness for each state and territory can be aggregated to produce non-remote and remote areas of Australia.

The five classes of remoteness are:
  • Major Cities of Australia
  • Inner Regional Australia
  • Outer Regional Australia
  • Remote Australia
  • Very Remote Australia

In general, regions become less remote when urban centres increase in size and when the road networks between regions improve. Between 2011 and 2016, Major Cities have expanded to encapsulate regions that were initially inner regional in 2011, with these areas containing just over 100,000 people in 2016. For example, Wallacia was part of inner regional New South Wales in 2011, however in 2016 Wallacia is one of the major cities in New South Wales.


Changes between Censuses

Looking at the distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across remoteness areas in 2016 compared to 2011, we can see how people have moved between the areas. In 2016, there was an increase in people living in major cities and inner regional areas and an associated reduction in people living in outer regional and remote areas.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PERSONS BY REMOTENESS AREA, 2006-2016 (a)

2006
2011
2016
Difference between
2016 and 2011

Remoteness Area (b)
Proportion of Persons (%)
Per cent (%)

Major Cities of Australia
32.4
34.4
37.4
3.0
Inner Regional Australia
21.8
22.1
24.0
1.9
Outer Regional Australia
21.7
21.6
19.7
-1.9
Remote Australia
8.7
7.2
6.2
-1.0
Very Remote Australia
15.1
14.1
12.2
-1.9

(a) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(b) Excludes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


Over the last 10 years, the number of Australians identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander has increased by 43 per cent. Growth in major cities and inner regional areas (29% and 28% respectively) was higher than the growth in remote and very remote areas (1% and 2% respectively).


INTERCENSAL CHANGE BY REMOTENESS AREA, ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PERSONS, 2006-2016 (a)(b)

2006 to 2011
2011 to 2016

Remoteness Area
Intercensal Change (%)

Major Cities of Australia
28.0
28.6
Inner Regional Australia
22.1
28.3
Outer Regional Australia
20.1
7.9
Remote Australia
0.9
1.1
Very Remote Australia
12.7
2.4

Total Australia (c)
20.5
18.4

(a) Intercensal change is calculated using the change in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population over the Census periods.
(b) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(c) Includes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


REMOTENESS

As seen above, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has shifted toward urban areas over the last ten years. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still more likely than other Australians to live outside of major cities.

In 2016, almost 4 in 10 (37%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in major cities in 2016 compared to 72 per cent of other Australians. A further 24 per cent and 20 per cent lived in inner or outer regional areas respectively.

Almost 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in remote (6%) and very remote (12%) areas while around 1 in 100 non-Indigenous Australians lived in these areas (1% and 0.4% respectively).

INDIGENOUS STATUS BY REMOTENESS AREA, 2016 (a)

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous

Remoteness Area
Count of Persons
(no.)
Proportion of Persons
(%)
Count of Persons
(no.)
Proportion of Persons
(%)

Major Cities of Australia
242 529
37.4
15 495 768
72.6
Inner Regional Australia
155 602
24.0
3 809 569
17.9
Outer Regional Australia
127 874
19.7
1 695 430
7.9
Remote Australia
40 210
6.2
211 269
1.0
Very Remote Australia
79 383
12.2
93 127
0.4

Total Australia (b)
649 171
100.0
21 341 231
100.0

(a) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(b) Includes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


STATES AND TERRITORIES

Across most states and territories, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were less likely to live in major cities and inner regional areas than other Australians and more likely to live in remote or very remote areas.

In New South Wales and Queensland, where most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live, most people lived in major cities or regional areas. However, the remote and very remote population for both states was larger for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than other Australians (3% for New South Wales and 17% for Queensland).

More than half (58%) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of the Northern Territory lived in very remote areas compared to 6 per cent of the non-Indigenous population.

While a quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia lived in very remote areas, most (40%) lived in major cities. In contrast, 80 per cent of the non-Indigenous population lived in major cities and 2 per cent lived in very remote areas.


REMOTENESS AREA BY INDIGENOUS STATUS AND STATE/TERRITORY, 2016 (a)

Remoteness Area (b)
Major Cities of Australia
Inner Regional Australia
Outer Regional Australia
Remote Australia
Very Remote
Australia

ABORIGINAL AND/OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER

Proportion of Persons (%)

New South Wales
46.4
34.5
15.3
2.6
0.9
Victoria
51.8
34.9
12.6
0.1
. .
Queensland
33.8
22.2
26.5
5.9
11.1
South Australia
51.9
10.7
22.0
3.8
10.8
Western Australia
39.8
7.7
13.7
12.7
25.3
Tasmania
. .
56.2
40.7
2.1
0.8
Northern Territory
. .
. .
20.5
20.7
57.5
Australian Capital Territory
99.3
0.2
. .
. .
. .
Total Australia (b)
37.4
24.0
19.7
6.2
12.2

NON-INDIGENOUS

Proportion of Persons (%)

New South Wales
75.9
18.3
5.3
0.3
0.0
Victoria
77.4
18.5
3.9
0.1
. .
Queensland
64.7
19.8
13.3
1.2
0.7
South Australia
74.2
12.8
9.9
2.5
0.5
Western Australia
79.4
8.7
7.0
2.9
1.7
Tasmania
. .
68.3
29.6
1.4
0.5
Northern Territory
. .
. .
74.7
18.2
6.1
Australian Capital Territory
99.7
0.2
. .
. .
. .
Total Australia (b)
72.6
17.9
7.9
1.0
0.4

(a) Usual residence, excludes overseas visitors.
(b) Includes Other Territories, comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, Migratory-Offshore-Shipping, and No Usual Address.
. . Not Applicable
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016