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FEATURE ARTICLE 1: ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POPULATION ESTIMATES, 2016 - PRELIMINARY
AGE AND SEX STRUCTURE
The preliminary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2016 had a younger age structure than the non-Indigenous population, with both larger proportions of young people and smaller proportions of older people (see graph below). This largely reflects the relatively high levels of fertility and mortality of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared with that of the non-Indigenous population.
In 2016, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 15 years of age was 34%, compared with 18% of non-Indigenous people in the same age group. Persons aged 65 years and over comprised 4% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared with 16% of the non-Indigenous population. The age structures of the male and the female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations were similar to each other.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations - 30 June 2016
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is a self-identified one and therefore it is possible for the population age distribution to change over time for reasons other than the usual demographic ones (i.e. population ageing etc). To determine if the age distribution of the 2011 and 2016 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has in fact changed, The Index of Dissimilarity, which measures the overall difference between the two age distributions (Shyrock et al., 1976:131), has been calculated.
The lower The Index of Dissimilarity values are, the more similar are the two age distributions. For two successive Census years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations showed quite low values in comparison to its theoretical range of 0 to 100.
The Index value for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 3.5 for both males and females. In comparison, The Index values for the total Australian population were 2.4 and 2.5 for males and females respectively. Higher Index values for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population suggest that there has been slightly more change in the age distribution of this population between Censuses. For the states and territories, most Index of Dissimilarity values fall around or below 5.0 for both sexes except for the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, where the results could be less reliable due to the small size of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population used in the calculations.
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