ABOUT THIS RELEASE
This publication is part of the Demography Working Paper series.
Australia has a very good system of population measurement by international standards. There are accurate censuses of population and housing every five years, birth and death registration has high coverage, and all movements into and out of Australia are monitored. Therefore it is possible to maintain high quality estimates of the total Australian population. However, there are a range of data quality issues associated with estimating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (indigenous) population.
The standard approach to calculating death rates relies on applying the number of deaths in a given period to the 'exposed to risk' population during that period. Without accurate data on indigenous births and deaths, and accurate data on the size and structure of the indigenous population, the standard method for calculating indigenous death rates cannot be used.
This paper describes how a demographic technique outlined by Preston and Hill (1980) is used to estimate the completeness of indigenous death registration and calculate death rates for the Indigenous population. It then shows how these rates are used to produce indigenous life tables for Australia and selected states/territories for 1995-97. Comparison with the 1991-96 experimental indigenous life table and non-indigenous mortality are made. Finally, the implications of the assumptions made in this analysis are discussed.