3126.0 - Demography Working Paper 2001/4 - Issues in Estimating the Indigenous Population, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/08/2001   
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This publication is part of the Demography Working Paper series.

The ABS has been involved in producing experimental estimates of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (indigenous) population since 1994 when it published Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 1986-1991 (ABS, 1994; ABS, 1998a). It included estimates for 1986. Subsequently a 1991-1996 issue of this publication was released. Estimates were published at the state (including territory) level and, for June 1996, at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) region level. Estimates of the Torres Strait Islander population at June 1996 have been published in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 2000 (ABS, 2000b).

Experimental projections of the indigenous population have also been published at the State level in the 1991-2001 and 1996-2006 issues of Experimental Projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population (ABS, 1996; ABS, 1998b). Projections, which involve a series of assumptions about future trends in fertility, mortality, migration and the propensity to identify indigenous origin on census forms, provide the best indication of post-censal populations in the absence of post-censal population estimates.

Estimates of the indigenous population are 'experimental' in that the estimates are affected by changes in the propensity of people to identify as being of indigenous origin on census forms and satisfactory data on births, deaths and migration are not generally available. 'Experimental' reflects the uncertainty involved. The principal focus of this paper is on estimates for 1991-1996 based on the 1996 Census.