3231.0 - Experimental Projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 1996 to 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/07/1998   
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July 14, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS projects increase in Australia's Indigenous population

Australia's Indigenous population is projected to increase from 386,000 in 1996 to around 470,000 in 2006 based on current trends in fertility and mortality according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 2.0 per cent, higher than that of the total Australian population (1.2 per cent during the 1996-97 financial year).

In 2006 Queensland and New South Wales could have the largest Indigenous populations (133,000 each), followed by Western Australia (67,000), the Northern Territory (61,000), South Australia and Victoria (27,000 each), Tasmania (18,000) and the Australian Capital Territory (4,000).

Between the 1991 and 1996 Censuses, there was a larger than expected increase in the number of persons identified as Indigenous. If this trend continued, the Indigenous population could reach 650,000 by 2006.

Characteristically, the Indigenous population is much younger than that of the total Australian population. In 1996 the median age (where half the population is younger and half older) of the Indigenous population was 20 years compared to 34 years for the total Australian population.

In 1996, 40 per cent of the Indigenous population were aged under 15 years, compared with 21 per cent for the total Australian population. By 2006, persons under 15 are expected to represent about 37 per cent of the Indigenous population.

The life expectancies of Indigenous males (57 years) and females (62 years) are nearly 20 years below those recorded for the total Australian population.

The projections use a combination of assumptions of future levels of births, deaths, migration and changing propensity to identify to arrive at the size, structure and distribution of the projected Indigenous population.

Comprehensive detail about the projections is in Experimental Projections of the Indigenous Population, 1996 to 2006
(cat. no. 3231.0) available from ABS Bookshops. Main features of the publication are available from this site.