3238.0 - Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 to 2031  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/07/2019   
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AUSTRALIA

Size and growth

In 2016, there were 798,400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, representing 3.3% of the total Australian population. Between 2006 and 2016, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population increased by 2.2% (from 640,000 people) per year on average, compared with 1.6% for the total Australian population.

By 2031, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is projected to increase to between 1,054,600 people (low series) and 1,100,400 people (high series) at an average annual growth rate of between 1.9% and 2.2% per year. In comparison, the average annual growth rate of the total Australian population is projected to be between 1.3% and 1.7% per year over the same period (Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) to 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0)).

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia is projected to reach one million people by 2027 (high series) and by 2028 (medium and low series).


Graph Image for Graph 1 - Estimated and projected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, 2016 to 2031


Natural increase

At the national level any growth in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is entirely due to natural increase as net overseas migration is assumed to be zero.

Although decreasing fertility rates are assumed, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births is projected to increase over the projection period. This is due to the increase in the number of women of child-bearing ages over the projection period as well as the assumption of increasing paternity rates.

As a result:
  • births are projected to increase from 18,970 in 2017 (Series B), to between 22,150 and 28,050 in 2031
  • deaths are projected to increase from 3,080 in 2017 (Series B), to between 3,900 and 4,540 in 2031
  • natural increase remains consistently high, increasing from 15,890 in 2017 (Series B) to between 17,620 and 24,150 in 2031.



POPULATION STRUCTURE

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has a relatively young age structure with a median age of 22.9 years in 2016 (37.8 years for the Non-Indigenous population).
  • in 2006 the median age was 21.2 years
  • by 2031 the median age is projected to be between 25.7 and 26.7 years.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is projected to increase across all age groups between 2016 and 2031.


People aged 0–14 years

The number of children (0–14 years) is 274,300 in 2016. This is projected to:
  • increase to between 309,800 and 350,900 in 2031
  • decrease as a proportion of the population, from 34.4% in 2016 to between 29.4% and 31.9% in 2031.


People aged 15–64 years

The number of people aged 15–64 years is 490,000 in 2016. This is projected to:
  • increase to between 658,200 and 660,000 in 2031
  • remain stable as a proportion of the population, from 61.4% in 2016 to between 60.0% and 62.4% in 2031.


People aged 65 years and over

The number of people aged 65 years and over is 34,000 in 2016. This is projected to:
  • increase to between 86,500 and 89,600 in 2031
  • increase as a proportion of the population, from 4.3% in 2016 to between 8.1% and 8.2% in 2031.



Table 1: ESTIMATED AND PROJECTED ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POPULATION(a)(b), by age group, Australia - 30 June

Age group (years)
2006
2016
2031 (series A)
2031 (series B)
2031 (series C)

NUMBER

0–14
242 772
274 333
350 893
325 486
309 845
15–24
115 425
155 179
187 074
187 032
187 000
25–34
90 433
113 812
166 406
166 283
166 220
35–44
85 144
87 782
134 214
134 004
133 898
45–54
58 342
80 462
90 504
90 225
90 076
55–64
29 749
52 785
81 752
81 253
80 991
65–74
12 642
24 293
57 956
57 235
56 844
75 and over
5 529
9 719
31 628
30 353
29 695
Total
640 036
798 365
1 100 427
1 071 871
1 054 569

PROPORTION

0–14
37.9
34.4
31.9
30.4
29.4
15–24
18.0
19.4
17.0
17.4
17.7
25–34
14.1
14.3
15.1
15.5
15.8
35–44
13.3
11.0
12.2
12.5
12.7
45–54
9.1
10.1
8.2
8.4
8.5
55–64
4.6
6.6
7.4
7.6
7.7
65–74
2.0
3.0
5.3
5.3
5.4
75 and over
0.9
1.2
2.9
2.8
2.8
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

(a) Estimates and projections based on the 2016 Census.
(b) Due to rounding, proportions may not add to 100%.



Graph 2 - Estimated and projected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, by age group, Australia - Series B - at 30 June
Total population pyramid showing 5 year age groups for 2016 estimated ATSI population and 2031 projected ATSI population.