|Life expectancy is a broad measure of a population’s long-term health and wellbeing. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has set a target of closing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians within a generation. COAG has funded the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to undertake an ongoing program of work, including the Indigenous Mortality Study, to improve the quality of life expectancy and other mortality estimates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.|
The Indigenous Mortality Project is part of the 2011 Census Data Enhancement program, which included a number of linkage projects that brought together data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing with other specified datasets. The Indigenous Mortality Project involved linking death registrations with 2011 Census records, building on the foundation of the first such study conducted in conjunction with the 2006 Census. The primary aim of the linkage was to assess the consistency of Indigenous status across the two datasets. Adjustment factors from this Project have been used to derive adjusted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths for use in compiling life tables and life expectancy estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This information paper is one of three reports from the Indigenous Mortality Project. It presents information about the consistency of Indigenous status across linked death registration and 2011 Census records, and examines social and demographic characteristics associated with differences in Indigenous status identification. Other releases include: Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 3302.0.55.003), and Information Paper: Death Registrations to Census Linkage Project — Methodology and Quality Assessment, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0.55.004).
There were 153,455 death registration records available to be linked for the Indigenous Mortality Project. Of these, 142,697 records were successfully linked to 2011 Census records. There were 2,490 linked records with an Indigenous status that was reported as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander on either the Census or the death registration record, or both. Of these, 1,550 (62%) were reported to be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin on both their death registration and Census records. There were 606 (24%) records for people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin on their Census record, but who were not reported as such on the death registration record. The remaining 334 records (13%) were for people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin on their death registration, but not on their Census record.
Of the jurisdictions for which results could be reported, the Northern Territory had the highest rate of consistent reporting (95%) and Victoria had the lowest rate (29%). People aged 70 years and over had the lowest rate of consistent identification of all age groups (50%). Consistent identification of Indigenous status in the Census and on the death registration became more common with increasing remoteness, being lowest in Major Cities (44%) and highest in Remote areas (92%). In addition to remoteness, consistent identification was associated with outcomes that suggested lower socioeconomic status, such as lower levels of educational attainment. For example, 61% of people with Year 12 as their highest educational attainment were identified consistently, compared with 38% of people with a Bachelor degree or above qualification. Just over two-thirds (69%) of people from the most disadvantaged areas were identified consistently, compared with 26% of people from the most advantaged areas. Identification as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person in the Census only was associated with outcomes that suggested higher socioeconomic status, such as higher levels of educational attainment and coming from areas of greater relative socioeconomic advantage.