2077.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counts, 2006-2011 Quality Declaration 
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CHANGES IN DISTRIBUTION OF CENSUS COUNTS BY REMOTENESS

INTRODUCTION

The Remoteness Structure is a geographic classification that divides Australia into broad regions that share common characteristics of remoteness. This chapter focuses on the distribution of the increase in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses by remoteness nationally and within states and territories. It also presents an analysis of how different age groups contributed to the increase across Remoteness Areas.

The base geography used to construct the five Remoteness Areas in the 2011 Census was different to that used in the 2006 Census; however, the impact of the change in classification is considered to be minimal. In most cases it is possible to make a comparison of the same Remoteness Area across the two Censuses. For more information about the classification refer to Statistical Geography Fact Sheet: Remoteness Structure.

Changes in the Census counts by Remoteness Area between 2006 and 2011 have not been adjusted to account for the potential impact of mortality and/or variability of the undercount and mobility between Remoteness Areas. For more information about this refer to paragraph 23 of the Explanatory Notes.


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

  • In 2011, the general distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by Remoteness Area was largely unchanged from 2006.
  • Of the 21% (93,300) more people who identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in the 2011 Census, the majority (83,100) were living in non-remote areas. In particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities accounted for the highest proportion (44% or 41,300) of the increase in 2011.
  • An age cohort analysis showed that the increase in the overall count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011 varied by Remoteness Area. There was a substantial increase in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011 in non-remote areas, most notably in major cities (18,500), and decreases in remote (4,100) and very remote (200) areas.

CHANGES IN CENSUS COUNTS BY REMOTENESS

The distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by Remoteness Area in the 2011 Census was largely unchanged from the 2006 Census, with a slight shift in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities, and remote and very remote areas.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Distribution by Remoteness Area

Graph shows there was very little change in the distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Remoteness Areas between 2006 and 2011, with 34% of people living in major cities in 2011.


While nationally there was very little change in the distribution of the Census counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Remoteness Areas between 2006 and 2011, the relative increase in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people varied by Remoteness Area. The highest gains were in non-remote Australia, with a 28% increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in major cities, a 22% increase in inner regional areas and a 20% increase in outer regional areas. The counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote and very remote areas also increased but to a lesser extent, up 1% and 13% respectively.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Counts by Remoteness Area

2006
2011
Relative change
Contribution to
total change
no.
no.
no.
%
%

Major Cities
147 296
188 548
41 252
28.0
44.2
Inner Regional
99 312
121 291
21 979
22.1
23.5
Outer Regional
98 653
118 484
19 831
20.1
21.2
Remote
39 408
39 755
347
0.9
0.4
Very Remote
68 752
77 489
8 737
12.7
9.4
Total
455 025
548 369
93 344
20.5
100.0

(a) Usual residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors. Includes Other Territories.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities accounted for the greatest proportion (44% or 41,300) of the additional 93,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were counted in the 2011 Census compared with 2006, followed by those living in inner regional areas (24% or 22,000) and outer regional areas (21% or 19,800).


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Distribution of change in counts between 2006 and 2011

Graph shows the relative percentage increase in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2006 and 2011 was greatest for those living in major cities (44%) and lowest for those in remote areas (less than 1%).


Major cities

In 2011, there were 41,300 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities than in 2006. New South Wales and Queensland accounted for more than two-thirds (68% or 28,000) of this increase. There was also a substantial increase in the number of people living in major cities in Western Australia (27% or 5,500) and Victoria (26% or 3,800) between 2006 and 2011.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Major Cities(b)

Graph shows the largest increases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities between 2006 and 2011 occurred in New South Wales (16,900) and Queensland (11,100).


Inner Regional areas

The count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in inner regional areas increased by 22,000 people between 2006 and 2011. Three states accounted for 90% (19,800) of this increase - New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania there was very little change from the 2006 counts.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Inner Regional Areas(b)

Graph shows that between 2006 and 2011, the largest increase in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in inner regional areas occurred in New South Wales (12,000).

Outer regional areas

The 2011 Census counted 19,800 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in outer regional areas than the 2006 Census, with the largest increase occurring in Queensland, followed by New South Wales. Together these two states accounted for 72% (14,300) of the increase. The remaining states (Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania) and the Northern Territory each recorded small increases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in their outer regional areas.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Outer Regional Areas(b)

Graph shows the largest increases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in outer regional areas between 2006 and 2011 occurred in Queensland (10,100) and New South Wales (4,200).


Remote areas

In remote areas, there was an overall increase of 350 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 2006 to 2011, but distribution varied across the country. Western Australia recorded an increase of 1,900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, equivalent to a 21% rise in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the remote areas of this state. New South Wales and the Northern Territory showed a decrease in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas (1,100 and 800 respectively), while the remaining states showed little change from 2006.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Remote Areas(b)

Graph shows that the largest increase in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas between 2006 and 2011 was in Western Australia (1,900), with decreases in New South Wales and the Northern Territory.


Very remote areas

The count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in very remote areas increased by 8,700 people between 2006 and 2011. The Northern Territory accounted for 38% (3,300) of this increase. New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia recorded smaller increases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in their very remote areas, while Tasmania showed little change from 2006.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), Very Remote Areas(b)

Graph shows that the largest relative increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in very remote areas between 2006 and 2011 was in the Northern Territory (3,300), with smaller changes in the other states.



REMOTENESS BY AGE

While almost three-quarters (72% or 67,400) of the national increase (93,300) in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses came from children aged 0-4 years in 2011, more than one-quarter (28% or 25,900) of the increase was from people aged five years and over in 2011. People aged five years and over in 2011 accounted for 45% (18,500) of the total increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities, 27% (5,900) of the total increase for those living in inner regional areas and 24% (4,800) of the total increase for those living in outer regional areas.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE, Contribution to increase between 2006 and 2011 by selected age groups(a)
Graph shows that the increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011 was largest in major cities (18,500) and almost as high as the increase in those aged 0–4 years in 2011 (22,700).


In major cities, the contribution to the total increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made by those aged five years and over in 2011 (18,500) was almost as high as that made by those aged 0-4 years (22,700). This increase supports the finding in earlier chapters that there were more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people moving into this age group in the 2011 Census, most likely due to a greater propensity to identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person in 2011 than in 2006.

Remoteness by age cohort

This section looks at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Remoteness Areas by age cohorts to assess whether the changes that occurred in each age group by Remoteness Area were in line with expectations. An age cohort is a group of people with the same birth year within a defined period (for example, people aged 30-34 years in 2011 were aged 25-29 years in 2006). Changes in age cohorts are discussed in more detail in the chapter Changes in Age and Sex Structure.

When comparing age cohorts between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses, it is expected that there will be a very high increase in the count of each Remoteness Area from children aged 0-4 years in 2011 due to births since the 2006 Census, and small changes for people aged five years and over in 2011 due to mortality, mobility and/or variability of the undercount for different age groups over time.

Major Cities

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011, the increase in the count of those living in major cities (18,500) was far greater than in any of the other Remoteness Areas. The largest gains were among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth aged 5-19 years in 2011, who contributed over half of this increase (56% or 10,400). There were also increases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for all five-year age groups up to and including 60-64 years in 2011. The count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 65 years and over in 2011 living in major cities remained similar to that in 2006.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), By age cohort in 2011, Major Cities

Graph shows increases in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011 living in major cities for all age cohorts up to and including 60-64 years with the largest gains among those aged 5-19 years in 2011.

Inner Regional areas

Between 2006 and 2011 there was an increase of 5,900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over living in inner regional areas. Of these, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth aged 5-14 years in 2011 contributed the largest increase (4,300) followed by those aged 35-44 years (1,600), while the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 20-24 years declined (1,400). Similar to the pattern observed for major cities, counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years and over in 2011 living in inner regional areas were consistent with the counts of those aged 50 years and over in 2006. While this could indicate a very low mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in these areas, it is more likely to be the result of an increase in propensity to identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. Mobility between Remoteness Areas may have also contributed to these higher than expected 2011 counts.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), By age cohort in 2011, Inner Regional Areas

Graph shows the age cohorts 5-14 years in 2011 contributed the largest increases to the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over living in inner regional areas, followed by those aged 35–44 years.



Outer Regional areas

The count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011 living in outer regional areas increased by 4,800 compared with 2006. Changes by age cohort in outer regional areas followed a similar pattern to those for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in inner regional areas. Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in 2011, children and youth aged 5-14 years and those aged 30-39 years in 2011 contributed the largest increases in counts (3,900 and 1,200 respectively). The count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the 2011 Census in outer regional areas was higher in 2011 than in 2006 for all five-year age groups up to and including 55-59 years, with the exception of those aged 15-24 years in 2011 which decreased by 1,800.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), By age cohort in 2011, Outer Regional Areas

Graph shows the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over in outer regional areas in 2011 was higher than in 2006 for all five-year age groups up to 60 years, with the exception of those aged 15–24 years in 2011.



Remote areas

There was a decrease of 4,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over living in remote areas in 2011 compared with 2006. All five-year age groups showed a decrease, with the largest decreases recorded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15-19 years (900) and 20-24 years (700) in 2011.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), By age cohort in 2011, Remote Areas

Graph shows decreases in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over living in remote areas in 2011 in all age groups, with the largest decreases among those aged 15-19 years and 20-24 years in 2011.



Very Remote areas

In very remote areas, there was a slight decrease (200 people) in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over between 2006 and 2011. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5-9 years and people aged 20-29 years in 2011 were the only age groups to show an increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in very remote areas compared with 2006.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE(a), By age cohort in 2011, Very Remote Areas
Graph shows the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over living in very remote areas in 2011 decreased for most age cohorts with the exception of those aged 5–9 years and 20–29 years in 2011.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

The increase in counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the 2011 Census can be largely attributed to an increase in counts in non-remote Australia, particularly major cities. People identifying as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in major cities accounted for 44% of the total increase, which was around the same proportion as that contributed by those in both inner and outer regional areas combined (45%). The large increase in major cities could be partially linked to increased numbers of people moving for education, employment or other opportunities. Further research should incorporate mobility and mortality considerations for a more complete assessment.