3238.0 - Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/09/2009   
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September 08, 2009



Australia's Indigenous population to exceed 700,000 by 2021

Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) population is projected to reach between 713,300 and 721,100 people in 2021, according to new figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

These figures are based on a series of assumptions which incorporate recent trends in Indigenous fertility, mortality and internal migration.

The Indigenous population of Australia is projected to grow by 2.2% per year between 2006 and 2021, compared with an annual growth rate of between 1.2% and 1.7% per year for the total Australian population.

The higher growth rate for the Indigenous population is due to large numbers of Indigenous births, mainly as a result of high levels of fertility in the Indigenous population and increasing numbers of Indigenous women entering peak child-bearing ages.

The number of Indigenous children (0–14 years) is projected to increase from 194,200 in 2006 to between 242,600 and 243,400 in 2021, while the number of Indigenous people aged 25–54 years is projected to increase from 183,000 in 2006 to between 260,100 and 262,300 in 2021.

The number of older Indigenous people (55 years and over) is projected to more than double, from 40,000 in 2006 to between 82,000 and 86,600 in 2021.

The median age of the Indigenous population is expected to increase from 21 years in 2006 to 24 years in 2021. The proportion of Indigenous children aged 0–14 years is projected to decline from 38% of the Indigenous population in 2006 to 34% in 2021, while the proportion of Indigenous persons aged 55 years and over will increase from 8% to between 11% and 12%.

The Indigenous populations of all states and territories will continue to grow. By 2016, Queensland is projected to overtake New South Wales as the state with the largest Indigenous population in Australia.

Further details are available in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0).

Media Notes:

The estimates and projections of the Australian Indigenous population presented in this publication are experimental. The inherent uncertainty in Indigenous census counts as well as the method of estimating net census undercount of the Indigenous population means the estimates should be interpreted with caution. The population projections are not intended as forecasts or predictions, but are illustrations of growth and change in the population that would occur if assumptions made about future demographic trends were to prevail over the projection period.

Total Australian population projections are sourced from Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).

When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.