Census of Population and Housing - Counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Latest release

2021, 2016 and 2011 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Census counts and age distributions for selected geographies and national counts to 1971.

Reference period
2021

Key statistics

  • 812,728 people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2021 – up from 649,171 in 2016
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 3.2% of the total population – up from 2.8% in 2016
  • Nearly two-thirds of people lived in NSW (34.2%) and Queensland (29.2%) in 2021

50 years since the 1971 Census

The 2021 Census marks 50 years since the 1971 Census – the first Census to include all Australians following the 1967 Referendum. The 1967 Referendum changed the Constitution to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be included in official Census population counts. 

In 1971, 115,993 people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in the Census. In 2021, that number grew to 812,728 people.

National snapshot

In 2021:

  • 812,728 people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – up from 649,171 in 2016. This represents a 25.2% increase
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 3.2% of the total population – up from 2.8% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2011.

Figure 1. Change in Census Counts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, 2011-2021

Figure 1. Change in Census Counts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, 2011-2021. In the 2011 Census, 548,368 people or 2.5% of the total population identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. In the 2016 Census, that number increased to 649,171 (2.8% of the total population). In the 2021 Census, 812,728 people or 3.2% of the total population identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Figure 1. Change in Census Counts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, 2011-2021

In the 2011 Census, 548,368 people or 2.5% of the total population identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. In the 2016 Census, that number increased to 649,171 (2.8% of the total population). In the 2021 Census, 812,728 people or 3.2% of the total population identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Indigenous status

Of the 812,728 people who identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in 2021:

  • 91.4% identified as Aboriginal
  • 4.2% identified as Torres Strait Islander
  • 4.4% identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Where people lived

Just over one-third (34.2%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in New South Wales in 2021. A further 29.2% lived in Queensland and 10.9% lived in Western Australia.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who lived in the Northern Territory decreased from 9.0% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2021.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in table 3.1 in ‘Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

State and Territory intercensal change

All states and territories recorded an increase in the number of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander between 2016 and 2021. The increases between 2016 and 2021 were larger than those recorded between 2011 and 2016.

Between 2016 and 2021, the largest increases were in:

  • Australian Capital Territory (up 37.5%)
  • Victoria (up 37.4%)
  • New South Wales (up 28.6%).
Table 1. Census counts and intercensal change by State/Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, 2011-2021
201120162021Change between 2011 and 2016Change between 2016 and 2021
(no.)(no.)(no.)(%)(%)
New South Wales172,625216,176278,04325.228.6
Victoria37,99247,78865,64625.837.4
Queensland155,826186,482237,30319.727.3
South Australia30,43234,18442,56212.324.5
Western Australia69,66475,97888,6939.116.7
Tasmania19,62523,57230,18620.128.1
Northern Territory56,77958,24861,1152.64.9
Australian Capital Territory5,1846,5088,94925.537.5
Australia(a)548,368649,171812,72818.425.2

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

  a. Includes Other Territories (Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in table 2 in ‘Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (less than 0.8 percentage points)
  • median age increased from 23 years to 24 years
  • the ratio of males to females was steady. In 2016 there were 98.5 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 98.7 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in table 4.1 in ‘Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

New South Wales

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in New South Wales (NSW) increased from 216,176 in 2016 to 278,043 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 3.4% of all people in NSW in 2021.

One-third (32.7%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW lived in Greater Sydney in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.0 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 22 years to 23 years
  • the ratio of males to females was steady. In 2016 there were 98.7 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 98.8 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in table 1.1 in ‘New South Wales’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 294 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in NSW in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 109 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 9 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The NSW ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Wollongong (6,945 people, up from 5,349 in 2016)
  • Maitland (6,739 people, up from 4,090 in 2016)
  • Wyong-North-East (6,610 people, up from 4,612 in 2016)
  • Tamworth (6,201 people, up from 4,640 in 2016).

The NSW IAREs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Blacktown (11,812 people, up from 9,526 in 2016)
  • Lake Macquarie (11,527 people, up from 7,882 in 2016)
  • Penrith (10,987 people, up from 7,785 in 2016)
  • Wyong (10,983 people, up from 7,896 in 2016).

There were three IAREs in NSW where more than one-quarter of people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander:

  • Brewarrina (52.1%, down from 61.5% in 2016)
  • Coonamble (34.0%, up from 30.2% in 2016)
  • Bourke (30.3%, down from 31.6% in 2016).

North-Western NSW (18.6%) and Dubbo (15.7%) IREGs reported the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in table 2.4 in ‘New South Wales’ from ‘Data downloads’

Local Government Areas

Of the 131 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in NSW in 2021², Central Coast (NSW) LGA had the highest number (17,047) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Brewarrina LGA had the largest proportion (51.4%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, most LGAs in NSW recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The increases were greatest in:

  • Camden (up 100.0% from 1,934 to 3,868 people)
  • Coolamon (up 78.1% from 137 to 244 people)
  • Strathfield (up 71.6% from 116 to 199 people).

Eleven LGAs in NSW recorded a decrease in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The decreases were greatest in:

  • Walgett (down 38.1% from 1,798 to 1,113 people)
  • Brewarrina (down 31.1% from 1,011 to 697 people)
  • Balranald (down 30.2% from 202 to 141 people).

Victoria

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria increased from 47,788 in 2016 to 65,646 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 1.0% of all people in Victoria in 2021.

Half (50.2%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria lived in Greater Melbourne in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.1 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 23 years to 24 years
  • the ratio of males to females increased. In 2016 there were 97.8 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 100.2 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in table 1.1 in ‘Victoria’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 91 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in Victoria in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 41 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 4 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The Victorian ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Geelong – Queenscliff (3,572 people, up from 2,415 in 2016)
  • Shepparton (2,699 people, up from 2,193 in 2016)
  • Mildura (2,621 people, up from 2,065 in 2016).

The Victorian IAREs with the largest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Mildura (4.6%, up from 3.8% in 2016)
  • Swan Hill (4.5%, up from 4.0% in 2016)
  • Campaspe – Shepparton – Moira (3.3%, up from 2.7% in 2016).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.3 in ‘Victoria’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Just over half (51.0%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in the Victoria (excluding Melbourne) IREG and 48.3% lived in Melbourne IREG. The remainder (0.7%) were in migratory-offshore-shipping and no-usual address special purpose codes.

Local Government Areas

Of the 82 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Victoria in 2021²:

  • Greater Geelong LGA had the highest number (3,562) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Mildura LGA had the largest proportion (4.6%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, all LGAs in Victoria recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The increases were greatest in:

  • Golden Plains (up 84.3% from 204 to 376 people)
  • Strathbogie (up 83.2% from 113 to 207 people)
  • Mansfield (up 76.2% from 63 to 111 people)
  • Melton (up 65.1% from 1,286 to 2,123 people)
  • Mitchell (up 65.1% from 650 to 1,073 people).

Queensland

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland increased from 186,482 in 2016 to 237,303 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 4.6% of all people in Queensland in 2021.

One-third (32.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland lived in Greater Brisbane in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.0 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 22 years to 23 years
  • the ratio of males to females was steady. In 2016 there were 97.7 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 97.4 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘Queensland’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 206 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in Queensland in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 87 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 10 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The Queensland ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Logan - Surrounds (8,989 people, up from 5,561 in 2016)
  • Ipswich (7,758 people, up from 5,423 in 2016)
  • Thuringowa (7,570 people, up from 6,114 in 2016)
  • Townsville (7,375 people, up from 5,915 in 2016).

The Queensland IAREs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Brisbane City (22,940 people, up from 17,074 in 2016)
  • Cairns (15,728 people, up from 13,706 in 2016)
  • Logan (14,520 people, up from 9,817 in 2016)
  • Gold Coast (13,593 people, up from 9,283 in 2016).

There were 12 IAREs in Queensland where most people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. These include:

  • Cherbourg (96.4%, down from 98.4% in 2016)
  • Yarrabah (95.9%, down from 97.3% in 2016)
  • Kulkalgal - Central Islands (92.4%, down from 95.6% in 2016)
  • Palm Island (91.4%, down from 93.9% in 2016).

The Torres Strait (80.9%) and Cape York (51.7%) IREGs reported the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.4 in ‘Queensland’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Local Government Areas

Of the 80 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Queensland in 2021²:

  • Brisbane LGA had the highest number (22,940) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Cherbourg LGA had the largest proportion (96.4%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, most LGAs in Queensland recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The increases were greatest in:

  • Flinders (Qld.) (up 70.7% from 99 people to 169)
  • Croydon (up 61.7% from 47 people to 76)
  • Gladstone (up 57.7% from 2,503 people to 3,946)
  • Isaac (up 56.5% from 744 people to 1,164).

Nineteen LGAs in Queensland recorded a small decrease in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The decreases were greatest in:

  • Quilpie (down 35.8% from 134 people to 86)
  • Winton (down 24.1% from 108 to 82 people)
  • Pormpuraaw (down 24.0% from 630 people to 479).

The Torres Strait Region

The Torres Strait Region is part of Queensland (see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)). It includes 20 communities divided into five traditional Island groups and two Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) communities:

  • Inner Islands
  • Top Western Islands
  • Western Islands
  • Central Islands
  • Eastern Islands
  • Bamaga and surrounds (NPA community)
  • Seisia (NPA community).

 For a map of the Region, see Torres Strait Regional Authority, Regional Map.

Over half (57.9%) of people living in the Torres Strait Region identified as Torres Strait Islander in 2021. A further 20.4% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and 1.8% identified as Aboriginal.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 4.1 in ‘Queensland’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Just over one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region lived in the Inner Islands (36.2%, up from 35.0% in 2016). The Inner Islands includes: Hammond Island, Horn Island, Muralag and Inner Islands, Port Kennedy (Thursday Island) and TRAWQ (Thursday Island).

A further 17.1% lived in the Western Islands. The Western Islands includes: Badu Island, Kubin (Moa Island), Mabuiag Island and St Pauls (Moa Island).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 4.1 in ‘Queensland’ from ‘Data downloads’.

South Australia

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia (SA) increased from 34,184 in 2016 to 42,562 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 2.4% of all people in SA in 2021.

Over half (55.8%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in SA lived in Greater Adelaide in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.0 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 23 years to 24 years
  • the ratio of males to females increased slightly. In 2016 there were 97.7males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 98.7 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘South Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 89 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in South Australia in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 34 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 5 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The SA ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Port Augusta – Central (1,702 people, up from 1,433 in 2016)
  • Onkaparinga – Central North (1,637 people, up from 1,335 in 2016)
  • Playford – Elizabeth (1,624 people, up from 1,296 in 2016).

The SA IAREs with the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2021 were:

  • Anangu Pitjantjatjara (88.5%, up from 83.7%% in 2016)
  • Ceduna (24.8%, up from 21.7% in 2016)
  • Port Augusta (20.4%, up from 18.3% in 2016).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.3 in ‘South Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Nearly three-quarters (73.4%%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in the Adelaide IREG. A further 19.5% lived in the Port Augusta and 6.2% lived in Port Lincoln – Ceduna. The remainder (0.9%) were in migratory-offshore-shipping and no-usual address special purpose codes.

Local Government Areas

Of the 73 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in SA in 2021²:

  • Playford LGA had the highest number (4,210) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkunytjatjara LGA had the largest proportion (88.5%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, most LGAs in SA recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The increases were greatest in:

  • Northern Areas (up 84.9% from 73 to 135 people)
  • Grant (up 82.9% from 129 to 236 people)
  • Roxby Downs (up 70.7% from 116 to 198 people)
  • Clare and Gilbert Valleys (up 70.4% from 108 to 184 people).

Western Australia

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia (WA) increased from 75,978 in 2016 to 88,693 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 3.3% of all people in WA in 2021.

Almost half (47.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in WA lived in Greater Perth in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (0.9 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 23 years to 24 years
  • the ratio of males to females increased. In 2016 there were 100.2 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 101.7 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘Western Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 218 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in WA in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 71 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 10 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The WA ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Mandurah (2,771 people, up from 1,846 in 2016)
  • South Hedland (2,454 people, up from 1,904 in 2016)
  • Kalgoorlie (2,228 people, up from 2,137 in 2016).

The WA IAREs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Swan (5,170 people, up from 3,662 in 2016)
  • Geraldton (3,736 people, up from 3,585 in 2016)
  • Rockingham (3,579 people, up from 2,552 in 2016).

The WA IAREs with the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2021 were:

  • Fitzroy River (92.6% people, up from 90.8% in 2016)
  • Kalumburu (88.4% people, down from 90.5% in 2016)
  • Warburton (84.3% people, unchanged from 84.7% in 2016).

West Kimberley (60.2%) and Kununurra (48.0%) IREGs reported the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.4 in ‘Western Australia’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Local Government Areas

Of the 139 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in WA in 2021²:

  • Swan LGA had the highest number (5,302) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Ngaanyatjaraku LGA had the largest proportion (84.5%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, nearly two-thirds of LGAs in WA recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. There were notable increases in:

  • Dardanup (up 74.0% from 250 to 435 people)
  • Iriwn (up 73.8% from 84 to 146 people)
  • Perth (up 70.6% from 211 to 360 people)
  • Serpentine-Jarrahdale (up 69.1% from 544 to 920 people).

Forty-one LGAs in WA recorded a decrease in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. There were notable decreases in:

  • Menzies (down 50.25% from 223 to 111 people)
  • Upper Gascoyne (down 42.1% from 164 to 95 people)
  • Morawa (down 41.9% from 124 to 72 people).

Tasmania

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Tasmania increased from 23,572 in 2016 to 30,186 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 5.4% of all people in Tasmania in 2021.

Just over one-third (37.2%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Tasmania lived in Greater Hobart in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.5 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 24 years to 25 years
  • the ratio of males to females decreased slightly. In 2016 there were 96.5 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 95.7 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘Tasmania’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 36 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in Tasmania in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 13 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 3 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The Tasmanian ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Launceston (2,839 people, up from 2,275 in 2016)
  • Glenorchy (2,708 people, up from 2,250 in 2016)
  • Clarence (2,617 people, up from 1,937 in 2016).

The Tasmanian IAREs with the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2021 were:

  • Huon Valley (10.2%, up from 9.2% in 2016)
  • Tasmania – West Coast (9.8%, up from 8.5% in 2016)
  • Central Coast – Devonport (7.9%, up from 6.6% in 2016).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.3 in ‘Tasmania’ from ‘Data downloads’

Almost all (99.5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in the Tasmania IREG. The remainder (0.5%) were in migratory-offshore-shipping and no-usual address special purpose codes.

Local Government Areas

Of the 31 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Tasmania in 2021²:

  • Launceston LGA had the highest number (2,873) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Circular Head LGA had the largest proportion (17.3%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Between 2016 and 2021, almost all LGAs in Tasmania recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The increases were greatest in:

  • Derwent Valley (up 55.0% from 467 to 724 people)
  • Latrobe (Tas.) (up 46.0% from 533 to 778 people)
  • Dorset (up 44.3% from 192 to 277 people)
  • Brighton (up 42.7% from 1,544 to 2,204 people).

Northern Territory

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Northern Territory (NT) increased from 58,248 in 2016 to 61,115 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 26.3% of all people in the NT in 2021.

Nearly one-quarter (23.8%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT lived in Greater Darwin in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.0 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 25 years to 26 years
  • the ratio of males to females decreased slightly. In 2016 there were 100.0 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 98.4 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘Northern Territory’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 189 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in the Northern Territory in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 64 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 9 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The NT ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Maningrida (2,297 people, up from 2,064 in 2016)
  • Galiwinku (2,027 people, up from 1,970 in 2016)
  • Katherine exc. Town Camps (1,927 people, up from 1,581 in 2016).

The NT IAREs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Palmerston (4,844 people, up from 3,809 in 2016)
  • Alice exc. Town Camps (4,288 people, up from 3,377 in 2016)
  • Maningrida and Outstations (2,664 people, up from 2,368 in 2016).

There were 30 IAREs in the NT where most people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The IAREs with highest proportion were:

  • Alice Springs Town Camps (96.2% people, down from 95.0% in 2016)
  • Alpurrutulam (95.7%, up from 92.1% in 2016)
  • Laynhapuy – Gumatj Homelands (95.5%, down from 97.4% in 2016).

Jabiru - Tiwi (77.7%) and Apatula (78.0%) IREGs reported the highest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2.4 in ‘Northern Territory’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Local Government Areas

Of the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the NT in 2021²:

  • East Arnhem LGA had the highest number (7,893) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • All people in Belyuen LGA identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The next LGA with the largest proportion of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander was East Arnhem (89.9%).

Between 2016 and 2021, nearly half of all LGAs in NT recorded an increase in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. There were notable increases in

  • Palmerston (up 27.3% from 3,809 to 4,844 people)
  • Alice Springs (up 22.5% from 4,361 to 5,343 people)
  • Darwin (up 20.2% from 5,828 to 7,003 people).

Ten LGAs in NT recorded a decrease in people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. There were notable decreases were in:

  • Coomalie (down 17.9% from 319 to 262 people)
  • East Arnhem (down 6.5% from 8,439 to 7,893 people).

Australian Capital Territory

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) increased from 6,508 in 2016 to 8,949 in 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 2.0% of all people in the ACT in 2021.

Age and sex profile

Between 2016 and 2021:

  • there were minor changes in the age distribution. All age groups reported very small changes (1.5 percentage points or less)
  • median age increased from 23 years to 24 years
  • the ratio of males to females increased. In 2016 there were 101.0 males per 100 females. In 2021 there were 103.1 males per 100 females.

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016 and 2021.

Data available in 1.1 in ‘Australian Capital Territory’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions

There are 8 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) in the ACT in the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure. These ILOCs combine to form 5 Indigenous Areas (IAREs) which combine to form 3 Indigenous Regions (IREGs)¹.

The ACT ILOCs with the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021 were:

  • Tuggeranong (2,728 people, up from 2,088 in 2016)
  • Belconnen (2,207 people, up from 1,611 in 2016)
  • Narrabundah – Weston (1,358 people, up from 1,181 in 2016)
  • Gungahlin (1,434 people, up from 948 in 2016).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011,2016 and 2021.

Data available in 2.2 in ‘Australian Capital Territory’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Almost all (99.5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in the Tasmania IREG. The remainder (0.5%) were in migratory-offshore-shipping and no-usual address special purpose codes.

Empowered Communities Regions

Empowered Communities is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led initiative that involves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and governments working together to set priorities, improve services and apply funding effectively at a regional level. It spans ten regions across urban, regional and remote Australia:

  • Cape York, Queensland
  • Central Coast, New South Wales
  • East Kimberley, Western Australia
  • Far West Coast, South Australia
  • Goulburn-Murray, Victoria
  • Inner Sydney, New South Wales
  • Ngarrindjeri, South Australia
  • North East Arnhem Land (NEAL), Northern Territory
  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands, Central Australia
  • West Kimberley, Western Australia

See Empowered Communities for further information.

The Central Coast Empowered Community Region had the highest number (17,272) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander followed by Inner Sydney (12,050 people) and Cape York (10,027 people).

Table 2. Census counts by sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons in Empowered Communities Regions, 2021
MalesFemalesTotalSex ratio(a)
(no.)(no.)(no.)(%)
Cape York4,9175,11110,02796.2
Central Coast8,5088,76517,27297.1
East Kimberley2,5562,7625,31992.5
Far West Coast SA5856391,21991.5
Goulburn Murray3,7063,8517,55896.2
Inner Sydney6,1005,95212,050102.5
Ngarrindjeri1,0579882,048107
North East Arnhem Land3,8984,0377,93696.6
NPY Lands2,0762,2684,34491.5
West Kimberley4,5164,5719,08298.8

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

  a. Sex ratio is the number of males per 100 females. The formula for calculating the sex ratio is: (number of males / number of females)*100.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 2 and 3 in ‘Empowered Communities Regions’ from ‘Data downloads’.

The ratio of males to females varied in each region. In Far West Coast SA and NPY lands there were 91.5 males per 100 females and in Ngarrindjeri there were 107.0 males per 100 females.

The North East Arnhem Land Empowered Community Region had the highest proportion (86.1%) of people who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander followed by NPY Lands (74.5%) and East Kimberley (48.0%).

Data is based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2021.

Data available in 1 in ‘Empowered Communities Regions’ from ‘Data downloads’.

Age profile

There was slight variation in the age distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Empowered Communities Regions:

  • The Central Coast had the highest proportion of children aged 0-4 years (11.4%) followed by Goulburn Murray (11.1%). North East Arnhem Land (7.6%) and NPY Lands (8.0%) had the lowest
  • Goulburn Murray and Inner Sydney had the highest proportion of older people aged 75 years and over (2.5% respectively). Far West Coast SA and North East Arnhem Land had the lowest (0.9% respectively)
  • Inner Sydney had the highest median age of 28 years. Central Coast and Goulburn Murray had the youngest median age (23 years).

Age and sex distributions for each Empowered Community Region is available in ‘Empowered Communities’ in the Data Downloads section.

References

¹ Each level of the 2021-2026 Indigenous Structure includes two special purpose codes: Migratory-offshore-shipping and no usual address. These special purpose codes do not have a spatial value but are counted in the overall number of IREGs, IAREs and ILOCs. For further information on these codes, see special purpose codes in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3.

² The overall number of LGAs includes two special purpose codes: Migratory-offshore-shipping and no usual address. These special purpose codes do not have a spatial value. For further information on these codes, see special purpose codes in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3.

Available data

Information used in this publication is available in the Data Downloads section. Please see the table below for information about how to locate this information in the Data Downloads.

For more Census data, see Find Census data.

Australia

Topic

Disaggregations

Census years

Table

Census counts

Australia

1971, 1976, 1981, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021

1

Census counts and intercensal change

State/Territory, Indigenous Status

2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021

2

Census counts, Place of Usual Residence

State/Territory, Indigenous Status

2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021

3.1

Census counts, Place of Enumeration

State/Territory, Indigenous Status

2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021

3.2

Census counts, age and sexAge (including median age), Sex2011, 2016 and 2021

4.1

4.2

States and Territory

Available data for New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory:

Topic

Disaggregations

Census years

Table

Census counts, State/Territory

Age (including median age), sex

2011, 2016 and 2021

1.1

Sex ratio

Age, sex

2011, 2016 and 2021

1.2

Census counts, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Indigenous StructureAustralian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Indigenous Structure, Indigenous Status2011, 2016 and 2021

2.1 (Indigenous Structure Overview)

2.2 (Indigenous Locations)

2.3 (Indigenous Areas)

2.4 (Indigenous Regions)

Census counts, Local Government AreasLocal Government Areas, Indigenous Status2011, 2016 and 2021

3.1 (2011)

3.2 (2016)

3.3 (2021)

Census counts, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, Indigenous Status

2011, 2016 and 2021

4

Available data for Queensland:

Topic

Disaggregations

Census years

Table

Census counts, State/Territory

Age (including median age), sex

2011, 2016 and 2021

1.1

Sex ratio

Age, sex

2011, 2016 and 2021

1.2

Census counts, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Indigenous StructureAustralian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Indigenous Structure, Indigenous Status2011, 2016 and 2021

2.1 (Indigenous Structure Overview)

2.2 (Indigenous Locations)

2.3 (Indigenous Areas)

2.4 (Indigenous Regions)

Census counts, Local Government AreasLocal Government Areas, Indigenous Status2011, 2016 and 2021

3.1 (2011)

3.2 (2016)

3.3 (2021)

Census counts by Indigenous Status, Torres Strait Region

Torres Strait Region

2011, 2016 and 2021

4.1

Census counts, Torres Strait Islander persons, Torres Strait Region

Torres Strait Region

2011, 2016 and 2021

4.2

Census counts, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, Indigenous Status

2011, 2016 and 2021

5

Empowered Communities

Topic

Disaggregations

Census years

Table

Census counts by Indigenous status

Indigenous Status

2021

1

Census counts

Age (including median age), sex

2021

2

Sex ratio

Age, sex

2021

3

Data downloads

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 2075.0.

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