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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 
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spacing1What details do we know about the Indigenous population?

Based on information from the 2011 Census, the ABS estimates that there were 698,583 Indigenous people living in Australia in 2013 [1]. NSW had the largest number of Indigenous people, and the NT had the highest percentage of Indigenous people. Indigenous people made up 3% of the total Australian population. For more details on the Indigenous population in each state and territory see the table below.

Table 1: Estimated Indigenous population, by state/territory and Australia, 30 June 2013
State/territoryNumber of Indigenous peopleProportion (%) of Indigenous population living in that state/territoryProportion (%) of state/territory population that are Indigenous
Source: ABS, 2014 [1]
NSW 216,612 31 2.9
Vic 49,715 7.1 0.9
Qld 198,206 28 4.3
WA 91,898 13 3.6
SA 38,981 5.6 2.3
Tas 25,269 3.6 4.9
ACT 6,517 0.9 1.7
NT 71,111 10 30
Australia 698,583 100 3.0

In 2011, around one-third of Indigenous people lived in major cities [2].

The number of Indigenous people counted in the 2011 Census was much higher than the number counted in the 2006 Census [3][4]. This could be because:

In 2011, 90% of Indigenous people identified as Aboriginal, 6% identified as Torres Strait Islanders, and 4% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander [2].

The Indigenous population is much younger overall than the non-Indigenous population (see Figure 1). In 2011, more than one-third of Indigenous people were aged less than 15 years, compared with one-fifth of non-Indigenous people [5][6]. Almost 4% of Indigenous people were aged 65 years or over, compared with 14% of non-Indigenous people.

Figure 1 is a population pyramid; it shows a comparison of the age profiles of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations [7]. The bars show the percentage of the total population that falls within each age group. The general shapes of the Indigenous and the non-Indigenous pyramids are different. The Indigenous pyramid is wide at the bottom (younger age-groups) and narrow at the top (older age-groups); this shape shows that the Indigenous population is a young population. The non-Indigenous pyramid has a more even spread of ages through the population.

Figure 1. Population pyramid of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, 2011

Population pyramid of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, 2011

Source: ABS, 2012 [7]

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) Estimates and projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Census of population and housing - counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2011. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  3. Biddle N (2012) CAEPR Indigenous population project 2011 census papers: population and age structure. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
  4. Biddle N (2013) CAEPR Indigenous population project 2011 census papers: population projections. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010) Population characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 (reissue). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) Experimental estimates and projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 1991 to 2021. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  7. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Australian demographic statistics, March quarter 2012. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
 
Last updated: 25 September 2014
 
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