Notes on the data: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, age distribution

Aboriginal male/female/total usual resident population by sex and 5-year age group: 0-4 years to 65+ years; and broad age group: 0-14, 15-24, 25-44, 45-64, 65+, 70+, 85+years (Remoteness broad age groups only)

Policy context: In the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, 649,171 people (or 2.8% of the total Australian population) identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin [1]. Of this figure, 91% identify as Aboriginal, 5% were Torres Strait Islander and 4.1% reported being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin [2]: this population is referred to collectively here as ‘Aboriginal’ people. This represents an increase of 42.7% since the 2006 Census [3]; and reflects natural population increase (the excess of births over deaths) and other factors, including improvements in data collection methods especially in rural and remote areas and people newly identifying as Indigenous in the Census.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is considerably younger than the non-Indigenous population. In 2016, the median age for this population was 23 years, 15 years less than the national median age of 38 years [2]. More than one in three (34.0%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were aged less than 15 years, while just 4.8% were aged 65 years and over (and although very low, this is higher than in 2011, when the proportion was 3.8%). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is disadvantaged across all domains of wellbeing compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts [4].

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016 Census community profiles, Canberra: ABS; 2017, accessed 8 August 2017. Available from: www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/communityprofile/
  2. indigenous.gov.au, ABS: 2016 Census shows growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population; 2017, accessed 8 August 2017. Available from: www.indigenous.gov.au/news-and-media/announcements/abs-2016-census-shows-growing-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Media fact sheet: Census shows increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, Canberra: ABS; 2007, accessed 8 August 2017. Available from: www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Media release, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population nearing 700,000; Canberra: ABS; 2013, accessed 18 October 2013. Available from: www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/

Notes: The number excludes the 6.0% of the population who did not provide their Indigenous status: however, these records are included in the denominator

Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Remoteness Areas (5 year and broad age groups; also available by Indigenous Area (in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Health Atlas)

Numerator: Aboriginal male, female and total usual resident population by

  1. 5-year age group: 0-4 years to 65+ years and
  2. broad age group: 0-14, 15-24, 25-44, 45-64, 65+, 70+, 85+ (Remoteness Areas)

Denominator: Total Aboriginal males, females or persons, usual resident population

Detail of analysis: The age group as a percentage of the total Aboriginal population for males, for females and for persons

Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2016

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