Notes on the data: Indigenous status by age
2020 estimated resident Aboriginal population as a percentage of the total Australian population, by 5-year age group: 0-4 years to 65+ years
Policy context: The proportions of the population identifying as Aboriginal in the 2016 Census vary greatly by location, from 25.5% in the Northern Territory to 0.8% in Victoria. Aboriginal people represent the largest proportion of the populations in Greater Darwin (8.7%) and in the remainder of the Northern Territory (51.0%). The next largest proportions were in Queensland, with 6.4% outside of the major urban centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville; and 6.2% outside of the major urban centres in New South Wales (Greater Sydney, Illawarra, and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie) .
However, the largest numbers of people identifying as Aboriginal in the 2016 Census were in New South Wales (216,176, with 92,400 in Greater Sydney, Illawarra, and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and 122,924 in the remainder of New South Wales); and in Queensland (186,482, with 81,667 in Greater Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville, and 104,011 in the remainder of Queensland). The populations in Darwin and in the remainder of the Northern Territory were 11,960 and 45,590, respectively .
Using an updated estimated resident population for 2020 (see Notes below), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is considerably younger than the non-Indigenous population. In 2020, the median age for this population was 23 years, 14 years less than the national median age of 37 years for the non-Indigenous population . One in three (33.6%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were estimated to be aged less than 15 years, while just 5.1% 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 .
- 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/
- 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: There is a substantial difference between the Census count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the estimated resident population (ERP), adjusted for net undercount as measured by the Post Enumeration Survey undertaken by the ABS (the (Aboriginal) ERP is 17.5% higher for Australia than the Census count). Given this difference, and as the ABS has not released Aboriginal ERP by age at the Indigenous Area (IARE) level used in the Social Health Atlases, PHIDU produces updated estimated resident population by age and sex for years after 2016. These updates are of particular importance for the calculation of percentages by age group, or attending preschool, or of rates of hospitalisation, mortality etc.
Method of calculation: The ERP for June 2016 for Aboriginal populations is available from the ABS for Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2, total population only): PHIDU concorded the SA2 populations to produce a 2016 ERP for each IARE (total population only). The ERP for 2016 is available by Indigenous Region (IREG), by 5-year age group. To produce estimated resident populations by age group for each IARE, PHIDU applied the proportional age distribution from the Census counts (usual resident population) in each IARE to the ERP total for the IARE. The 2016 estimated counts were then used as a base to project estimates for 2020 using the ABS projected population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Indigenous Regions, 2011-2026.
Geography: Data available by Indigenous Area and Indigenous Remoteness Areas (also available in the Social Health Atlas of Australia by Statistical Areas Level 2, Population Health Area, Primary Health Network and Local Government Area)
Numerator: Aboriginal usual resident population by 5-year age group: 0-4 years to 65+ years
Denominator: Total population by 5-year age group: 0-4 years to 65+ years
Detail of analysis: Aboriginal usual resident population in 5-year age groups as a percentage of the total population
Source: Developed by PHIDU, using the method as noted above