High rate of growth in Indigenous population

Australia’s Indigenous population is projected to exceed 700,000 by 2021, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is likely to reach between 713,000 and 721,100 people in 2021.

The figures are based on a number of assumptions about future demographic trends including recent figures on fertility, mortality and internal migration.

The Indigenous population is projected to increase by 2.2 per cent per year between 2006 and 2021. This is higher than the the annual growth rate of the total Australian population, with is between 1.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent per year.
According to the ABS, the higher growth rate is due to an increased number of Indigenous births. This is primarily a result of higher fertility levels and increased numbers of Indigenous women entering peak child-bearing ages.

The ABS also projected that in all states and territories the Indigenous population would continue to grow and by 2016, Queensland will overtake New South Wales as the state with the largest Indigenous population.

Key projections:

  • The number of Indigenous children (0 to 14 years) is projected to increase from 194,200 in 2006 to between 242,600 and 243,400 in 2021.
  • The number of Indigenous people aged between 25 and 54 years is projected to increase from 183,000 in 2006 to between 260,100 and 262,300 in 2021.
  • The number of Indigenous people aged 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 per cent of the Indigenous population in 2006 to 34 per cent in 2021.
  • The proportion of Indigenous persons aged 55 years and over will increase from 8 per cent to between 11 per cent and 12 per cent.

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