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Indigenous population grew 2.3 per cent between 1991 and 1996

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Australian Bureau of Statistics

March 31 1998 36/98


Latest population estimates of Indigenous Australians released today by the_Australian Bureau of Statistics .record an average annual growth rate for the period 1991 to 1996 of 2?3 per cent, nearly double that for the total Australian population which grew at 1.2 per cent.

The estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population as at 30 June 1996 was 386,000, an increase of 40,700 since 30 June 1991. The 30 June 1996 estimate of the Indigenous population represents 2.1 per cent of the total Australian population.

New South Wales had the largest Indigenous population at 30 June 1996, with 109,900 or 28.5 per cent of the total Indigenous population, followed closely by Queensland with 104,800 (27.2 per cent). Western Australia (56,200) and the Northern Territory (51,900) also had large Indigenous populations which represented 14.6 per cent and 13.4 per cent of the total Indigenous population respectively. Victoria (22,600), South Australia (22,100), Tasmania (15,300) and the Australian Capital Territory (3,100) contained the smallest

Indigenous populations.

The Indigenous population in the Northern Territory comprised 28.5 per cent of the total Northern Territory population at 30 June 1996. This is the highest proportion of any State or Territory. The lowest was 0.5 per cent for Victoria. Proportions in other States and Territories were New South Wales (1.8 per cent), Queensland (3.1 per cent), South Australia (1.5 per cent), Western Australia and Tasmania (3.2 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (1.0 per cent).

The Indigenous population is much younger than the total Australian population. At 30 June 1996, Australia's Indigenous population had a median age (the age at which half the population is younger and half is older) of 20.1 years, about 14 years less than the total Australian population (34.0 years). The median age ranged from 19 years in Tasmania to 21.3 years in Victoria.

The life expectancy of Indigenous males (57 years) is 18 years less than for all Australian males (75 years) and, for Indigenous females (62 years), 19 years less than for all Australian females (81 years).

The proportion of the Indigenous population under 15 years of age was 40 per cent compared with 21 per cent for the total population. Persons aged 65 and over comprised 3 per cent of the Indigenous population and 12 per cent of the total population.

Further details are contained in Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population (Cat. No. 3230.0) available from ABS Bookshops. This release and a summary of the publication's main findings are available on the ABS Internet Home Page at

FURTHER INFORMATION: Media requests for comment and interviews Carolyn Verey (02)6252 6139 0418 202 580 Steve Dangaard (02) 6252 7480 0418 481 757 Statistical Clarification Tammy White (08) 8943 2193