Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia revealed as 2011 Census data is released

21 June 2012 | CO/63

A comprehensive snapshot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was revealed today as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the first results of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population on Census night was 548,370, with 32.9 per cent living in greater capital city areas.

The median age of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is 21 years, 16 less than the national median age of 37. More than one in three (35.9 per cent) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was aged less than 15 years, while just 3.8 per cent of the population were aged 65 years and over.

More than half (59.9 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders live in the Eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. There were 172,624 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in New South Wales, and 54,746 persons in Greater Sydney. There were 155,825 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland with 41,904 persons in Greater Brisbane.

Meanwhile, there were 69,665 and 56,779 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Western Australia and the Northern Territory respectively, while there were 37,991 in Victoria, 30,431 in South Australia, 19,625 in Tasmania, and 5,184 in the Australian Capital Territory.

2011 Census Executive Director, Andrew Henderson, said the 2011 Census provided an accurate and up-to-date picture of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“The ABS worked closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during the Census because we knew their local knowledge was critical to achieving an accurate count,” he said.

“We thank everyone involved for their support, and are now pleased to deliver the results back to these communities, and the nation.

“They will be used to help shape the future of Australia over the next five years, and help determine where services and infrastructure are needed.”

He said the high quality of the latest Census data is the result of better procedures, particularly in regional and remote areas, and more people identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

“An increase of 20.5 per cent more Australians identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander than in the 2006 Census,” he said.

Mr Henderson encouraged everyone to make use of Australia’s richest source of statistical data.

“Census data is available free online and can be used for a wide range of purposes. Our range of new, easy-to-use tools, including QuickStats, makes searching Census data quick and easy.”

Data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing is now available on the ABS website, and covers topics such as age, income, housing, education and ancestry. Visit www.abs.gov.au/census.