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Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Contains 2016 Census-based final estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians for various geographies

Reference period
June 2016

Key statistics

  • There were 798,400 Indigenous people in Australia in 2016. 
  • Three quarters of Indigenous population lived in NSW, Qld and WA combined. 
  • Median age of Indigenous population 20.3 years, Non-Indigenous population 37.8 years.
  • The Indigenous population increased by 19% during 2011-2016. 

Main features

Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

This publication presents the final population estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as at 30 June 2016 for various geographies, replacing the national, state and territory preliminary estimates released on 27 September 2017 in Australian Demographic Statistics, March Quarter 2017 (cat. no. 3101.0). Estimates are disaggregated by age (5-year age groups, with some single year of age data available) and sex for state and territory, Remoteness Areas and Indigenous Regions. Only total person estimates for Statistical Areas Level 2 are available. 

The final estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia as at 30 June 2016 was 798,400 people, or 3.3% of the total Australian population. This population estimate represents a 19% increase in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates from the estimate of 669,900 for 30 June 2011. The size of this increase cannot be explained by demographic factors alone and will be explored in the upcoming publication Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counts Between 2011 and 2016 (cat. no. 2077.0) to be released October, 2018.

​​​​​​​Indigenous status (individual categories)

Among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in 2016, 91% of people (727,500 people) identified as being of Aboriginal origin only, 5% (38,700) were of Torres Strait Islander origin only, and 4% (32,200) were of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

Estimated resident population, Indigenous status, 30 June 2016

 Aboriginal onlyTorres Strait Islander onlyBoth Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderTotal Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait IslanderNon-IndigenousTotal
 no.no.no.no.no.no.
NSW
254,842
5,888
4,955
265,685
7,467,173
7,732,858
Vic.
54,044
2,350
1,373
57,767
6,115,405
6,173,172
Qld
176,910
24,873
19,493
221,276
4,623,876
4,845,152
SA
40,393
1,115
757
42,265
1,670,578
1,712,843
WA
96,497
1,882
2,133
100,512
2,455,466
2,555,978
Tas.
26,152
1,322
1,063
28,537
488,977
517,514
NT
71,288
1,020
2,238
74,546
171,132
245,678
ACT
7,113
196
204
7,513
395,591
403,104
Aust.(a)
727,485
38,660
32,220
798,365
23,392,542
24,190,907
a. Includes Other Territories.
 

Age structure

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2016 had a younger age structure than the non-Indigenous population, with larger proportions of young people and smaller proportions of older people.This is reflective of higher fertility rates as well as higher mortality rates than the Non-Indigenous population. The median age of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2016 was 23.0 years, compared to 37.8 years for the Non-Indigenous population.

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States and territories

Of the states and territories, the largest populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians lived in New South Wales (265,700 people) and Queensland (221,400 people). The smallest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians lived in The Australian Capital Territory (7,500 people). In 2016, about three quarters of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population lived in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia combined.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians comprised 30% of the population of the Northern Territory, the highest proportion of any state or territory.

Estimated resident population, Indigenous status, 30 June 2016

 Estimated resident populationMedian age
 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait IslanderNon-IndigenousAboriginal and/or Torres Strait IslanderNon-Indigenous
 no.%no.%yearsyears
Males
NSW
132,708
3.5
3,701,099
96.5
21.8
37.3
Vic.
28,805
0.9
3,022,251
99.1
22.4
36.2
Qld
109,991
4.6
2,293,182
95.4
21.4
37.1
SA
20,927
2.5
825,950
97.5
22.1
39.3
WA
50,217
3.9
1,231,751
96.1
23.3
36.3
Tas.
14,164
5.5
242,049
94.5
22.2
42.0
NT
37,668
29.5
90,008
70.5
25.2
35.4
ACT
3,802
1.9
195,978
98.1
22.7
34.5
Aust.(a)
398,413
3.3
11,604,626
96.7
22.3
37.0
Females
NSW
132,977
3.4
3,766,074
96.6
23.4
39.1
Vic.
28,962
0.9
3,093,154
99.1
23.2
38.1
Qld
111,285
4.6
2,330,694
95.4
22.7
38.6
SA
21,338
2.5
844,628
97.5
23.4
41.4
WA
50,295
3.9
1,223,715
96.1
24.3
37.6
Tas.
14,373
5.5
246,928
94.5
24.5
44.1
NT
36,878
31.3
81,124
68.7
27.0
34.4
ACT
3,711
1.8
199,613
98.2
24.4
35.9
Aust.(a)
399,952
3.3
11,787,916
96.7
23.7
38.7
Persons
NSW
265,685
3.4
7,467,173
96.6
22.6
38.2
Vic.
57,767
0.9
6,115,405
99.1
22.8
37.1
Qld
221,276
4.6
4,623,876
95.4
22.0
37.9
SA
42,265
2.5
1,670,578
97.5
22.8
40.3
WA
100,512
3.9
2,455,466
96.1
23.8
36.9
Tas.
28,537
5.5
488,977
94.5
23.3
43.1
NT
74,546
30.3
171,132
69.7
26.0
34.9
ACT
7,513
1.9
395,591
98.1
23.5
35.1
Aust.(a)
798,365
3.3
23,392,542
96.7
23.0
37.8
a. Includes Other Territories.
 

Remoteness Areas

At 30 June 2016, over one-third of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in Major Cities of Australia (298,400 people), compared with around three-quarters of the Non-Indigenous population (17,013,400). A further 189,400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (24%) and 4,153,900 Non-Indigenous people (18%) lived in Inner Regional Australia.

There were 161,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (20%) who lived in Outer Regional Australia compared with 1,879,100 Non-Indigenous people (8.0%). The 53,500 remaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (7%) lived in Remote Australia and Very Remote Australia (95,200 or 12.0%), while 239,900 Non-Indigenous people (1.0%) lived in Remote Australia and 106,300 or 0.5% in very remote Australia.

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, Remoteness Areas, 30 June 2016

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderNon-IndigenousTotal
Remoteness Areas%%%
Major Cities
37.4
72.7
71.6
Inner Regional
23.7
17.8
18.0
Outer Regional
20.3
8.0
8.4
Remote
6.7
1.0
1.2
Very Remote
11.9
0.5
0.8

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Data downloads

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous population, states and territories - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous population, Indigenous regions - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous population, states and territories, Remoteness Areas - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, SA2 - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous status (individual categories) - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, Remoteness Areas, single year of age - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, states and territories, single year of age - 30 June 2016

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, Local Government Areas - 30 June 2016

History of changes

Show all

1/4/2020 - Data cubes 4 and 7 have been updated to correct errors in previously published data.

29/11/2019 - Datacube 1 - 'Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Non-Indigenous populations, States and Territories', has been updated to correct for a minor error that was published on 31 August 2018.

15/01/2019 - Datacube 5 'Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous status (Individual categories), has been updated to correct for a minor error that was published on 31 August 2018.

18/08/2018 - Main features section of the publication requires updating to match data in the updated datacubes re-released on 13 September 2018.

13/09/2018 - 5 datacubes containing Remoteness, Indigenous Regions and Local Government Areas have been updated to correct for errors in data published on 31 August 2018.

06/09/2018 - 5 datacubes relating to IREG, LGA and Remoteness geographies have been temporarily removed for remediation.