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People and communities

Data and notes

Data sources

Census of Population and Housing (Census)

The Census is carried out every 5 years. It includes the standard Indigenous status question, which is asked for each household member. The Census form may be completed by one household member on behalf of others.

The 2016 Census was Australia's 17th national Census of Population and Housing, and the first to take a digital-first approach. With more than 95% of Australians participating, the 2016 Census showed a growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 2.8 per cent of the population counted – up from 2.5 per cent in 2011, and 2.3 per cent in 2006.

Following each Census, population projections for years after the Census and back cast population estimates for the years before the Census are prepared based on the new information and a set of assumptions about mortality, fertility and migration. Three series of projections are produced representing combinations of assumptions resulting in high, medium and low population growth.

Further information about the nature of the Census is available at Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016.

Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Estimated resident population (ERP) is the official measure of the population of Australia, based on the concept of usual residence within Australia. Usual residence is that place where each person has lived or intends to live for six months or more from the reference date for data collection.

The estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population presented are based on 2016 Census of Population and Housing counts of Indigenous Australians, adjusted for net undercount as measured by the Post Enumeration Survey. The extent of undercoverage of Indigenous Australians in the 2016 Census and the relatively small sample size of the Post Enumeration Survey to adjust for that undercoverage means the estimates should be interpreted with a degree of caution.

More information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates from the 2016 Census is available at Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Data tables

People and communities - Data tables