Data and notes
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 peoples 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. 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.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) 2018–19 is the largest health survey of Indigenous Australians, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) between July 2018 and April 2019. This survey collected information about a range of topics including long-term health conditions, disability, lifestyle factors, physical harm and use of health services. It collected information from Indigenous Australians of all ages in non-remote and remote areas of Australia, including discrete Indigenous communities.
The NATSIHS included a sample of just over 10,500 Indigenous Australians from about 6,500 private dwellings. Physical measurements of height, weight and waist circumference were collected from respondents aged two years and over, except women who advised that they were pregnant, and was a voluntary component of the survey. Voluntary blood pressure measurements were also collected from respondents aged 18 years and over.
Selected non-Indigenous comparisons are available from the 2017–18 National Health Survey (NHS). Time series comparisons for some indicators are available from the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), 2012–13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (ATSIHS), 2008 NATSISS, 2004–05 NATSIHS, 2002 NATSISS, 2001 NHS and the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS).
Further information is available at National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) 2014–15 is the fourth social survey of Indigenous Australians conducted by the ABS from September 2014 to June 2015. Information was collected by personal interview from approximately 11,000 Indigenous Australians living in private dwellings in both non-remote and remote parts of Australia about a range of demographic, social, environmental and economic characteristics.
Where possible, the ABS provided recommendations for non-Indigenous data comparisons (such as the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey and the 2014 General Social Survey) and these have been adopted in this report. Further details are available at NATSISS 2014–15: Appendix 2. Time series comparisons for some indicators are available from the 2018–19 NATSIHS, 2012–13 AATSIHS, 2004–05 NATSIHS, 2002 and 2008 NATSISS and the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), although not all data elements align across the 3 surveys.
Further information is available at National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014–15
Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data collection contains information on services that qualify for a benefit under the Health Insurance Act 1973 and for which a claim has been processed. The database comprises information about MBS claims (including benefits paid), patients and service providers.
Through Medicare (MBS items 715 and 228), Indigenous Australians can receive Indigenous-specific health checks from their doctor, as well as referrals for Indigenous-specific follow-up services.
The aim of the Indigenous-specific health check is to encourage early detection and treatment of common conditions that cause ill health and early death—for example, diabetes and heart disease.
Further information is available on the AIHW website.