Reliable estimation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population growth rates has not been possible with past census data. Because substantial advancement in census field procedures and improvement in coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has been achieved over the years, there was hope that the 1986-91 interval would yield reasonably accurate population growth rates. However, population figures now available from the 1991 Census show that this is not the case. There are variations in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander growth rates across the States and Territories, most of which cannot be justified in terms of intercensal natural increase and net migration during the intercensal period. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population increased at a rate of 3 per cent per year during the intercensal period 1986-91, whereas the expected growth rate was 2.5 per cent. While the Aboriginal population increased at a rate of 2.9 per cent, the Torres Strait Islander growth rate was 4.3 per cent. The data also show higher concentrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in metropolitan areas, but this has mainly occurred as a result of the reclassification of Townsville-Thuringowa locality from other urban to major urban.
ISBN: 0 7315 1723 7