Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)1 data indicate that in 2006 there were just over half a million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Australia, representing 2.5% of the total population. More than a quarter reside in remote or very remote areas, compared with 2.3% of the nonindigenous population. Nearly one third (30%) of the Northern Territory population is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, followed by less than 4% in other states and territories (Table 1).

Table 1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia in 2006, national/state/territory (2006 ABS Census)

National/
state/
territory
Aboriginal
and Torres
Strait
Islander
population
Total
population
% of total population who
are Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islanders
By
jurisdiction
National
Australia
516 810
21 017 222
2.5
NT
64 005
214 975
29.8
12.4
Tas.
18 415
493 341
3.7
3.6
Qld
144 885
4 182 062
3.5
28.0
WA
70 966
2 105 783
3.4
13.7
NSW
152 685
6 889 072
2.2
29.5
SA
28 055
1 584 513
1.8
5.4
ACT
4 282
339 865
1.3
0.8
Vic.
33 517
5 205 216
0.6
6.5
There are significant differences in the age distributions of the Australian population by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. The 2006 ABS Census data report a much younger population profile for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with around 40% aged less than 15 years compared with 19% of the non-indigenous population. People aged 15 to 24 years comprised 19% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared with 14% in the non-indigenous population. Furthermore, the median age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 21 years compared with 37 years in the non-indigenous population. Recent figures from the ABS Census project that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population will reach between 713 300 and 721 100 in 2021, from its level of almost 517 000 in 2006. The projected increase of almost 40 per cent in the population aged less than 15 years has implications for the sexual health and wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. STI and BBV health service planning and delivery must acknowledge these realities and respond accordingly.

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census 2006.