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First Peoples

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This paper provides a contemporary overview of the changing size and composition of Australia's Indigenous population.

The paper is structured around six key demographic and geographic features of the Indigenous population:

  • Age structure: The Indigenous population is relatively young;
  • Population change: The Indigenous population is increasing at a much faster rate than the non-Indigenous population;
  • Structural ageing: The Indigenous population is ageing and projected to age even faster over the next few decades;
  • Mobility: Indigenous Australians are more likely to be away from their place of usual residence at a given point in time and more likely to change their place of usual residence over a given time period;
  • Geography: The Indigenous population is much more likely to live in remote and very remote Australia relative to the non-Indigenous population but, in absolute terms, most Indigenous Australians live in urban or regional parts of the country; and
  • Urbanisation: The Indigenous population is becoming more urban and this pattern is likely to continue over the next few decades.

In the final section of the paper, some of the demographic, policy and socioeconomic impacts of the changing Indigenous population are discussed.

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