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The Australian National University

Indigenous Population

Indigenous Population Project

Indigenous Population Project Series: 2011 Census Papers

In this series, authors from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) document the changing composition and distribution of a range of Indigenous outcomes using recently released 2011 Census data. The analysis in the series was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) through the Strategic Research Project as well as FaHCSIA and State/Territory governments through the Indigenous Populations Project.


The Indigenous Population Project has its genesis in a CAEPR report commissioned by the Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (MCATSIA) in 2005. The aim of the paper (published as CAEPR Discussion Paper No. 283) was to synthesise findings from a wide variety of regional and community-based demographic studies. What emerged was the identification of demographic 'hot spots'-particular Indigenous population dynamics in particular regions that give rise to issues of public policy concern. These trends spatially align with specific categories of place that transcend State and Territory boundaries. The 'hot spots' coalesce around several structural settings including city suburbs, regional towns, town camps, remote Indigenous towns, and outstations, as opposed to the more formal regionalised or jurisdictional spatial configurations that have tended to guide and inform Indigenous policy development.

Recognising that the structural circumstances facing Indigenous populations are locationally dispersed in this way, MCATSIA has established an enhanced research capacity at CAEPR over three years to further explore the dynamics and regional geography of Indigenous population and socioeconomic change.

This research activity commenced in late 2007 and is constructed around four discrete yet overlapping projects:

  • a detailed regional analysis of relative and absolute change in Indigenous social indicators
  • an assessment of social and spatial mobility among Indigenous metropolitan populations
  • case-study analyses of multiple disadvantage in select city neighbourhoods and regional centres
  • the development of conceptual and methodological approaches to the measurement of short term mobility.

CAEPR publications related to these projects are co-badged with MCATSIA and released as part of the CAEPR Working Paper Series. It should be noted that the views expressed in these publications are those of the researcher