The changing face of Aboriginal Australia: 2011 Census released

Photo supplied by Congress Alice Springs

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has a median age of 21 years, compared with 38 years for non-Indigenous people, according to a publication released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Julie Nankervis, said the Census of Population and Housing: Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2011 looks at the 2011 Census statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

 “Overall nearly 550,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted in the 2011 Census, which is an increase of 21 per cent from 2006,” said Ms Nankervis.

 “The publication shows children aged under 15 years make up 36 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, compared with 19 per cent of the non-Indigenous population.

“People 65 years and over make up 4 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared to 14 per cent of the non-Indigenous population.

 “In the 2011 Census, we saw that 37 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over have completed Year 12 or higher qualifications, up from 30 per cent in 2006.

“In housing 59 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households rented while 25 per cent owned their homes with a mortgage and 11 per cent owned their homes outright.

 “There was a large increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households that had access to an internet connection at 63 per cent, compared to 40 per cent in 2006.

 “Over one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over provided unpaid childcare for their children and/or someone else’s children in the two weeks prior to Census, while 13 per cent provided unpaid assistance to a person with a disability.

Just over one in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people spoke an Australian Indigenous language at home,” she said.

  • The ABS will continue to release Census products that report statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • For comparative statistics between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people, see the 2076.0 publication.
  • These products can be accessed on the web for free.

 ABS conducting largest survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has commenced the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey which will improve our knowledge of the health issues affecting this group of Australians.

This survey will expand on the 2004-05 survey by increasing the number of participants by 30%, collecting new information on exercise, diet (including bush foods) and measures of cholesterol, blood glucose and iron.

For the first time, the ABS will directly measure obesity and blood pressure levels, as well as nutritional status and chronic disease. By combining the self-reported information together with the biomedical samples, a more complete picture of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be available. Importantly this will give us some information about the level of undiagnosed conditions, such as diabetes.

While the biomedical component of the survey is voluntary, our survey champion Cathy Freeman encourages people to get involved as: ‘you will be helping your family, your community, and future generations to live longer healthier lives’.

The survey will be conducted over 2012-13 across the country in cities and remote communities to create evidence to measure progress in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and contributing to Closing the Gap in life expectancy.

The first survey results will be released in September 2013 and will be used by a wide range of Aboriginal organisations, health researchers, public health advocates, government, clinicians and community health organisations.

Further information and detailed questions and answers are available on the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au/australianhealthsurvey

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