NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : ABS Releases Comprehensive Indigenous Health/ Social Survey

13118899_10156885943850338_363603661945119868_n

“Aboriginal adults today can expect that their kids are less likely to smoke than they were and less likely to suffer health harms their generation will.”

Tobacco smoking is estimated to be the leading cause of the burden of disease on Indigenous people.

The fact more than one third of Indigenous people who have ever smoked had successfully quit was significant and showed it was “not an impossible task”.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are successfully becoming ex-smokers and in so doing are dramatically improving their health outcomes,”

  “This is something Aboriginal people have achieved.”

Associate prof David Thomas, the head of the tobacco control program at the Menzies Health research centre : See Guardian Article below

For the first time the rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has dropped below 40% and a third of those who have previously smoked have now successfully quit, new data shows. However, the rate remains much higher than non-Indigenous Australians and it is unlikely the gap will close any time soon.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its most comprehensive survey so far so far that measures the socio-economic markers of the Indigenous population.

The 2014/15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) brings together a broad range of information that explores cultural identity, social networks, housing, health, employment and education, crime and justice experiences and general life satisfaction in the Indigenous population.

The 2014–15 NATSISS collected a range of health-related data, including information on health risk factors, depending on the age of the respondent.

Health analyses presented in this publication are:

PHOTO ABOVE :  Wayne Quilliam who covered the Canberra launch for ABS

The wide-ranging report collected information on adult participation in organised sport, experiences of homelessness and mental health.

ABS senior reconciliation champion Dr Paul Jelfs said the survey found an upward trend in educational achievements, both in Year 12 completion rates and non-school qualifications, along with strong improvements across housing and health. 29 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced homelessness at some point in their life.

However incarceration rates did not decline, with one in seven people reporting that they had been arrested in the last five years. One in three people experienced racial discrimination while one in eight experienced some form of physical violence.

“Overall life satisfaction is high. More than half of those surveyed rated their lives as eight out of 10 or better. A third of people in remote areas felt their community was a better place to live, compared to the previous 12 months, but 16 percent felt it was getting worse,” Jelfs said.

The report found that 38 per cent of men were more likely to be in full-time employment compared to 18 per cent of women. 23 per cent of women were more likely to be working in part-time positions compared to 14 per cent of men.

Professor Tom Calma AO, a former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, said the survey was vital in accurately reflecting Indigenous issues in government policies, programs and services.

The NATSISS is conducted every six years and was first run in 1994, after various recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deaths in Custody for a better information base to understand the socio-economic circumstances and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Introduction

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) was conducted from September 2014 to June 2015 with a sample of 11,178 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in private dwellings across Australia.

The NATSISS is a six-yearly multidimensional social survey which provides broad, self-reported information across key areas of social interest for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, primarily at the national level and by remoteness.

As this is a summary publication, not all of the information collected in the survey is presented here. We encourage users to look at the full range of tables presented and the explanatory materials.

A summary of the key findings from the 2014–15 NATSISS are presented in this publication. Wherever data have been compared (for example, between two points in time, or by sex or remoteness), the difference between the two proportions is statistically significant, unless otherwise stated.

Key areas of progress

Education

In 2014–15, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had completed Year 12 or equivalent was 25.7%, up from 20.4% in 2008 and 16.9% in 2002. Between 2002 and 2014–15, there were significant improvements in both non-remote areas (up 9.4 percentage points) and remote areas (up 5.6 percentage points) (Table 1).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had attained a non-school qualification (such as a Certificate or Diploma) was 46.5%, up from 32.3% in 2008 and 26.1% in 2002. Between 2002 and 2014–15, there were significant improvements in both non-remote areas (up 20.6 percentage points) and remote areas (up 16.7 percentage points) (Table 1).

Health and health risk factors

Children aged 0–14 years

In 2014–15, about one in 10 (9.8%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had a birth mother who drank alcohol during pregnancy, half the rate in 2008 (19.6%). Between 2008 and 2014–15 there was a significant improvement in non-remote areas (down 10.3 percentage points) (Table 6).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years with a birth mother who took folate prior to, or during, pregnancy was 58.0% in 2014–15, up from 48.8% in 2008. Between 2008 and 2014–15 there was a significant improvement in non-remote areas (up 10.1 percentage points) (Table 6).

Just over one-third (34.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years had teeth or gum problems in 2014–15, down from 39.1% in 2008 (Table 7).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years who were living in a household in which there was at least one daily smoker was 56.7% in 2014–15, down from 63.2% in 2008 (Table 8).

People aged 15 years and over

In 2014–15, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who were daily smokers was 38.9%, down from 44.6% in 2008 and 48.6% in 2002. Between 2002 and 2014–15, there was a significant improvement in non-remote areas (down 11.4 percentage points) (Table 1).

About six in 10 (60.3%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a household in which there was at least one daily smoker in 2014–15 (Table 16), down from 67.5% in 2008.

Almost one in seven (14.7%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption in 2014–15, down from 19.2% in 2008. Between 2008 and 2014–15 there was a significant improvement in non-remote areas (down 5.3 percentage points) (Table 1).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who exceeded the single occasion risk guidelines for alcohol consumption was 30.1% in 2014–15, down from 37.9% in 2008. Between 2008 and 2014–15 there was a significant improvement in non-remote areas (down 9.6 percentage points) (Table 1).

Housing

In 2014–15, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who were living in a dwelling that was overcrowded (requiring at least one more bedroom) was 18.4%, down from 24.9% in 2008 and 25.7% in 2002. Between 2008 and 2014–15 there were significant improvements in both remote areas (down 10.3 percentage points) and non-remote areas (down 4.3 percentage points) (Table 1).

Other key findings

Language and culture

Around one-third (33.7%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years and 38.3% of those aged 15 years and over spoke an Australian Indigenous language (including those who spoke some words) (Table 7 and Table 9).

About one in 10 (10.5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over spoke an Australian Indigenous language as their main language at home (Table 9).

More than one-quarter (28.7%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years spent some time with a leader or elder each week (50.5% in remote areas compared with 23.2% in non-remote areas) (Table 7).

Almost three-quarters (74.1%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over recognised an area as homelands or traditional country (Table 9).

Social networks and wellbeing

The majority (82.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had face-to-face contact with family or friends at least once a week (Table 10).

Around one-quarter (25.5%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over provided care for a person with disability, a long-term health condition or old age (29.8% of females compared with 20.8% of males) (Table 4).

About one-third (33.5%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over felt that they had been treated unfairly at least once in the previous 12 months, because they were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin (34.9% in non-remote areas compared with 28.2% in remote areas) (Table 14).

More than half (53.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported an overall life satisfaction rating of at least 8 out of ten (51.9% in non-remote areas and 58.3% in remote areas) (Table 17).

In remote areas, 30.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over felt that their community was a better place to live compared to 12 months previously, 49.2% felt that their community was about the same as 12 months ago, and 16.4% felt that it was a worse place to live (Table 10).

Education

Most (96.0%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years usually attended school (Table 7).

Almost two-thirds (63.2%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years were being taught about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at school (Table 7).

Just over one in five (21.5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were enrolled in formal study (24.2% in non-remote areas compared with 11.8% in remote areas) (Table 11).

Employment

Less than half (46.0%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were employed — 27.7% working full-time and 18.3% working part-time (Table 11).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were more than twice as likely as females to be working full-time (37.9% compared with 18.4%), and were less likely to be working part-time (13.7% compared with 22.6%) (Table 11).

Almost half (49.0%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in non-remote areas were working, compared with 35.6% in remote areas (Table 11).

The unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over was 20.6% nationally (27.4% in remote areas compared with 19.3% in non-remote areas) (Table 11).

Health and health risk factors

Children aged 0–3 years

The majority (93.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had a birth mother who went for check-ups during pregnancy (Table 6).

Around four in 10 (39.2%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had a birth mother who had smoked or chewed tobacco during pregnancy (Table 6).

The majority (79.8%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had been breastfed (Table 6).

Children aged 4–14 years

Around one in eight (12.7%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years had eye or sight problems (14.4% in non-remote areas compared with 6.3% in remote areas) (Table 7).

About one in 10 (10.4%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years had ear or hearing problems (Table 7).

Children aged 0–14 years

The majority (82.7%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years were said to be in excellent or very good health (Table 8).

Around one in eight (13.3%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years were living in a household in which someone smoked inside (17.1% in remote areas compared with 12.6% in non-remote areas) (Table 8).

People aged 15 years and over

Almost four in 10 (39.7%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over rated their health as excellent or very good (Table 12).

Just under half (45.1%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over said they experienced disability, including 7.7% who needed assistance with core activities some or all of the time (Table 12).

Around one in five (19.0%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a household in which someone smoked inside (24.7% in remote areas compared with 17.4% in non-remote areas) (Table 16).

About three in 10 (30.4%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported having used illicit substances in the last 12 months (34.0% of males compared with 27.1% of females) (Table 12).

Safety, law and justice

Just over one in five (22.3%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced physical or threatened physical violence in the last 12 months (Table 15).

Around one in eight (13.3%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced physical violence in the last 12 months, including 8.1% who had experienced physical violence on more than one occasion (Table 15).

Half (50.2%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had experienced physical violence in the last 12 months said that a family member (including a current or previous partner) was the perpetrator of the most recent incident (63.3% of females who had experienced physical violence compared with 34.6% of males) (Text table 8.2).

Around one in seven (14.5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over said they had been arrested in the last five years (20.4% of males compared with 9.2% of females (Table 15).

Almost one in 10 (8.8%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had been incarcerated in their lifetime (13.6% in remote areas compared with 7.4% in non-remote areas). Males were almost four times as likely as females to have been incarcerated (14.6% compared with 3.5%) (Table 15).

Housing

Just over two-thirds (67.3%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a rented property, 19.4% in a dwelling which was owned with a mortgage and 9.3% in a dwelling which was owned without a mortgage (Table 16).

Around one in seven (14.9%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a dwelling in which there were facilities that were not available or did not work (27.7% in remote areas and 11.2% in non-remote areas) (Table 16).

Around three in 10 (29.1%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced homelessness during their lifetime (32.1% in non-remote areas compared with 18.4% in remote areas) (Table 14).

Indigenous health: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rate drops below 40 % From Helen Davidson

For the first time the rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has dropped below 40% and a third of those who have previously smoked have now successfully quit, new data shows.

However, the rate remains much higher than non-Indigenous Australians and it is unlikely the gap will close any time soon.

The data comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has released its six-yearly National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey on Thursday. The survey also revealed incarceration rates have not improved and rates of racial discrimination and physical violence are high.

In 2014-15, 39% of Indigenous people aged 15 and over smoked daily, a decrease of 10 percentage points since 2002. The proportion of young Indigenous people who smoked dropped from 39% to 31% for those aged 15-24 and from 53% to 45% for 25-34-year-olds.

“This suggests that fewer young people are starting to smoke than was previously the case,” the report said.

Associate prof David Thomas, the head of the tobacco control program at the Menzies Health research centre, said: “Aboriginal adults today can expect that their kids are less likely to smoke than they were and less likely to suffer health harms their generation will.”

Tobacco smoking is estimated to be the leading cause of the burden of disease on Indigenous people.

While the decrease has been across the board, most of the decline was seen in non-remote areas, where there had been a small but “encouraging” drop of about 3%.

Thomas said the fact more than one third of Indigenous people who have ever smoked had successfully quit was significant and showed it was “not an impossible task”.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are successfully becoming ex-smokers and in so doing are dramatically improving their health outcomes,” he said. “This is something Aboriginal people have achieved.”

The overall rate, however, remains much higher than the 14% of non-Indigenous people who smoke. Closing the Gap targets on smoking were unlikely to be met but Thomas said they had been “extraordinarily ambitious”.

“The figures don’t suggest the gap is closing but they do show clear signs of improvement, which is all saying smoking prevalence and the harm it causes to Aboriginal people, families and communities are reducing,” Thomas said.

Multiple factors were behind the decline in smoking rates, he said, and continued investment in tobacco control was of enormous proven benefit. He said evidence showed the effectiveness of plain packaging, mainstream awareness campaigns, Indigenous-specific programs and price increases.

Cigarette price hikes have been a contentious issue in Australia, with critics labelling it an unfair hit on people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Increasing the price of cigarettes is one of the most efficient ways of reducing smoking prevalence and is even more effective amongst poorer and more disadvantaged members of any country, and more effective in poorer countries than rich countries,” Thomas said.

The ABS Indigenous Social Survey has been conducted every six years since it was launched as a recommendation of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody 20 years ago.

Thursday’s release also revealed the health of children under 14 had improved and there was an “upward trend” in rates of year 12 completion and non-school qualifications, said Dr Paul Jelfs, the ABS senior reconciliation champion.

“Overall life satisfaction is high,” he said. “More than half of those surveyed rated their lives as eight out of 10 or better. A third of people in remote areas felt their community was a better place to live, compared to the previous 12 months, but 16% felt it was getting worse.”

Rates of physical violence did not see a significant change, with 22% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over experiencing physical or threatened physical violence in the year to 2014-15.

One in three people reported racial discrimination.

One in seven reported being arrested in the last five years and 9% had been incarcerated. This was twice as likely in remote areas than non-remote areas and males were four times more likely to be jailed than females.

Tom Calma, the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, said the survey was not just about Indigenous people but all Australians.

“We need this information to make sure that we are getting things right – we need to feel confident that our issues are accurately reflected in government policies, programs and services,” he said.

NACCHO welcomes feedback/comment:Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s