” In the Overview we strive to provide an accurate and informative summary of the current health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In doing so, we want to acknowledge the importance of adopting a strengths-based approach, and to recognise the increasingly important area of data sovereignty.
To this end, we have reduced our reliance on comparative data in favour of exploring the broad context of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and how this may impact their health journey “
HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew
The Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status (Overview) aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health and current health status of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The annual Overview contains updated information across many health conditions.
It shows there has been a range of positive signs including a decrease in death rates, infant mortality rates and a decline in death rates from avoidable causes as well as a reduction in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who smoke.
It has also been found that fewer mothers are smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy meaning that babies have a better start to life.
The initial sections of the Overview provide information about:
- the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
- social determinants including education, employment and income
- the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population
- measures of population health status including births, mortality and hospitalisation.
The remaining sections are about selected health conditions and risk and protective factors that contribute to the overall health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
These sections include an introduction and evidence of the extent of the condition or risk/protective factor. Information is provided for state and territories and for demographics such as sex and age when it is available and appropriate.
The Overview is a resource relevant for the health workforce, students and others requiring access to up-to-date information about the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This year, the focus will be mainly on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data and presentation is within the framework of the strength based approach and data sovereignty (where information is available).
As a data driven organisation, the HealthInfoNet has a publicly declared commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to advance our understanding of data sovereignty and governance consistent with the principles and aspirations of the Maiam nayri Wingara Data Sovereignty Collective (https://www.maiamnayriwingara.org).
As we have done in previous years, we continue our strong commitment to developing strengths based approaches to assessing and reporting the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
It is difficult to make comparisons between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non- Indigenous Australian populations without consideration of the cultural and social contexts within which people live their lives.
As in past versions, we still provide information on the cultural context and social determinants for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
However, for the selected health topics and risk/protective factors we have removed many of the comparisons between the two populations and focused on the analysis of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data only.
In an attempt to respond to the challenge issued by Professor Craig Ritchie at the 2019 AIATSIS conference to say more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ not just the ‘what’ where comparisons are made and if there is evidence available, we have provided a brief explanation for the differences observed.
Accompanying the Overview is a set of PowerPoint slides designed to help lecturers and others provide up-to-date information.
- In 2019, the estimated Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 847,190.
- In 2019, NSW had the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the estimated population was 281,107 people, 33% of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population).
- In 2019, NT had the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in its population, with 32% of the NT population identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
- In 2016, around 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in major cities.
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is much younger than the non-Indigenous population.
Download the PowerPoint HERE