4714.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2016   
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MEDIA RELEASE
28 April 2016
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
56/2016
Key Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander data released

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the findings of a major survey about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians - highlighting key improvements in education, health, and housing.

Dr Paul Jelfs, the ABS Senior Reconciliation Champion, said the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) is designed to provide a greater insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' participation in society, along with any barriers they face.

"The data is showing there is a strong upward trend in education achievements - both in Year 12 completion rates and non-school qualifications - along with strong improvements across housing and health," Dr Jelfs said.

"Overall life satisfaction is high. More than half of those surveyed rated their lives as 8 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."

"However, in sharp contrast, we've seen little change in incarceration rates, and around 1 in 7 people reported they have been arrested in the last five years. The survey also shows 1 in 3 people experienced racial discrimination and 1 in 8 experienced some form of physical violence."

Professor Tom Calma AO, NATSISS champion and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said the survey originated from a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that identified more information about Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples was needed to close the inequality gaps.

"The first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey was carried out in 1994, so there's now 20 years of detailed data available for us to look at and discuss," said Professor Calma.

"This survey is not just about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s for us. 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."

The NATSISS is the most comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific survey in Australia.

Run every six years, the NATSISS covers a broad range of social subject matter including culture and cultural identity, social networks, housing, health-related topics, employment and education.

For the first time in 2014-15, NATSISS collected information on adult participation in organised sport, experiences of homelessness and issues linked to mental health.

This is the first round of results to be released from the survey. More information will be made available to the public over coming months.

The results will be used by a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, researchers and government.

To watch an animation about the NATSISS results can be viewed here:



For more information, please see the First Results of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15, which includes a feature article on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a mental health condition. This is available for free download from the ABS website: http://www.abs.gov.au.

SubjectKey Findings
PopulationIn 2014, the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 686,800 (up from 520,350 in 2008). This represents 3% of the total Australian population.

90% of persons identified as Aboriginal, 6% Torres Strait Islander and 4% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was under the age of 20.

35% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in major cities, 44% in regional areas and 21% in remote areas.
Culture,
identity and connection
More than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people rated their life satisfaction as 8 out of 10 or better, where 0 is completely unsatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognised a connection with Country and 62% identified with a clan, tribal or language group.

11% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people spoke an Australian Indigenous language as their main language at home. 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can speak some words of an Australian Indigenous language.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were regularly involved in cultural events.

70% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people watched Indigenous TV while 28% tuned in to Indigenous radio.

34% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people felt they had been treated unfairly at least once in the previous 12 months because they were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (92%) felt they could get support outside of the home in a time of crisis.

In remote areas, 31% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people felt their community was a better place to live compared to the previous 12 months, 49% said it was the same and 16% felt it was worse.

HealthThe proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are current daily smokers has declined from 45% in 2008 to 39% in 2014.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engaging in risky single occasion drinking (four or more standard drinks at a time according to 2009 NHMRC guidelines) has declined from 38% in 2008 to 30% in 2014.

65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term health condition.

One-quarter (25%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had provided unpaid care for a person with disability, long-term health conditions or old age in the last 4 weeks.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (aged 0-3 years) with a birth mother who drank alcohol during pregnancy was 10% in 2014, half the rate in 2008 (20%).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers who took folate prior to and/or during pregnancy increased from 49% in 2008 to 58% in 2014.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (aged 4-14) who had tooth and gum problems in 2014-15 was 34%, down from 39% in 2008.

Education96% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4-14 usually attended school.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children aged 4-14 were taught culture at school.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people completing year 12 or equivalent was 26% in 2014, up from 20% in 2008.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a non-school qualification increased from 32% in 2008 to 47% in 2014.

EmploymentAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males (38%) were more likely to be in full-time employment than females (18%).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females (23%) were more likely to be in part-time employment than males (14%).

Almost half (49%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in non-remote areas were working, compared with 36% in remote areas.
Crime and Justice1 in 8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced physical violence in the last 12 months (13%), and of those, 61% experienced physical violence on more than one occasion.

Of the 13% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who reported experiencing physical violence in the last 12 months, 1 in 2 reported that their most recent experience of physical violence was by a family member.

9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had been incarcerated in their lifetime (14% in remote areas and 7% in non-remote areas). Males were almost four times as likely as females to have been incarcerated (15% compared to 4%).
HousingTwo-thirds (67%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in rented properties, 19% in a dwelling which was owned with a mortgage and 9% in a dwelling which was owned without a mortgage.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were living in a dwelling that was overcrowded (requiring at least one or more extra bedrooms) was 18% in 2014, down from 25% in 2008.

28% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in houses with major structural problems. 15% were living in houses with facilities that did not work or were not available - 28% in remote areas and 11% in non-remote areas.

29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced homelessness during their lifetime.

Media Note:

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