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2034.5 - Census of Population and Housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Western Australia,, 1996  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/07/1998   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


POPULATION

  • At 30 June 1996, 15% of Australia's Indigenous population lived in Western Australia.
  • Indigenous people accounted for just over 3% (56,205) of the total resident population of the State.
  • An estimated 40% of Indigenous people were under 15 years of age, almost double the proportion in the total population (22%).
  • Indigenous people were twice as likely to live outside Major urban centres as the total population (70% compared with 36%).

FAMILIES
  • Over one-third (38%) of Indigenous families were couples with dependent children, all under 15 years of age.
  • Forty-two per cent of Indigenous families, compared with 24% of all families, had no employed family members.
  • The median weekly income of Indigenous families was less than two-thirds of that received by all families ($492 compared with $762).

HOUSEHOLDS
  • Eight per cent of Indigenous households, compared with 1% of all households, contained two or more families.
  • Forty per cent of Indigenous households, compared with 21% of all households, contained three or more children under the age of 15 years.
  • The majority (69%) of Indigenous households lived in rented dwellings whereas 70% of all households owned or were purchasing their own home.

EMPLOYMENT
  • The labour force participation rate of the Indigenous population was lower than that of the total population (47% compared with 63%).
  • Fifty-eight per cent of Indigenous females aged 15 years and over were not in the labour force.
  • The unemployment rate for the Indigenous population (19%) was more than double that of the Western Australian population as a whole (8%).
  • Indigenous persons with post-school qualifications had higher labour force participation and lower unemployment rates than Indigenous persons with no qualifications.
  • Half of all Indigenous workers were employed either in the government sector (24%) or in CDEP jobs (26%) while most Western Australian workers (80%) were employed in the private sector.

INCOME
  • The median weekly income of Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over was $211, compared with $307 for the total population.
  • The median weekly income of employed Indigenous persons was less than two-thirds (64%) of that for all employed persons ($319 compared with $496).
  • The proportion of Indigenous persons with degrees or diplomas who earned in excess of $600 per week was close to that of the total population (55% compared with 59%).
  • Only 12% of unqualified Indigenous workers earned over $600 per week, compared with 24% of all unqualified workers.

EDUCATION
  • One-third of the Indigenous population, compared with one-quarter of the total population, were attending an educational institution.
  • Over half of all Indigenous students (55%) were attending primary schools.
  • Only half (52%) of Indigenous 15 to 17 year olds were students, compared with 78% of the total population.
  • One in ten Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over had a post-school qualification.
  • Over 16% of Indigenous persons living in Major urban centres, compared with 5% of those living in rural areas, had a post-school qualification.

RELIGION
  • The majority (62%) of Indigenous people were Christian: almost two-thirds (64%) of these were Western Catholic or Anglican.
  • Almost one-quarter (22%) of Indigenous people indicated they had no religion, the proportion rising to 28% in Major urban centres.
  • Traditional Aboriginal beliefs were most common in the rural areas of the State (14% compared with 4% for the Indigenous population as a whole).

LANGUAGE
  • More than three-quarters of Indigenous Western Australians spoke English at home.
  • Seventeen per cent spoke an Indigenous language at home: this figure rose to 51% in some rural areas.
  • Three-quarters of those who spoke an Indigenous language at home spoke English well or very well.

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