Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4722.0.55.005 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Home Ownership: A snapshot, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2009  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

INTRODUCTION

This snapshot provides information about rates of home ownership for Indigenous and other Australian households, and about the characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians according to selected tenure types. The topics covered in this snapshot include comparisons of tenure type in the states and territories and in remoteness areas, family composition and housing choices, and the association between housing tenure and educational attainment, labour force status, income, health and well-being. Where relevant, comparisons are made between the housing characteristics of Indigenous and other Australian households or Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.


DATA ISSUES AND DEFINITIONS

Data used in this snapshot are derived from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses of Population and Housing and the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).

Households with tenure type ‘not stated’ have been excluded from counts of persons and households, and in calculating proportions(footnote 1) .

Throughout this snapshot home ownership rates refer to dwellings that are owned by at least one member of the household. Owned homes comprise dwellings with a mortgage and dwellings without a mortgage(footnote 2) .

The analysis of variables that affect home ownership levels are based on counts of persons or households. Households with at least one usual resident of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent are referred to as ‘Indigenous households’ and may include one or more non-Indigenous usual residents. Households in which there were no Indigenous usual residents identified, are referred to as ‘other households’.

INQUIRIES

For further information about this product, contact the Assistant Director, National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics in Canberra on (02) 6252 6301 or visit www.abs.gov.au

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


HOME OWNERSHIP RATES

In 2006 there were 158,600 households with at least one usual resident of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. Around one in eight Indigenous households (18,350 or 12%) owned their home outright (without a mortgage secured against the dwelling) and a further 38,650 (24%) owned their home with a mortgage. In comparison there were 6,778,800 non-Indigenous households; of which 2,412,350 (36%) where owned outright and 2,397,500 (35%) were owned with a mortgage.


HOME OWNERSHIP OVER TIME

Between 1996 and 2006 there were a range of programs implemented to increase home ownership rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These were managed by a number of different government and non-government organisations including; the Australian and state/territory governments, mainstream lenders such as banks and building societies, and Indigenous organisations.

Results from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses show that:

  • Rates of home ownership increased from 32% in 1996 to 36% in 2006.
  • Over this period, there was an increase in the proportion of dwellings that were owned with a mortgage (from 18% to 24%) and a small decrease in the proportion of dwellings that were owned without a mortgage.
  • The rates of renting were around twice the rates of home ownership in 1996, 2001 and 2006, with rate ratios of 2.1, 1.9 and 1.7 respectively.

Indigenous households by tenure type, 1996, 2001 and 2006(a)

1996
2001
2006
Tenure type
%
%
%

Owned without a mortgage
13.3
13.0
11.6
Owned with a mortgage
18.3
20.0
24.4
Total owned
31.6
33.0
35.9
Rented
65.4
63.9
61.9
Other tenure
3.0
3.1
2.2
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total households '000
113.0
140.0
158.6

(a) Excludes tenure type 'not stated'.



STATES AND TERRITORIES

Rates of Indigenous home ownership at the state/territory level reflect the geographic distribution of the Indigenous population within those jurisdictions. As rates of home ownership are generally higher in non-remote areas, jurisdictions with predominantly urban Indigenous populations have higher rates of home ownership than those with a large remote component.

According to the 2006 Census:
  • Home ownership rates among Indigenous households ranged from 20% in the Northern Territory to 54% in Tasmania.
  • The lowest rate of home ownership among Indigenous households was in the Northern Territory, which can partly be attributed to the high proportion of Indigenous households living in remote and very remote areas (66% of Northern Territory Indigenous households) and in discrete Indigenous communities, some of which have restrictions on individual home ownership and freehold land.
  • Conversely, the relatively high proportion of Indigenous households who lived in owner occupied dwellings in Tasmania (54%), the ACT (43%) and Victoria (42%) may be related to the fact that Indigenous households in these jurisdictions live mainly in major cities and regional areas.

Household type by tenure and state/territory, 2006(a)(a)

Indigenous households
Other households
In owned homes
In rented homes
In owned homes
In rented homes
State/territory
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
37.8
60.5
69.5
28.6
Victoria
42.3
55.7
74.1
24.1
Queensland
33.4
64.2
68.3
29.6
South Australia
36.0
62.2
72.2
25.4
Western Australia
32.5
65.0
72.0
25.6
Tasmania
54.1
44.0
74.3
23.7
Northern Territory
20.0
76.0
56.4
39.2
Australian Capital Territory
42.5
56.4
70.0
28.8
Australia
35.9
61.9
71.0
27.0

(a) Excludes households with other tenure type and tenure type 'not stated'.



REMOTENESS

There are a number of factors in remote areas which may affect levels of home ownership. These issues do not exist or are much less common in major cities or in inner and outer regional areas. Some of these factors include:
  • complex land tenure restrictions on individual home ownership;
  • limited supply of houses made available for individual purchase;
  • low incomes and limited employment opportunities, which diminish the financial capability to purchase a home;
  • complications with the supply and reliability of services (HREOC 2006).

The 2006 Census showed that:
  • Rates of home ownership were much lower for Indigenous households than for other Australian households in all Remoteness Areas(footnote 3) .
  • Rates of home ownership were highest in non-remote areas for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous households alike, although home ownership rates for Indigenous households were around half those of other households.
  • In very remote areas, Indigenous home ownership rates were around one-fifth of the corresponding home ownership rates for other households.
Home ownership by household type and Remoteness Areas(a) - 2006
Graph: Home ownership by household type and Remoteness Areas(a)—2006



FAMILY TYPE AND HOUSING CHOICES

The characteristics of a household change over the life course as individuals get older. As people progress through different stages in their life and their family structures and financial situations change, so do their housing needs and preferences (ABS 2001). Indigenous households often have more complex family structures than other Australian households (ABS and AIHW 2008, and Dr Gray, M. 2006). In addition, the composition of Indigenous families reflects the younger age structure of the Indigenous population when compared with the non-Indigenous population. These factors should be taken into account when comparing the characteristics of Indigenous households with other Australian households.

The analysis that follows refers to people in occupied private dwellings who were enumerated at home on census night. Visitors and people who were temporarily absent have been excluded.

Data from the 2006 Census show that:
  • Australians who lived in couple families with children under 15 years were the predominant family type in owned dwellings.
  • Reflecting higher rates of home ownership in the non-Indigenous population generally, non-Indigenous people in couple families with children aged under 15 years were twice as likely to live in owned homes than Indigenous people with similar living arrangements (30% compared with 15% respectively).
  • Forty-two percent of Indigenous people were living in couple families with children aged under 15 years. They accounted for 50% of those living in owned homes.
  • More than one-quarter of Indigenous people (30%) were living in one parent families with children under 15 years of age, however Indigenous people in these types of families accounted for just 14% of those living in owned homes.
  • In the non-Indigenous population, rates of home ownership according to family type were similar to the overall distribution of family types within the population.

Housing tenure by Indigenous status and family type, 2006(a)

Indigenous persons
Non-Indigenous persons
no.
%
no.
%

In owned homes
Couple family with no children
14 513
3.8
2 930 533
17.7
Couple family with children under 15
58 061
15.3
4 975 097
30.1
Couple family with no children under 15
14 140
3.7
2 161 067
13.1
One Parent family with children under 15
16 226
4.3
491 226
3.0
One Parent family with no children under 15
5 688
1.5
532 897
3.2
Lone person household
5 243
1.4
971 490
5.9
Group household
1 871
0.5
158 510
1.0
Total
115 742
30.5
12 220 820
73.9
In rented homes
Couple family with no children
16 576
4.4
685 655
4.1
Couple family with children under 15
96 940
25.5
1 293 948
7.8
Couple family with no children under 15
10 545
2.8
226 333
1.4
One Parent family with children under 15
95 176
25.0
644 019
3.9
One Parent family with no children under 15
15 698
4.1
229 775
1.4
Lone person household
14 361
3.8
583 210
3.5
Group household
6 526
1.7
378 140
2.3
Total
255 822
67.3
4 041 080
24.4
Other tenure type
8 491
2.2
266 580
1.6
Total persons
380 055
100.0
16 528 480
100.0

(a) Excludes tenure type 'not stated'.



EDUCATION

Education has a number of links to home ownership and is also a broader indicator of socio-economic wellbeing. Education is linked to tenure because:
  • Education is a stepping-stone to employment and income which, in turn, are gateways to acquiring or accessing the finance required for home ownership.
  • Educational facilities are a resource which contributes to social capital which assists in improving the stability and support networks of families and the social cohesion of a community (Fegan and Bowes 2004).
  • Home ownership and stable tenure provide a supportive learning environment. For example, frequent moves are shown to have a negative impact on children’s educational outcomes (ibid).

Data from the 2006 Census show that:
  • Half (50%) of all Indigenous people aged 25-64 years with a non-school qualification of Certificate 3 or above(footnote 4) lived in owned homes compared with 76% of non-Indigenous persons.
  • Indigenous people with lower levels of educational attainment were at least one-and-a-half times as likely to live in a rented dwelling than to live in an owner occupied dwelling. In comparison, the proportion of non-Indigenous people who lived in owned homes was two-to-three times the proportion who lived in a rented dwelling, regardless of educational attainment.
  • People aged 25-64 years, with a non-school qualification of Certificate 3 or above comprised the largest share of people who lived in owned homes (35% of Indigenous people in owned dwellings and 49% of non-Indigenous people in owned dwellings).

Educational attainment by Indigenous status and selected household tenure type, persons aged 25-64 years, 2006(a)

Indigenous persons
Non-Indigenous persons
In owned homes
In rented homes
Total(b)
In owned homes
In rented homes
Total(b)
%
%
no.
%
%
no.

Has a non-school qualification
Certificate III/IV or higher degree
50.0
48.0
34 949
76.1
22.6
4 384 996
Certificate I & II
25.0
72.6
3 140
67.2
31.3
107 347
Other(c)
26.9
70.6
19 639
72.5
26.1
755 670
Total with a non-school qualification
40.8
57.0
57 728
75.4
23.3
5 248 013
Does not have a non-school qualification(d)
Year 12 or equivalent
37.4
60.5
13 558
71.7
26.8
1 227 771
Year 10/11 or equivalent
31.9
65.8
41 019
74.0
24.5
1 832 565
Year 9 or below(e)
21.4
75.1
38 817
69.9
28.5
790 256
Not stated
21.2
76.0
2 449
65.8
32.5
54 425
Total without a non-school qualification
28.1
69.1
95 843
72.4
26.2
3 905 017
Total persons aged 25-64 years
32.9
64.6
153 571
74.1
24.5
9 153 030

(a) Excludes tenure type 'not stated'.
(b) Includes other tenure type.
(c) Comprises undefined certificate level, level of education inadequately described and level of education not stated.
(d) Includes persons who have a qualification that is out of scope, people with no qualifications and those still studying for first qualification.
(e) Includes those who did not go to school.



LABOUR FORCE STATUS

Home ownership often depends on a household’s ability to raise a deposit and to secure and repay a loan. This may reflect the availability and security of jobs. Data from the 2006 Census show that rates of home ownership are closely tied to labour force status.

In 2006:
  • Indigenous people who lived in an owned dwelling were more likely than those who lived in rented dwellings to be in the labour force (71% compared with 54%) and to be employed (65% compared with 43%).
  • Reflecting lower employment rates for Indigenous people generally, Indigenous people who lived in owned dwellings were less likely than non-Indigenous people who lived in owned homes to be employed (65% compared with 75%).

Labour force status by Indigenous status and selected household tenure types, persons aged 15-64 years, 2006(a)

Indigenous persons
Non-Indigenous persons
In owned homes
In rented homes
In owned homes
In rented homes

Employed(b) ( no. )
45 526
61 223
6 102 534
1 961 831
Unemployed ( no. )
4 076
15 129
233 216
193 681
Total labour force ( no. )
49 602
76 352
6 335 750
2 155 512
Not in labour force ( no. )
20 073
66 361
1 839 025
814 642
Total(c) ( no. )
69 675
142 713
8 174 775
2 970 154
Employment to population ratio(d) (%)
65.3
42.9
74.7
66.1
Labour force participation rate(e) (%)
71.2
53.5
77.5
72.6
Unemployment rate(f) (%)
8.2
19.8
3.7
9.0

(a) Excludes persons with tenure type 'not stated'.
(b) Comprises persons in full-time and part-time employment and those who were away from work.
(c) Excludes persons whose labour force status was not stated.
(d) The number of people who are employed as a proportion of the total population (excluding persons whose labour force status was 'not stated').
(e) The number of people who are employed or unemployed as a proportion of the population (excluding persons whose labour force status was 'not stated').
(f) The number of people who are unemployed as a proportion of the total labour force.



HOUSEHOLD INCOME

The analysis that follows is based on equivalised gross household income per week, presented as income quintiles (footnote 5) (footnote 6) . Income quintiles are based on the income distribution of the whole Australian population, and therefore more closely reflect the circumstances of non-Indigenous Australians. A higher proportion of Indigenous people are in the lowest income quintile and a smaller proportion in the fourth and fifth quintiles. For example, 45% of Indigenous people had weekly equivalised gross household income in the lowest income quintile (i.e. less than $315) and 16% had weekly equivalised gross household income in the two highest quintiles, combined. The corresponding proportions in the non-Indigenous population were 20% and 41% respectively. These differences need to be taken into account when making Indigenous and non-Indigenous comparisons.

Person level equivalised household income data in the 2006 Census show that:
  • The proportion of Indigenous people living in owner occupied dwellings was lower than the non-Indigenous equivalent for all income quintiles.
  • In both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, there was a positive association between income and the proportion of people living in owner occupied dwellings. However, while the proportion of non-Indigenous people living in owner occupied dwellings ranged from 59% of those in the lowest quintile to 80% of those in the forth and fifth quintiles combined, the corresponding proportions for Indigenous people were in the range 14% and 62% respectively.
  • Indigenous home owners had lower median weekly income (footnote 7) than their non-Indigenous counterparts ($562 compared with $687).

Equivalised gross household income per week, by Indigenous status, and selected household tenure type, 2006(a)(b)(c)

Indigenous persons
Non-Indigenous persons
In owned homes
In rented homes
In owned homes
In rented homes

Median weekly income(d) ($)
562
315
687
513
Lowest quintile(e)(f) (%)
14.4
82.9
59.3
37.9
Second quintile(f) (%)
29.2
68.3
69.5
28.4
Third quintile(f) (%)
48.1
50.0
76.0
22.5
Fourth and fifth quintiles(f) (%)
62.0
36.5
80.5
18.5
Total stated(e) (no.)
100 644
221 034
11 059 145
3 767 611
Total not stated (no.)
18 017
44 172
1 324 867
418 236
Not stated(g) (%)
15.2
16.7
10.7
10.0

(a) Excludes tenure type 'not stated'.
(b) Includes only persons with known and complete income responses.
(c) For more information on equivalised gross household weekly income, see (footnote 5) .
(d) For more information on median gross equivalised household income per week, see (footnote 7) .
(e) Includes nil income.
(f) For more information on equivalised gross household income quintiles, see (footnote 6) .
(g) A high proportion of the population did not answer the personal income question. Proportions are based on those who did answer the question and therefore data may not be representative of the entire population.



SELF-ASSESSED HEALTH STATUS

Housing tenure has been found to be related to health indicators such as self-assessed health, hospital admissions and mortality; with home owners having better outcomes than renters (Shaw 2004).

Data from the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) show that in non-remote areas Indigenous home owners were significantly more likely than renters to have reported their health as being excellent/very good (46% compared with 38%).


LIFE STRESSORS

The experience of stressful events (e.g. illness, serious accident, death in the family, divorce, etc.) can have a significant impact on an individual’s social and emotional wellbeing. Reported stressors (footnote 8) provide some insights about the environment in which people live.

The 2004-05 NATSIHS showed that:
  • In non-remote areas, Indigenous people who lived in owned homes were less likely than those who lived in rented homes to report that they had experienced at least one stressor in the 12 months prior to the survey being conducted (71% compared with 80%).
  • In both non-remote and remote areas, people in owned homes were significantly less likely than those in rented homes to have reported overcrowding as a stressor (8% compared with 14% and 10% compared with 32%).


PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS

After accounting for the influence of remoteness on tenure, there were a number of statistically significant differences between the proportion of owners and renters reporting high/very high levels of psychological distress (footnote 9) .

The 2004-05 NATSIHS showed that:
  • In non-remote areas, Indigenous people in owned homes were less likely than those in rented homes to report high/very high levels of psychological distress (18% compared with 33%).
  • Similarly, in remote areas high/very high levels of psychological distress were less commonly reported by Indigenous people who lived in homes that were owned rather than rented (18% compared with 28%).

Household tenure by remoteness and selected health and welfare indicators, Indigenous persons aged 18 years and over, 2004-05(a)(b)

In owned homes
In rented homes
Non-remote
Remote
Non-remote
Remote
%
%
%
%

Self-assessed health status
fair/poor(c)(d)
17.9
24.3
29.0
20.1
good(c)
36.3
33.8
33.3
41.8
excellent/very good(d)
45.8
41.9
37.7
38.1
Life stressors
overcrowding as a stressor(c)(d)(e)
7.7
*10.1
14.4
31.7
at least one stressor experienced in last 12 months(d)
71.2
75.6
80.1
79.3
stressors not reported(d)
28.8
24.4
19.9
20.7
Levels of psychological distress
low/moderate(d)(e)
81.7
81.6
67.5
72.3
high/very high(d)(e)
18.3
18.4
32.5
27.7
Total persons aged 18 years and over (no.)
60 300
5 300
121 600
64 900

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Households with tenure type 'not stated' or 'not applicable' have been excluded when calculating rates.
(b) Proportions are calculated excluding 'not known' or 'not stated' responses to selected health and welfare indicators.
(c) Difference between rates for people in rented homes in non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
(d) Difference between rates for people in owned and rented homes in non-remote areas is statistically significant.
(e) Difference between rates for people in owned and rented homes in remote areas is statistically significant.



LIST OF REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2001, ‘Housing and Lifestyle: Housing experiences through life-cycle stages’ in Australian Social Trends, ABS cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra

ABS 2004-2005, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, ABS cat. no. 4715.0, ABS, Canberra

ABS and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2008, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat. no. 4704.0, AIHW cat. No. IHW 21, ABS, Canberra

Fegan, M. and Bowes, J.M. (2004) 'Isolation in Rural, Remote and Urban Communities' in; Bowes, M,
Children, Families & Communities: Contexts and Consequences (2nd Ed.),
Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Gray, Dr. M. 2006, Indigenous families and communities, Family Matters, No. 75, 4-9 Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2006), Native Title Report 2006, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Report No. 2/2007

Shaw, M. 2004, Housing and public health, Annual Review of Public Health, No. 25, 397-418


FOOTNOTES

1 Tenure type is the nature of a household's legal right to occupy the dwelling in which the household members usually reside. Tenure is determined according to whether the household owns the dwelling outright, owns the dwelling but has a mortgage or loan secured against it, is paying rent to live in the dwelling, or has some other arrangement to occupy the dwelling.back

2 Home ownership and home owners, refers to a household in which at least one member owns the dwelling in which the household members usually reside. Owners are divided into two categories - owners without a mortgage and owners with a mortgage. If there is any outstanding mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling the householder is an owner with a mortgage; this includes participants in rent/buy or shared equity schemes. If there is no mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling the household is an owner without a mortgage.back

3 Remoteness Areas (RA) is a structure of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). It classifies areas sharing common characteristics of remoteness into five broad geographical regions (Remoteness Areas). The remoteness of a point is measured by its physical distance by road to the nearest urban centre. As remoteness is measured nationally, not all Remoteness Areas are represented in each state or territory. The five Remoteness Areas are: Major Cities of Australia; Inner Regional Australia; Outer Regional Australia; Remote Australia; and Very Remote Australia. The Remoteness Area names used in this snapshot are abbreviated versions of these names with 'Australia' omitted. Non-remote areas comprise the 'Major Cities', 'Inner Regional' and 'Outer Regional' categories of the Remoteness Areas classification. Remote areas comprise the 'Remote' and 'Very Remote' categories of the Remoteness Areas classification.back

4 Non-school qualifications are attained through the successful completion of vocational education and training and/or higher education at universities. Some vocational education and training may be undertaken in conjunction with secondary school studies. At the broadest level, non-school qualifications are grouped as follows: Postgraduate degree; Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate; Bachelor degree; Advanced diploma/Diploma; and Certificate. Within the Certificate grouping, a distinction is made between Certificate levels I/II and Certificate levels III/IV due to significant differences in the skills and knowledge attained by students completing Certificates at these levels. While Certificate levels I/II can be generally characterised as providing a set of basic vocational skills with a narrow range of application, Certificate levels III/IV provide a broader knowledge base and the skills necessary to perform a wide range of skilled tasks, to provide technical advice of a complex nature, and to provide work group leadership when organising activities.back

5 Equivalised gross household income per week; Gross household income adjusted using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household it is equal to income received. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the gross household income that would be required by a lone person household in order to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question.back

6 Equivalised gross household income quintiles; These are groupings of 20% of the total population of Australia when ranked in ascending order according to equivalised gross household income.back

7 Median weekly equivalised gross household income; The median value is the mid point of a set of income data on the weekly gross equivalised household income.back

8 Stressor(s); One or more events or circumstances which a person considers to have been a problem for themselves or someone close to them in the last 12 months. Includes: serious injury, accident or disability, death of a family member or close friend, divorce or separation, inability to obtain work, involuntary loss of a job, alcohol or drug-related problems, witnessing violence, being the victim of abuse or violent crime, trouble with the police, gambling problems, incarceration of self or a family member, overcrowding, discrimination or racism.back

9 Psychological distress; Five questions included in 2004-05 NATSIHS designed to measure negative emotional states were derived from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale-10 (K-10) developed in 1992 by Professors Ron Kessler and Dan Mroczek. For each of the five questions, a score was given between 1 and 5 depending on the reported impact of distress i.e. ‘none at all’, ‘a little of the time’, ‘some of the time’, ‘most of the time’ and ‘all of the time’. Those who responded ‘none of the time’ to all five questions were given a score of 5. Those that scored between 5 and 11 were considered to have low/moderate psychological distress. Those that scored between 12 and 25 were considered to have ‘high/very high’ psychological distress.back

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.