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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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Contents >> Disability and Carers >> NEED FOR ASSISTANCE BY SOCIOECONOMIC INDICATORS

NEED FOR ASSISTANCE BY SOCIOECONOMIC INDICATORS

Highest year of school completed

According to the 2006 Census, there were 228,200 Indigenous people aged 15 years or over (excluding those still at school) who provided information on both their highest level of schooling and whether or not they needed assistance with core activities. Around 6% of them (13,600 people) needed assistance with core activities (table 5.8). While it is possible to examine the relationship between the need for assistance and highest year of school completed, causality cannot be determined as the Census did not collect information on age of onset of disability. It is likely that a need for assistance in childhood contributes to lower levels of educational attainment, but also, that lower levels of schooling, together with other risk factors, increase the likelihood of a person requiring assistance with core activities in their adult years. For more information about the relationship between educational attainment and health risk factors, see Chapter 3 of this report.

In 2006, Indigenous people not needing assistance with core activities were more likely to have completed school to at least Year 10 than those needing assistance, regardless of age. When overall attainment rates were compared, Indigenous people not needing assistance were twice as likely as those needing assistance to have completed Year 12 (24% compared with 12%), and around one-and-a-half times as likely to have completed school to at least Year 10 (44% compared with 27%) (table 5.8).

5.8 HIGHEST YEAR OF SCHOOL COMPLETED, by age and whether needs assistance - Indigenous persons(a) - 2006

Needs assistance with core activities
Does not need assistance with core activities
no.
%
no.
%

Age group (years)
15-24
Year 12 or equivalent
362
27.9
17 508
30.2
Year 10 or 11
440
33.9
25 889
44.7
Year 9 or below(b)
495
38.2
14 515
25.1
25-34
Year 12 or equivalent
284
20.3
16 964
32.4
Year 10 or 11
511
36.5
23 232
44.4
Year 9 or below(b)
606
43.3
12 084
23.1
35-44
Year 12 or equivalent
306
13.3
9 383
19.7
Year 10 or 11
930
40.4
25 268
53.0
Year 9 or below(b)
1 066
46.3
13 021
27.3
45-54
Year 12 or equivalent
303
10.8
4 756
14.7
Year 10 or 11
935
33.3
14 751
45.5
Year 9 or below(b)
1 570
55.9
12 931
39.9
55-64
Year 12 or equivalent
219
8.4
1 727
10.7
Year 10 or 11
515
19.8
4 316
26.8
Year 9 or below(b)
1 867
71.8
10 051
62.5
65 and over
Year 12 or equivalent
141
4.4
742
9.0
Year 10 or 11
333
10.4
1 450
17.6
Year 9 or below(b)
2 727
85.2
6 045
73.4
15 and over
Year 12 or equivalent
1 615
11.9
51 080
23.8
Year 10 or 11
3 664
26.9
94 906
44.2
Year 9 or below(b)
8 331
61.2
68 647
32.0
Total(b)
13 610
. .
214 633
. .

. . not applicable
(a) Aged 15 years and over excluding persons still at school and those for whom the highest year of school completed was not stated.
(b) Includes Indigenous persons who did not go to school.
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing


Comparison with non-Indigenous people

In both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Year 12 completion rates were generally lower in older age groups. In addition, Indigenous people were considerably less likely than non-Indigenous people to have completed Year 12, regardless of whether or not they needed assistance with core activities.

After adjusting for differences in the age structures of the two populations, Indigenous people who needed assistance were less likely than non-Indigenous people who needed assistance to have completed Year 12 (age standardised rate ratio of 0.8). Unadjusted age-specific Indigenous to non-Indigenous rate ratios ranged from 0.7 for people aged 15-24 years to 0.3 for people aged 65 years and over (graph 5.9). For more information on the calculation of rate ratios, see the Glossary.

5.9 COMPLETED YEAR 12 BY INDIGENOUS STATUS AND AGE, Persons(a) who needed assistance with core activities - 2006
Graph: 5.9 Completed Year 12, by Indigenous status and age, Persons aged 15 years and over who needed assistance with core activities, 2006



Non-school qualifications

Among the 10,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-64 years identified as needing assistance in 2006, around 3,100, or 30% overall, reported that they had a non-school qualification. The proportion of Indigenous people with a non-school qualification was lower among those needing assistance than among those not needing assistance, for all age groups (graph 5.10).

5.10 NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION BY WHETHER NEEDS ASSISTANCE(a), Indigenous persons aged 25-64 years - 2006
Graph: 5.10 Non-school qualification, by whether needs assistance with core activities, Indigenous persons aged 15-64 years, 2006


Comparison with non-Indigenous people

Among Australians aged 25-64 years, Indigenous people were less likely than non-Indigenous people to have attained a non-school qualification. However, the difference in attainment rates between those who needed and didn't need assistance was much smaller among Indigenous people (30% compared with 38%) than non-Indigenous people (36% compared with 58%).


Labour force status

In the 2006 Census, around 12,100 Indigenous people aged 15-64 years (4%) needed assistance with core activities of daily living. Among those who needed assistance, 12% were employed, 3% were unemployed and looking for work, and 80% were not in the labour force. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who needed assistance were participating in the labour force at around one-quarter the rate of those not needing assistance (16% compared with 59%), and experienced higher unemployment rates (21% compared with 15%) (table 5.11).

5.11 LABOUR FORCE STATUS, by whether needs assistance - Indigenous persons aged 15-64 years - 2006

Age group (years)
Aged 15-64 years
15-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
Percent
Number
%
%
%
%
%
%
no.

Needs assistance with core activities

Employed
13.3
16.9
16.2
12.2
6.7
12.5
1 502
Unemployed
6.5
5.1
3.8
2.2
0.9
3.3
394
In the labour force
19.8
22.0
20.0
14.4
7.6
15.7
1 896
Not in the labour force
77.3
75.4
77.1
81.7
86.5
80.4
9 698
Total(a)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
12 058
Unemployment rate(b)
33.0
23.0
18.9
15.6
11.8
20.8
. .

Does not need assistance with core activities

Employed
39.8
53.3
57.2
59.3
41.9
49.7
118 318
Unemployed
11.4
9.9
8.8
6.2
3.6
9.1
21 690
In the labour force
51.2
63.2
66.0
65.4
45.5
58.8
140 008
Not in the labour force
45.7
33.9
31.2
31.5
50.9
38.1
90 714
Total(a)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
237 955
Unemployment rate(b)
22.2
15.6
13.3
9.5
7.9
15.5
. .

. . not applicable
(a) Includes persons for whom labour force status was not known.
(b) Unemployed persons as a proportion of those in the labour force.
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing



Individual weekly income

Just under half (49%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who needed assistance in 2006 reported weekly income in the range $150-$249, with median weekly income for males of $218, and for females, $221. Median weekly incomes for Indigenous males and females who needed assistance were lower than the corresponding incomes for those not needing assistance, across all age groups. However, the difference in median incomes was most pronounced among people of prime working age (i.e. aged 25-54 years), reflecting significantly lower employment and labour force participation rates among those needing assistance with core activities. Within these age groups, the median income for Indigenous people who needed assistance was equivalent to around 60% of the median income for those who did not need assistance (graph 5.12).

5.12 MEDIAN INDIVIDUAL WEEKLY INCOME BY WHETHER NEEDS ASSISTANCE(a), Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over - 2006
Graph: 5.12 Median individual weekly income, by whether needs assistance with core activities, Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over, 2006


Comparison with non-Indigenous people

Among Australians needing assistance with core activities, the median individual weekly income was lower for Indigenous than non-Indigenous people ($220 per week compared with $240 per week). However, this difference in median incomes was much smaller than that between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people not needing assistance ($291 per week compared with $499 per week).


Low resource households

Another income measure - equivalised gross weekly household income on a per person basis - provides an indication of how much money is available to each individual, taking into account the combined income, size and composition of the household in which they live. In this report, Indigenous people whose equivalised gross weekly household income was in the lowest quintile, i.e. less than $315 per week, were considered to be living in low resource households. For more information on the definitions of low resource households and income quintiles, see Glossary.

Data from the 2006 census show that Indigenous people who needed assistance with core activities were more likely than those not needing assistance to be living in a low resource household (44% compared with 38%).

Comparison with non-Indigenous people

Indigenous people overall were almost five times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be living in a low resource household (39% compared with 8%). After adjusting for differences in the age structures of the two populations, Indigenous people who needed assistance were twice as likely as non-Indigenous people who needed assistance, to be living in a low resource household.


Language spoken at home

In the 2006 Census, around 16,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who needed assistance with core activities (83%) spoke English at home and a further 2,200 people (11%) spoke an Australian Indigenous language. Prevalence of need for assistance was the same among Indigenous people who only spoke English and those who spoke an Australian Indigenous language at home (both 4%).


Social networks

Good support networks, friendships and relationships are positive social determinants of health. Conversely, disability and illness can lead to social exclusion and marginalisation (The Fred Hollows Foundation 2007). Information on the support provided by carers to people who need help because they are old and/or have disability is explored in some detail in later sections of this chapter. Complementary information about participation in social activities and sources of support for Indigenous people aged 15 years and over, including those with a profound/severe core activity limitation, are available from the 2002 NATSISS. These data show that Indigenous people with a profound/severe core activity limitation had been involved in social activities in the previous three months at similar rates to those without disability (88% compared with 92%). Similarly, access to support in times of crisis was reported by 87% of Indigenous people with a profound/severe core activity limitation, compared with 92% of those without disability.

Social marital status

While data from the 2002 NATSISS suggest that disability is not necessarily a barrier to social participation, a person's need for assistance with core activities may impact on their chances of partnering. According to the 2006 Census, Indigenous people aged 15 years and over who needed assistance with core activities were less likely to be in a registered or de facto marriage than were people of the same age who did not need assistance (graph 5.13). The same pattern was evident in the non-Indigenous population.

5.13 MARRIAGE RATES(a) BY WHETHER NEEDS ASSISTANCE(b), Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over in private dwellings - 2006
Graph: 5.13 Marriage rates, by whether needs assistance with core activities, Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over in private dwellings, 2006



Living with a carer

In 2006, around 10,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (58% of those who needed assistance in private dwellings) were living in a household in which there was at least one identified carer (i.e. a person who provided unpaid care, help or assistance to another person because of their disability, long-term illness or problems related to old age). While the Census data do not link people who needed assistance to a specific caregiver, it may be reasonable to assume the existence of a caring relationship in most instances where both a person needing assistance and at least one carer were living in the same household.

The proportion of Indigenous people needing assistance who were living with a carer was lower in older age groups - 51% of those aged 65 years and over, compared with 74% of children aged 0-14 years (table 5.14). It is possible that some people with disability had a carer outside their immediate household, and also likely that not all carers will have been identified (see box 5.16), so it should not be assumed that the lack of an identified carer within the household is a measure of unmet need for care.

5.14 INDIGENOUS PERSONS WHO NEEDED ASSISTANCE(a), by whether living with a carer - 2006

Households with a carer(b)
Households without a carer(b)
Total(b)(c)
Age group (years)
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%

0-14
2 655
74.1
682
19.0
3 584
100.0
15-24
1 216
67.2
435
24.0
1 809
100.0
25-34
778
56.2
503
36.3
1 384
100.0
35-44
1 225
53.2
892
38.7
2 304
100.0
45-54
1 484
51.6
1 117
38.8
2 877
100.0
55-64
1 387
51.9
1 002
37.5
2 670
100.0
65 and over
1 557
50.8
1 103
36.0
3 064
100.0
Total
10 302
58.2
5 734
32.4
17 692
100.0

(a) Living in private dwellings.
(b) Components may not add to total due to perturbation of component data.
(c) Includes persons living in households in which the carer status of resident(s) was not known.
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing






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