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4712.0 - Australian Housing Survey - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, 1999  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/01/2001   
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NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents selected data about the housing characteristics of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) population of Australia, excluding those living in sparsely settled or remote areas, from the 1999 Australian Housing Survey (AHS). Equivalent data for the non-Indigenous population of Australia are also presented for comparison purposes. Selected data from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), the 1991 and 1996 Censuses of Population and Housing, and the 1999 Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS) are also presented for comparative purposes.


ABOUT THE SURVEY

The AHS collected information from persons in private dwellings throughout Australia and was conducted between September and December 1999. Topics covered include the characteristics, affordability and adequacy of dwellings, and the demographics, tenure and housing costs of persons and households. The unit of analysis used in this publication is the household.

This publication also contains details about the survey including its objectives and content, and the concepts, methodology and procedures used in the collection of the data and the derivation of estimates. More comprehensive information about the survey is provided in Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, Australia, 1999 (Cat. no. 4182.0).


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The 1999 AHS was developed in consultation with major stakeholders, in particular the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). FaCS also provided a significant proportion of the funding for the survey, including the supplementation of the Indigenous sample. In addition, funding was provided by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and housing authorities within all State and the Australian Capital Territory governments.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


LIST OF SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS


ABBREVIATIONS

ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
AHS Australian Housing Survey
CAI Computer Assisted Interviewing
CHINS Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey
MSS Main survey sample
NATSIS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey
RSE Relative standard error
SE Standard error
SHA State or Territory housing authority
SLA Statistical Local Area
SIS Supplementary Indigenous sample


SYMBOLS


n.p.not available for publication but included in totals where applicable
*estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50%
**estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50%
. .not applicable
-nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


EFFECTS OF ROUNDING

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals. Published percentages are calculated prior to rounding of the figures and therefore some discrepancies may exist between these percentages and those that could be calculated from the rounded figures.


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS


NON-INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS



INTRODUCTION

This publication presents selected data about the housing characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian households from the 1999 Australian Housing Survey (AHS). For the purposes of the AHS, an Indigenous household was defined as any household which contained at least one person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin aged 15 years or over. The survey excluded both Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons living in remote or sparsely settled areas (see Explanatory Notes). The results reported in this publication describe the housing characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians living in urban and more densely populated rural areas. ABS population projections indicate that, in 1999, approximately 82% of Indigenous Australians lived in these areas compared to 99% of non-Indigenous Australians (1).

(1) Unpublished ABS projection derived from Experimental Projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 1996 to 2006 (Cat. no. 3231.0).


TENURE CHARACTERISTICS OF HOUSEHOLDS

In 1999, the majority (58%) of the 145,532 Indigenous households in Australia were renting their home, most commonly from a private landlord or a State or Territory housing authority landlord (27% and 22% respectively). A further 39% owned their current home, either with or without a mortgage (26% and 13% respectively). By comparison, the majority (71%) of non-Indigenous households owned their current home, 39% without a mortgage. Only 27% of non-Indigenous households were renting, and the majority of these rented from a private landlord (table 1).

HOUSEHOLDS BY TENURE TYPE
HOUSEHOLDS BY TENURE TYPE


The reference person for the majority (58%) of Indigenous households was aged between 25-44 years (for definition of reference person see Glossary). In contrast, the reference person for the majority (55%) of non-Indigenous households was 45 and over (table 1).

The younger age of the reference person in Indigenous households reflects the younger age structure of the Indigenous population as a whole. For example, in 1999, the median age of the Indigenous population was 20.1 years (2) compared to 34.0 years (3) for the total Australian population. For this reason it is necessary to take into account the age structure of each population when comparing populations. For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous households, the likelihood of owning their home increased with the age of the reference person. However, this trend was more obvious in non-Indigenous households where 75% of reference persons aged 55 and over were owners without a mortgage, compared to 37% for Indigenous households (table 4).

(2) Unpublished ABS projection derived from Experimental Projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 1996 to 2006 (Cat. no. 3231.0)
(3) Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, June 2000 (Cat. no. 3201.0)

OWNERS WITHOUT A MORTGAGE(a)
OWNERS WITHOUT A MORTGAGE(a)


Indigenous households where the reference person was aged between 35-44 years were more likely to be renters (53%) than were non-Indigenous households (27%). These Indigenous households also had a higher proportion of owners with a mortgage (37%) than all other age groups. This was similar for non-Indigenous households. As would be expected the younger age groups (where the reference person was aged less than 35) in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous households had the highest proportion of renters, particularly in the 15-24 age group where 85% of Indigenous and 79% of non-Indigenous households were renters (table 4).

Age standardised comparisons

The tenure characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous households can also be compared using age-standardised data, which takes into account the different age structures of the household reference persons for each population. The age standardisation techniques used in this publication are outlined in the Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 16-19.

On an age-standardised basis, non-Indigenous households are almost twice as likely to be owners without a mortgage than Indigenous households (39% and 21% respectively). Likewise, non-Indigenous households are more likely to be owners with a mortgage (31%) than Indigenous households (22%). Indigenous households are more likely to be renters (44%) than non-Indigenous households (27%), and are far more likely to be renting from State/Territory housing authorities (23% and 5% respectively).

HOUSEHOLDS BY TENURE TYPE, AGE STANDARDISED PERCENTAGES(a)

HOUSEHOLDS BY TENURE TYPE, AGE STANDARDISED PERCENTAGES(a)


Life-cycle comparisons

The tenure of households is related to the life-cycles through which households progress. However, the high proportion of renters within each life-cycle group tended to reduce the effects of this pattern for Indigenous households. As shown in the following graphs, young singles or young couples (where the reference person was aged less than 35 years) tended to be renters in both populations, but the proportion was greater among Indigenous households (69%) than non-Indigenous households (54%). This was also the case for lone parents with dependent children only, who were likely to be renters in both populations, though the proportion was higher among Indigenous households (95%) than non-Indigenous households (59%).

Couples with children tended to be home owners in both populations, but Indigenous households in these groups also had a high proportion of renters. For older singles or older couples (where the reference person was aged 35 years or more) Indigenous households were just as likely to be renters as home owners (47% and 48% respectively), while this group were far more likely to be home owners among non-Indigenous households (78%).

INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS BY LIFE-CYCLE GROUP
INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS BY LIFE-CYCLE GROUP


NON-INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS BY LIFE-CYCLE GROUP
NON-INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS BY LIFE-CYCLE GROUP


Change over time

A broad indication of changes in tenure over time for Indigenous households in non-remote areas of Australia can be obtained by comparing tenure data from the 1999 AHS with tenure data collected in the Census of Population and Housing (1991 and 1996) and the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS). This comparison suggests an increase in Indigenous home ownership over this period (see Appendix 1).


HOUSEHOLD COSTS AND AFFORDABILITY

Housing costs comprise different items, such as rent, mortgage repayments, rates, land tax and body corporate fees, depending on the tenure of the household (for further details see Glossary). They are generally lowest for households who own their home outright and greatest for those who rent privately or who have a mortgage. In 1999, reflecting the different distribution of tenures, the average weekly housing cost across all Indigenous households was $139 compared to $129 for non-Indigenous households (table 6). Indigenous households also tended to spend a higher proportion of their income on housing costs than non-Indigenous households, with 23% of Indigenous households spending more than a quarter of their income on housing costs compared to 18% of non-Indigenous households (table 1).

HOUSEHOLDS WITH MORE THAN 25%OF INCOME SPENT ON HOUSING COSTS(a)
HOUSEHOLDS WITH MORE THAN 25%OF INCOME SPENT ON HOUSING COSTS(a)


As shown in the graph above, owners without a mortgage spent the smallest proportion of their income on housing, with only 4% of Indigenous and 5% of non-Indigenous households spending more than a quarter of their income on housing costs. Owners with a mortgage, on the other hand, tended to spend a relatively high proportion of their income on housing, with 31% of Indigenous and 24% of non-Indigenous households spending more than a quarter of their income on housing. Private renter households spent the highest proportion of their income on housing, with similar proportions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous households (35% to 38%) spending more than a quarter of their income on housing. Only 14% of Indigenous and non-Indigenous households with State or Territory housing authority landlords spent more than a quarter of their income on housing costs (table 2).


DWELLING CHARACTERISTICS AND CONDITIONS

Housing condition

In 1999, Indigenous households were more likely than non-Indigenous households to report that repairs were needed to either the exterior or interior of their homes. When a need for repair was reported, higher proportions of Indigenous households reported essential, or essential and urgent, need for exterior (10%) and interior repairs (14%), compared to non-Indigenous households (5% and 4% respectively) (table 3).

NEED FOR EXTERIOR REPAIRS
NEED FOR EXTERIOR REPAIRS

NEED FOR INTERIOR REPAIRS
NEED FOR INTERIOR REPAIRS


Area comparisons

Dwelling condition information was also collected in the 1999 Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS) for dwellings owned or managed by Indigenous housing organisations (for definition of CHINS dwelling condition see Glossary). The results from this survey found that dwellings in the urban and more densely populated rural areas of Australia were reported to be in a better condition than dwellings in remote areas. For example, 33% of dwellings in sparsely settled or remote areas were reported as needing major repairs or replacement compared to only 25% for dwellings in other areas (table 13).

Housing utilisation

Overall, Indigenous households were less likely to have enough bedrooms or to have spare bedrooms, compared to non-Indigenous households. For example, 13% of Indigenous households required one or more bedrooms additional to what they currently had, compared to only 4% of non-Indigenous households (table 1). Of those Indigenous households requiring more bedrooms, 88% were renters and 43% had a weekly household income of less than $525, while for non-Indigenous households requiring more bedrooms the majority were owners (52%) and only 27% had a weekly household income of less than $525 (table 8).

HOUSING UTILISATION(a)
HOUSING UTILISATION(a)



HOUSING HISTORY

In 1999, 79% of Indigenous households (as reported by the reference person) had lived in their current dwelling for less than 9 years compared to 61% of non-Indigenous households. Of the Indigenous households in this situation, 42% of owners without a mortgage were in the same type of tenure in their previous dwelling, and a similar proportion (39%) of these owners had previously been renting.

For non-Indigenous households, a higher proportion of owners without a mortgage were in the same tenure as in their previous dwelling (55%) while a smaller proportion (24%) had previously rented.

The pattern of previous tenure was similar between Indigenous and non-Indigenous owners with a mortgage, with most households having previously been renter households (58% and 57% respectively).

For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous households private renters were most likely to move frequently, with 61% of Indigenous and 49% of non-Indigenous households moving three times or more in the last 5 years. They were also the group (for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous households) most likely to have moved recently, with 69% and 68% respectively, having lived in their current dwelling for less than two years (table 11).


EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents selected summary results from the 1999 Australian Housing Survey (AHS). The survey collected information from persons in private dwellings throughout Australia, excluding sparsely settled or remote areas and was conducted between September and December 1999. Topics covered include the characteristics, affordability and adequacy of dwellings, and the demographics, tenure and housing costs of persons and households. A list of the data items from the 1999 AHS is available upon request. Appendix 3 outlines the 1999 AHS survey products and dissemination program.

2 The statistics presented in this publication are intended to present an overview of data collected in the 1999 AHS. Emphasis has been given to highlighting how Indigenous Australians are housed, and how this housing situation compares to that of non-Indigenous Australians.

3 The 1999 AHS is broadly similar to the 1994 AHS in that it provides information about the dwelling characteristics of Australia's households, as well as updates on key indicators such as tenure and housing costs. The main differences between the collections are:
  • to enhance the reliability of the estimates for the Indigenous population and facilitate direct comparisons with the housing characteristics of non-Indigenous Australians, a supplementary sample of around 600 Indigenous households was enumerated for the 1999 survey, bringing the total sample of Indigenous households responding to the survey to approximately 900. The sample was supplemented from a broad range of Census Collection Districts (CDs) with relatively high concentrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The results reported here include records from all Indigenous households (excluding those in sparsely settled or remote areas) with adequately completed forms;
  • the 1999 AHS collected extra detail on individual costs, loans, housing history, income and rent assistance;
  • less detail was collected in the 1999 survey on the physical condition of the dwelling, types of amenities and satisfaction with locational aspects of the dwelling;
  • new questions on temporary residents, household transitions, travel to work and shops, assets and liabilities and rental satisfaction were included in the 1999 survey;
  • the option for an increased sample of households in an effort to improve the reliability of disaggregated data at the sub State level for the main AHS sample was offered to all States and Territories in the 1999 AHS. This offer was accepted by the South Australian Department of Human Services;
  • computer assisted interviewing (CAI) was used in the 1999 AHS to collect data from households and individuals; and
  • the 1999 AHS used an improved system of calibrating survey results to demographic estimates of Australia's population for persons and households.


CONCEPTUAL ISSUES

4 A number of conceptual issues associated with household, tenure type, cash income, housing utilisation, dwelling condition and age standardisation as applied in the 1999 AHS are described in the following section. Refer to the Glossary for the complete definitions of 1999 AHS terms. In addition, Appendix 1 in Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, 1999 (Cat. no. 4182.0) provides a detailed discussion on the concept of housing costs.

Household

5 The household is the basic unit of analysis in this publication. It is defined, in its broadest sense, as a group of people who live and eat together as a single unit within a dwelling. The use of the household as the basic unit of analysis requires that the estimates of variables such as income and housing costs are based on the sum of the income and housing costs of all household members. Intra-household transfers, however, are excluded. For example, if one member of the household were to pay board to another member of the same household then this is not considered as an increase in the amount of income or housing costs of the household. Including such transfers would result in double counting.

Tenure type

6 Tenure type is the nature of a person or household's legal right to occupy the dwelling in which they usually reside. It is determined by responses to questions about ownership, payment to purchase, and rental arrangements.

7 Until 1995, tenure type classified owner occupiers of dwellings as either outright owners or purchasers. A purchaser was a household that had a mortgage or secured loan that was used to buy or build the dwelling. Households were considered to own their dwelling outright if there was no loan secured against the dwelling for the purpose of building or purchasing. Outright owners who took out loans (whether secured or not) for alterations or additions to the dwelling were considered to be outright owners rather than purchasers.

8 Owner occupiers are now classified as owners without a mortgage and owners with a mortgage. This change to the classification was made to reflect the increasing use of loans secured against the dwelling in which the household usually resides for purposes unrelated to that dwelling. Such secured loans have implications for the household's security of tenure. For example, a household with a loan for investment or other purposes which is secured against their usual residence has the same security as a household with a mortgage to purchase the dwelling. The new classification reflects this, by classifying both households as owners with a mortgage.

Cash income

9 Income in the 1999 AHS was collected according to source. Principal sources of income include:
  • wage or salary and profit or loss from own unincorporated business;
  • return on assets which includes interest, dividends and rental income; and
  • non-market income which includes government pensions and allowances, workers compensation, superannuation and child support.

10 Estimates of weekly cash income do not refer to a specific week. Income was collected using a number of different reporting periods and was divided by the number of weeks in the period to obtain usual weekly income. The types of reporting periods were:
  • last financial year for own unincorporated business, dividends and interest, and rental income; and
  • yearly, or any weekly or monthly combination, for wages or salary and transfer income.

Housing utilisation

11 The concept of housing utilisation in this publication is based upon a comparison of the number of bedrooms in a dwelling with a series of household demographics such as the number of usual residents, their relationship to one another, age and sex. There is no single standard measure for housing utilisation. However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has used a Canadian model which is considered by the National Housing Strategy and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to conform reasonably to social norms in Australia.

The Canadian National Occupancy Standard

12 The Canadian National Occupancy Standard for housing appropriateness is sensitive to both household size and composition. The measure assesses the bedroom requirements of a household by specifying that:
  • there should be no more than two persons per bedroom;
  • children less than 5 years of age of different sexes may reasonably share a bedroom;
  • children 5 years of age or older of opposite sex should have separate bedrooms;
  • children less than 18 years of age and of the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom; and
  • single household members 18 years or over should have a separate bedroom, as should parents or couples.

13 Households living in dwellings where this standard cannot be met are considered to be overcrowded.

Need for repairs to dwelling

14 For the purposes of this publication, a summary measure of need for repairs to housing is derived from two variables, Need for external repairs and Need for internal repairs. The categories in each of these items are:
  • No need
  • Desirable but low need
  • Moderate need
  • Essential need
  • Essential and urgent need

15 Need for repairs to dwelling categories were derived based on the highest response to these two items. Categories 4 and 5 were then combined into one category. The categories for Need for repairs to dwelling are:
  • No need
  • Low need
  • Medium need
  • High need

Age standardisation

16 Age standardisation techniques are used in the Summary of Findings in this publication to allow comparisons to be made between housing tenure characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, controlling for the different age-structure of each population. For example, if you were looking at the age distributions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous home owners, it may be that a higher home ownership rate in a particular population partly reflects the larger proportion of older people in that population (given that home ownership increases with age, and the Indigenous population is young compared with the non-Indigenous population).

17 The indirect method of age standardisation, as used in this publication, produces a Standardised Ratio (SR) of observed counts to the expected counts, if the age-specific rates for a given standard population (e.g. AHS 1999 total population) were applied to the population of interest (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) in the same reference period. The expected counts are estimates of what would occur if the age-specific rates for the total population were applied to the Indigenous population. Expected counts are calculated for each age group in each category (i.e. home owner, renter, etc.) and these are summed to get a total number of expected counts within that category. The observed or actual value is then divided by the expected count to obtain a SR.

18 The SR for the population of interest (Indigenous) will show the proportion by which it differs from the experience found in the total population. A SR of 1.00 indicates that there is no difference between the population of interest and the total population in respect of the category compared. A SR of greater than 1.00 indicates that there are more (or a greater percentage) of the population of interest showing a particular characteristic than in the standard population. Similarly, a SR of less than 1.00 indicates that there are less of the population of interest showing a characteristic than would be in the standard population.

19 Standardised Ratios for housing tenures of Indigenous and non-Indigenous households used in this publication are as follows:

AGE STANDARDISED RATIOS BY TENURE



SCOPE

20 The scope of a survey is the set of units or population about which information is required. Only usual residents of private dwellings in areas of Australia not classified as sparsely settled or remote were in scope in the 1999 AHS. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units, caravans, garages, tents and other structures that were used as places of residence at the time of interview. These are distinct from special dwellings which included hotels, boarding houses and institutions.

21 Information was collected from all persons aged 15 years and over except:
  • visitors;
  • non-Australian diplomatic personnel or staff;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

22 The 1999 AHS collected information from persons in both urban and rural areas in all States and Territories. Persons living in sparsely settled or remote parts of Australia where there were fewer than 0.06 dwellings per square kilometre were excluded. This was mainly due to the high costs associated with enumerating in remote areas where only 2% of the total Australian population are estimated to live. While the exclusion of non-Indigenous persons living in remote areas (estimated to be less than 1%) will have little effect on the overall statistics for non-Indigenous estimates, this is not the case for Indigenous estimates, as an estimated 18% of Indigenous Australians live in these areas.

23 The addition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous estimates contained in this publication may differ slightly from total Australia estimates published in Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, 1999 (Cat. no. 4182.0). This difference results from the method of benchmarking undertaken for the combined main and supplementary sample which differed slightly from that used for the main sample.


DATA COLLECTION

24 Trained ABS interviewers conducted face to face interviews using laptop computers to collect, store and load data. The interviews were conducted during the period 13 September to 10 December 1999.

25 Information about each household was collected from the person who nominated themselves as the head or their spouse/partner. They were asked a series of questions about the basic demographics of all household members, temporary residents, physical aspects of the dwelling, tenure and housing costs.

26 Personal interviews were then conducted with people aged 15 years and over in the household. Information on individual housing costs, housing satisfaction, household transitions, housing history, educational attainment, labour force status, travel, income and assets and liabilities was collected.

27 In households where people aged 15-20 years were living with one or more of their parents but could not be contacted for a face to face interview, the parent or other suitable person was asked to complete the personal interview information on their behalf.

28 While interviews were not conducted with persons aged less than 15 years, their demographic information was provided by the head of the household or their spouse/partner. This information is used to determine variables such as household composition and life-cycle groups and is also included in the counts for items such as number of usual residents in the household and housing utilisation.

29 Standard ABS questions, definitions and classifications were used where possible so that information available from the 1999 AHS can be compared with other sources of standard ABS data. Sample copies of the questionnaire are available upon request to assist clients in analysing the 1999 AHS results (see Appendix 3).

30 For information about data loading and processing procedures undertaken for the AHS refer to the Explanatory Notes section of the Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, 1999 (Cat. no. 4182.0).


SURVEY DESIGN AND ESTIMATION

31 Information on the survey design and estimation for the AHS main sample can be found in the Explanatory Notes in Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, Australia, 1999 (Cat. no. 4182.0).

Sample design

32 The Indigenous sample was designed to produce reliable household and person estimates at the Australian level for people and households that were in the scope of the survey. The Indigenous sample was comprised of two components: Indigenous households identified in the main survey sample (MSS) and Indigenous households identified in the supplementary Indigenous sample (SIS). Both components received the same questionnaire which identified the Indigenous status of all adult residents (people aged 15 years or older) in the household.

33 Of the households identified as Indigenous from the supplementary sample, there were 671 in-scope households, of which 88% responded. This response rate does not take into account the 2.5% of households approached in the SIS that were unable to be contacted to establish their Indigenous status. Separate response rates are not available for the households identified as Indigenous in the MSS.

Fully non-responding households

34 82 in-scope households selected in the SIS did not contribute to the calculation of 1999 Indigenous AHS estimates. Such households included those where either some or all members could not be contacted or refused to participate, had residents with language difficulties, or which were affected by death or illness of a household member.

Final sample

35 The sample on which estimates were based, or the final Indigenous AHS sample, is composed of households for which all necessary information is available. The information may have been wholly provided during the interview or may have been completed through deduction or imputation. The final 1999 Indigenous sample includes 909 households (589 from the SIS and 320 from the MSS) and 1,414 persons (996 from SIS and 418 from MSS). Of these approximately 61 persons, from 37 households, had at least one imputed value.

Weighting

36 Weights are values by which information obtained from a sample of households are multiplied to produce estimates for the whole population. Estimates are produced for persons and households and the weight for each member of a household is the same as the weight for the household itself.

37 Initial weights are based on the two sample designs, the design for the MSS and the design for the SIS, and as such they do not account for loss in sample due to non-response. An adjustment was made to the initial design weights for the SIS sample to account for loss in sample. The adjustment assumes that those households that did not respond to the SIS have similar characteristics to those that did respond. No explicit non-response adjustment was made to the initial design weights for the MSS as it was not possible to determine the Indigenous status of non-respondents.

38 Composite estimation was then used to combine the results from the MSS and the SIS samples, to produce population estimates for Indigenous persons. The composite estimator combines the two data sources to produce a population estimate, where each observation is weighted according to its 'importance' to produce an estimate whose variance is minimised.

Benchmarking

39 To adjust for under-enumeration and to align survey estimates with independent population estimates, the weights were modified to align with person benchmarks (known population totals). Using an iterative procedure (known as calibration), the weights were adjusted so that person estimates conformed with external person benchmarks.

40 Ideally the survey estimates should also have been aligned to conform with external household benchmarks. Unfortunately, no reliable external estimates of Indigenous households existed at the time for the purposes of benchmarking. The person benchmarks were based on experimental Indigenous projections of numbers of Indigenous persons in Australia (low series). The benchmarks included persons residing in occupied private dwellings only and therefore do not, and are not intended to, match estimates of the total Australian resident Indigenous population.

41 While the survey did not enumerate people living in sparsely settled or remote areas the benchmarks include Indigenous people living in these areas, with the exception of Northern Territory. Unfortunately, no reliable external estimates of Indigenous persons in sparsely settled or remote strata existed for the other States, at the time, for the purposes of benchmarking.

Estimation

42 Estimates produced from the survey are in the form of counts (e.g. total Indigenous households living in a privately rented dwelling) and percentages (e.g. percentage of the total number of Indigenous households whose principal source of income is wages or salary) or averages (e.g. average number of usual residents per Indigenous household), quintiles (e.g. upper boundary ($) of the lowest quintile group according to gross weekly household income), and medians (e.g. median weekly income ($) of Indigenous households). The estimate for counts is obtained by summing the weights of all households in the required group (e.g. Indigenous households living in a privately rented dwelling).

43 Percentages are obtained by adding the weighted values, and then dividing by the estimated number of households and multiplying by 100. For example, the percentage of the total number of Indigenous households whose primary source of income is wages or salary is the weighted sum of the number of Indigenous households whose primary source of income is wages or salary, divided by the weighted sum of the number of Indigenous households and then multiplied by 100.

44 Averages are obtained by adding the weighted values, and then dividing by the estimated number of households. For example, average number of usual residents per Indigenous household is the weighted sum of the number of usual residents living in Indigenous households, divided by the weighted sum of Indigenous households.

45 Quintiles are formed by ranking all households in the estimated population by ascending gross weekly income and then dividing the ranked population into five equal groups. For example, the upper boundary ($) of the lowest quintile group according to gross weekly household income is the largest gross weekly income of the lowest 20% of households when ranked by ascending gross weekly income.

46 Medians are formed by ranking all households in the estimated population by ascending gross weekly income and then identifying the point at which at most 50% of the estimated population falls below the point and at most 50% of the estimated population are above the point. For example, the median weekly income ($) of Indigenous households is the gross weekly income of the household at the 50th percentile, where at most 50% of the estimated population falls below the point and at most 50% of the estimated population is above when ranked by ascending gross weekly income.

47 In 1999, the estimated number of Indigenous households living in occupied private dwellings, less those living in sparsely settled areas of the Northern Territory was 145,532. This is an increase of 45.5% from the 1996 Census which cannot be explained by natural increase alone. Likely factors that account for the difference are:
  • a decrease in the average size of Indigenous households (from 3.7 in 1996 Census to 3.3 in 1999) and hence more households;
  • a number of 'not stated' answers to the Indigenous origin question in the 1996 Census;
  • an estimated 7.1% undercount for the Indigenous population in the 1996 Census; and
  • Sampling variability. 1999 estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from occupants of a sample of dwellings, and therefore are subject to sampling variability, that is, the estimates may differ from those that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey.


OTHER DATA SOURCES

48 Data from several sources have been presented in this publication to allow some broad comparisons to be made with Indigenous housing characteristics across collections. These collections include the Census of Population and Housing, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), and the Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS). A brief description about CHINS is provided in the following paragraphs. For information on the other collections outlined above see Appendix 1.

Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS)

49 The CHINS was conducted throughout Australia from August to October 1999.

50 The survey collected information from spokespersons for all:
  • Indigenous housing organisations, including the number of and condition of their housing stock, the number of bedrooms, amount of rent collected and expenditure on repairs and maintenance; and
  • discrete Indigenous communities, including housing and related infrastructure, such as water and power supply, sewerage systems, drainage and roads. Access to health, education and other services was also included.

51 More information on the CHINS is available in Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 1999 (Cat. no. 4710.0).


GLOSSARY

Alterations and additions

Alterations or additions involve any work which significantly changes the original condition of the dwelling or its surrounding land. Some examples of alterations or additions include changing the position of internal walls in a dwelling, adding additional rooms, renovating a kitchen or bathroom, installing a swimming pool, replacing a wooden fence with a metal one, building a garage, etc.

Cash income

Gross current usual cash receipts that are of a regular and recurring nature received by the household or its members at annual or more frequent intervals, from employment, own business, the lending of assets, and transfers from government, private organisations and other households. If income is reported on other than a weekly basis, such as fortnightly, monthly or for the previous financial year, it is pro-rated to a weekly equivalent amount.

Couple

Two people usually residing in the same household who share a social, economic and emotional bond usually associated with marriage and who consider their relationship to be a marriage or marriage-like union. This relationship is identified by the presence of a registered marriage or de facto marriage.

Dependent child

All people aged under 15 years; and people aged 15 to 24 years who are full-time students, have a parent in the household and do not have a partner or child of their own in the household.

Dwelling

A structure, or a discrete space within a structure, intended for people to live in or where a person or group of people live. Thus a structure that people actually live in is a dwelling regardless of its intended purpose, but a vacant structure is only a dwelling if intended for human residence. A dwelling may include one or more rooms used as an office or workshop provided the dwelling is in residential use.

Dwelling condition

In the CHINS, the condition of permanent dwellings owned or managed by an Indigenous housing organisation was categorised according to the extent of repairs required at the time of enumeration in the following way:
  • minor or no repair - defined as repairs of less than $20,000 in low cost areas, $27,000 in medium cost areas, and $33,000 in high cost areas;
  • major repairs - defined as repairs of $20,000 to less than $60,000 in low cost areas, $27,000 to less than $80,000 in medium cost areas, and $33,000 to less than $100,000 in high cost areas;
  • replacement - defined as repairs of $60,000 or more in low cost areas, $80,000 or more in medium cost areas, and $100,000 or more in high cost areas.

Low, medium and high cost areas were defined according to ATSIC Region and the Torres Strait area based on relative building costs provided in Rawlinsons Australian Construction Handbook 1999 (Perth, Rawlhouse Publishing). See Need for repairs to dwelling for AHS.

Earner

A person (excluding a dependent child) who is employed. The earnings of a dependent child are included in total household income.

Employed

A person aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:
  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (includes employees, employers and own account workers); or
  • worked one hour or more, without pay, in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were: on paid leave; on leave without pay for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; stood down without pay because of bad weather or plant breakdown at their place of employment for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; on strike or locked out; on workers' compensation and expected to be returning to their job; or receiving wages or salary while undertaking full-time study; or
  • were employers, own account workers or contributing family workers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.

Family

Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

Flat

A self-contained dwelling without its own private grounds and usually in a block of flats, units or apartments sharing one or more common entrance foyers or stairwells. This category also includes flats attached to houses (e.g. granny flats) and freestanding garages, etc. converted to flats.

Government cash pensions, benefits and allowances

Gross current usual (weekly equivalent) cash receipts from government pensions, benefits and allowances paid to persons, families or households.

Gross income

Regular cash receipts before tax or other deductions are made.

Gross weekly income quintiles

Quintiles are formed by ranking the population by ascending gross weekly income and then dividing the ranked population into five equal groups. The values which correspond to gross weekly income quintiles used in this publication are as follows:

For Indigenous households:

  • Lowest
Less than or equal to $342
  • Second
$343 to $524
  • Third
$525 to $854
  • Fourth
$855 to $1,297
  • Highest
More than $1,297

For non-Indigenous households:

  • Lowest
Less than or equal to $308
  • Second
$309 to $597
  • Third
$598 to $967
  • Fourth
$968 to $1,479
  • Highest
More than $1,479

Group household

A household consisting of two or more unrelated people where all persons are aged 15 years or over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.

Household

A group of people who live and eat together as a single unit within a dwelling. This may be:
  • a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or
  • a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

Housing costs

Housing costs are the ongoing outlays incurred by a dwelling's occupants in providing for their shelter. The housing related outlays that contribute to housing costs in the 1999 AHS are:
  • mortgage or loan repayments (secured or unsecured) where the purpose of the loan is to buy or build, add to or alter the dwelling;
  • rental payments;
  • water and general council rates;
  • land tax payments;
  • body corporate or strata title payments; and
  • expenditure on repairs and maintenance for the dwelling.

Only payments which relate to the dwelling occupied at time of interview i.e. the respondent's usual place of residence are included. Payments for other dwellings are not regarded as housing costs, even if the usual dwelling has been offered as security.

For further information regarding the derivation of housing costs in the 1999 AHS, refer to Appendix 1: Measuring Housing Costs, Australian Housing Survey, Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions (Cat. no. 4182.0).

Housing utilisation

Provides a measure of the bedroom requirements of a household according to household size and composition (see Explanatory Notes).

Indigenous household

For the AHS and Census data included in this publication a household which contains at least one person who is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin and who is aged 15 years or over.

In the NATSIS, a household was categorised as Indigenous if one or more members of the household identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Labour force status

A person's standing in relation to the currently economically active segment of the population. A person may be classified as employed, unemployed or not in the labour force.

Landlord

The entity with which the person or household obtains the contractual right to occupy the dwelling. It is the legal entity to whom rent is paid or with whom the tenure contract or arrangement is made.

Lone parent

A person who has no spouse or partner present in the household but who forms a parent-child relationship with at least one dependent or non-dependent child usually resident in the household.

Lone person household

A household comprised of an individual who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person to form part of a multi-person household.

Mean

The sum of values divided by the number of values.

Median

The middle value of a set of values when the values are sorted in order.

Need for repairs to dwelling

For the purposes of AHS data in this publication, a summary measure of need for repairs to dwelling was derived from two variables, need for external repairs and need for internal repairs. See Explanatory Notes (paragraph 14) for details of the derivation used to create this measure.

Negative income

The loss incurred by an unincorporated enterprise or from rental property when the operating expenses and depreciation exceed the gross receipts.

Non-dependent child

A natural, step, adopted or foster child of a couple or lone parent usually resident in the household, aged over 15 years and who is not a full-time student aged 15-24 years, and who has no partner or child of his or her own usually resident in the household.

Not in the labour force

A person who, during the reference week, was not in the categories employed or unemployed, as defined.

One parent with dependent children

A household consisting of a lone parent with dependent children only or a lone parent with dependent and non-dependent children.

Other cash income

Includes:
  • life assurance annuity benefits such as superannuation;
  • regular cash receipts from private organisations such as insurance payments (including workers' compensation), and private scholarships or study allowances;
  • regular receipts from other households in the form of child support/maintenance, inheritances and trust funds; and
  • net receipts accruing in the current reference period as a result of ownership of assets. This comprises returns from financial assets (interest, dividends), from physical assets (rents) and from intellectual assets (royalties).

Other couple household

A household containing a couple with non-dependent children only or a couple with dependent and non-dependent children. These households may also contain other relatives.

Other household

A household consisting of a lone parent with non-dependent children only, with or without other relatives. It also includes households with multiple families.

Other private dwelling

Includes:
  • movable dwellings (e.g. caravans, campervans, mobile homes, houseboats, other boats equipped with berths, site sheds, demountables, etc.); and
  • improvised or makeshift dwellings (e.g. tents, rough shacks, tarps, lean-tos, offices or vehicles not converted for dwelling purposes, etc.).

Other landlord

A household paying rent to:
  • a parent or other relative in the same dwelling;
  • the owner/manager of a caravan park;
  • an employer (including a government authority);
  • a housing cooperative, community or church group; or
  • any other landlord not included elsewhere.

Other renter

A household paying rent to:
  • a parent or other relative in the same dwelling;
  • the owner/manager of a caravan park;
  • an employer (including a government authority);
  • a housing cooperative, community or church group; or
  • any other landlord not included elsewhere.

Other tenure

A tenure type other than owner or renter. It includes:
  • life tenure schemes;
  • rent/buy (or shared equity) schemes; or
  • tenure types not included elsewhere (e.g. house-sitting, payment in kind for a specific service).

Owner with a mortgage

A household's tenure type is owner with a mortgage if anyone in the household is making payments on a mortgage or loans secured against the dwelling, regardless of the purpose of the mortgage or secured loan.

Owner without a mortgage

A household's tenure type is owner without a mortgage if no-one in the household is making payments on a mortgage or loans secured against the dwelling. (Thus persons who have repaid a loan but technically not discharged the associated mortgage are included in this category.)

Principal source of cash income

The source from which the greatest amount of cash income is received. If the total income of the household is zero or negative, the principal source is undefined.

Private dwelling

A self-contained dwelling intended for occupation by one or more usual residents; or movable, makeshift or improvised dwellings occupied by one or more usual residents.

Private dwelling structure

Determined by the structure of the building that contains the dwelling. In this publication, dwellings are grouped into one of four categories:
  • separate house;
  • semidetached;
  • flat; and
  • and other private dwelling.

Private landlord

A household paying rent to a real estate agent; parent or other relative, or another person not in the same dwelling.

Reference person

The reference person for each household is chosen by applying, to all usual residents aged 15 years and over in the household, the selection criteria below, in order of precedence, until a single appropriate reference person is identified:
  • the person with the highest tenure type ranked from owner without a mortgage, owner with a mortgage, renter, other tenure;
  • the person with the highest income;
  • the eldest person.

For example, in a household containing a lone parent with a non-dependent child, the person with the highest tenure will become the reference person. If the non-dependent child is an owner with a mortgage and the lone parent lives in the dwelling rent free, the non-dependent child will become the reference person. If both individuals have the same tenure, the one with the higher income will be the reference person. However, if both individuals have the same income, the reference person is the elder.

Rent

A return or payment made periodically by a tenant to an owner or landlord in return for lodgement.

Rent/buy (or shared equity) scheme

The household is both purchasing some equity in the dwelling, and paying rent for the remainder.

Rent free

A household where no money is exchanged for lodgement but the household is not an owner of the dwelling.

Renter

A household where money is exchanged to another person or organisation in return for lodging. In this publication, renters are further classified into one of three broad types according to whom rent is paid:
  • State or Territory housing authority;
  • private landlord;
  • other landlord.

Repairs and maintenance

Repairs and maintenance involve any work undertaken with the purpose of either preventing deterioration or repairing something to its original condition. Repairs and maintenance are usually of a lesser value than alterations and additions. Some examples include replacing washers, replacing broken roof tiles, re-painting internal walls, etc.

Semidetached

This category covers dwellings with their own private grounds and no dwelling above or below. A key feature of these dwellings is that they are either attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings or are separated from neighbouring dwellings by less than 1/2 a metre. Examples include semidetached, row or terrace houses, townhouses, and villa units. Multi-storey townhouses or units are separately identified from those which are single storey.

Separate house

A self-contained dwelling which is separated from other dwellings by at least 0.5 metres. This category also includes houses that have an attached flat (e.g. a granny flat), shop, office, etc. The attached flat will be included in the flat category.

Sparsely settled area

Refers to Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) in remote areas in which the dwelling density for the SLA as a whole was less than 0.057 dwellings per square kilometres (or 57 dwellings per 100 square kilometres). In 1999, approximately 184,958 people lived in sparsely settled areas, of whom about 73,105 were Indigenous and 111,853 were non-Indigenous.

Tenure type

The nature of a person's or household's legal right to occupy the dwelling in which they usually reside. It is determined by responses to questions about ownership, payment to purchase, and rental arrangements. In this publication, households are grouped into one of four broad tenure categories:
  • owner without a mortgage;
  • owner with a mortgage;
  • renter; and
  • other tenure.

Unemployed

A person aged 15 years and over who was not employed during the reference week, had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and;
  • was available for work in the reference week, or would have been available except for temporary illness (i.e. lasting for less than four weeks to the end of the reference week); or
  • was waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and would have started in the reference week if the job had been available then; or
  • was waiting to be called back to a full-time or part-time job from which they had been stood down without pay for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week (including the whole of the reference week) for reasons other than bad weather or plant breakdown.

Wage or salary cash income

Gross current usual (weekly equivalent) wages or salary from an employer or own limited liability (incorporated) company.

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