Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Census: Education

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MEDIA RELEASE
23 October 2017
143/2017

Strong improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education outcomes


The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who had completed Year 12 or its equivalent rose by more than ten per cent from 2006 to 2016, latest Census data shows.

Almost half (47 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged 20 to 24 years reported in the 2016 Census that they had completed Year 12 or its equivalent. This was an increase of 15 per cent between 2006 (when 32 per cent reported they’d completed) and 2016 (when 47 per cent reported they had).

There was further growth across different levels of education attainment. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons in the Census holding Certificate III and IV level qualifications rose from 28,200 in 2006 to 70,900 in 2016, an increase of more than 150 per cent.

Census Program Manager Bindi Kindermann said the latest Census data showed improvements in education outcomes across a range of measures.

“By looking at the data from the 2006 Census to 2016 we can see increases in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons across a range of levels of education,” Ms Kindermann said.

The Census results show that the highest Year 12 completion rates in 2016 were in the Australian Capital Territory (57 per cent) and Queensland (42 per cent) while the Northern Territory had the lowest proportion (22 per cent).

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged 15-64 attending university or another tertiary institution more than doubled from 7,000 in 2006 (2.6 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population) to 15,400 in 2016 (3.9 per cent).

Ms Kindermann encouraged all Australians to make the most of the new data source.

“The new Census data released today will prove to be an incredibly valuable resource for Australia moving forward over the next five years and beyond.

“The information gives further insight into how Australians’ are living, working, studying and where they’re coming from,” Ms Kindermann said.

Census data is available free online. Use one of our easy tools such as QuickStats or Community Profiles to access the latest data for your area or topic of interest.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER EDUCATION DATA


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons with non-school qualifications – by Level of Highest Educational Attainment

2016
2011
Growth (%)

Postgraduate Degree Level
3,708
2,027
82.9%
Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate
3,136
1,799
74.3%
Bachelor Degree
18,072
12,144
48.8%
Advanced Diploma and Diploma Level
23,795
13,432
77.2%
Certificate III & IV Level
70,935
46,250
53.4%

*Applicable only to persons aged 15 years and over


Total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons with non-school qualifications – by Field of Study

2016
2011
Growth (%)

Society and Culture
27,105
16,262
66.7%
Management and Commerce
26,807
17,640
52.0%
Engineering and Related Technologies
20,751
13,565
53.0%
Health
14,539
9,604
51.4%
Education
11,987
7,897
51.8%
Food, Hospitality and Personal Services
11,573
7,335
57.8%
Architecture and Building
11,071
7,502
47.6%
Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies
5,642
4,208
34.1%
Creative Arts
4,546
3,191
42.5%
Information Technology
1,881
1,323
42.2%
Natural and Physical Sciences
1,415
821
72.4%

*Non-school qualifications can be gained without necessarily completing Year 12. Counts are only applicable to persons aged 15 years and over