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2049.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2013   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: A SPOTLIGHT ON 'SEVERE' CROWDING


INTRODUCTION

In 2011, 105,215 people - or 0.5% of the Australian population - were classified as being homeless on Census night (up from 89,728 in 2006) (Table 1).

TABLE 1. HOMELESS OPERATIONAL GROUPS, 2001, 2006 and 2011

2001
2006
2011
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%

Persons who are in improvised dwellings, tents or sleepers out
8 946
9
7 247
8
6 811
6
Persons in supported accommodation for the homeless
13 420
14
17 329
19
21 259
20
Persons staying temporarily with other households
17 880
19
17 663
20
17 374
17
Persons staying in boarding houses
21 300
22
15 460
17
17 718
17
Persons in other temporary lodging
338
-
500
1
683
1
Persons living in 'severely' crowded dwellings
33 430
35
31 531
35
41 370
39
Total homeless persons
95 314
100
89 728
100
105 215
100

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
** On review the ABS has found 24 duplicate records out of over 105,000 records. This change is reflected in this feature article and will be in all future statistical releases.

People living in 'severely' crowded dwellings (i.e. usual residents of dwellings which needed four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate them adequately) have been the largest homeless group in each of the last three Censuses (39% of all homeless persons in 2011) (Table 1). While the total number of people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings fell slightly between 2001 and 2006, it jumped 31% (or 9,839 people) to 41,370 in 2011 and accounted for most of the rise in homelessness (Table 1).

This article uses the ABS Census of Population and Housing to examine the characteristics and circumstances of the two key population groups that comprised the majority of the homeless population living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings in 2011, that is:
1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and persons living with them comprised 51% of persons living in 'severely crowded dwelling);
2. Persons born overseas (persons born overseas and persons living with them comprised 45% of persons living in 'severely crowded dwelling) (Table 2).

TABLE 2. 'SEVERELY' CROWDED DWELLINGS, 2001, 2006 and 2011

'Severely' crowded dwellings
2001
2006
2011

Dwellings with one or more persons born overseas*
Dwellings
People
Average no. of people per dwelling

918
7 744
8

1 156
9 509
8

2 306
18 426
8
Dwellings with one or more Indigenous persons
Dwellings
People
Average no. of people per dwelling

2 004
23 994
12

1 717
20 028
12

1 811
21 009
12
Other 'severely' crowded dwellings
Dwellings
People
Average no. of people per dwelling

267
1 943
7

298
2 223
7

343
2 426
7
Total - 'severely' crowded dwellings**
Dwellings
People
Average no. of people per dwelling

3 162
33 430
11

3 139

31 531
10

4 406
41 370
9

* Persons born overseas include all people born outside of Australia and it's external territories (Australia, Australian External Territories, Norfolk Island and the Australian Antarctic Territory). People with a country of birth which was inadequately described were classified as born overseas, but not those who did not state their country of birth.
** Components may not add to total as categories of dwellings with one or more Indigenous persons and dwellings with one or more persons born overseas are not mutually exclusive.


1) ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples made up 2.5% of the Australian population in 2011. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians accounted for 25% of all persons who were homeless on Census night in 2011 (26,744). Of those who were classified as homeless, 75% were living in 'severely' crowded dwellings.

In 2011, there were 20,055 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in 1,811 'severely' crowded dwellings. On average, there were 12 people per dwelling, a rate that has been steady for the past three Censuses. More than a third of the 'severely' crowded dwellings (34% of dwellings) with one or more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples required six or more extra bedrooms according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (Figure 3).

FIGURE 3. EXTRA BEDROOMS REQUIRED IN 'SEVERELY' CROWDED DWELLINGS, Dwellings with one or more Indigenous persons, 2011

The majority of 'severely' crowded dwellings with one or more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were located in very remote Australia (71%), based on the 2006 remoteness classification. Only 10% of such dwellings were in major cities. Fifty-seven per cent were located in the Northern Territory, with large proportions also found in Queensland (18%) and Western Australia (14%) (Figure 4).

FIGURE 4. REMOTENESS OF 'SEVERELY' CROWDED DWELLINGS, Dwellings with one or more Indigenous persons, 2011




2) PERSONS BORN OVERSEAS
    There has been an increase in the number of persons born overseas living in Australia in recent years. In the 2011 Census, there were 5.3 million persons who were born overseas, compared to 4.4 million in the 2006 Census. There has also been an increase in the rate of persons born overseas living in a 'severely' crowded dwellings. In 2011, 25 in every 10,000 persons born overseas lived in a ‘severely’ crowed dwelling, compared to 15 in every 10,000 persons in 2006.

    The increase in the number and rate of homeless persons born overseas living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings was the major contributor to the overall increase in homelessness between 2006 and 2011. However, increases were also seen in the number of persons in supported accommodation for the homeless and persons staying in boarding houses.

    In 2011, consistent with the previous two Censuses, there were on average eight people per 'severely' crowded dwelling with one or more persons born overseas. Most 'severely' crowded dwellings with one or more persons born overseas were located in a capital city (89%), mainly Sydney (42%) or Melbourne (28%) (Figure 5).

    FIGURE 5. LOCATION OF 'SEVERELY' CROWDED DWELLINGS, Dwellings with one or more persons born overseas, 2011

    Forty-nine per cent of 'severely' crowded dwellings with one or more persons born overseas were one-family households; 32% were multi-family households; and 19% were group households. The majority of persons living in a ‘severely’ crowded dwelling with one or more persons born overseas were aged less than 35 years (76%), with 31% being aged 18 years or under.

    Census data (2011) shows that compared to privately occupied dwellings with one or more persons born overseas which were not 'severely' crowded, dwellings with one or more persons born overseas which were 'severely' crowded were more likely to:
    be rented (61% compared to 30%);
    be multi-family households (32% compared to 3%); and
    have lower weekly equivalised household incomes (31% compared to 21% below $400; and 31% compared to 56% at or above $600).

    In addition, persons in these dwellings were more likely to:
    have been born overseas (71% compared to 63%) and to have arrived in Australia within the last 5 years (34% compared to 12%);
    have been born in India, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Iraq if born overseas;
    be unemployed (8% compared to 4%) or not in the labour force (46% compared to 35%), if eligible to be in the labour force;
    be students (45% compared to 26%); and
    not speak English well or at all (19% compared to 7%).

    The following sections provide information on the country of birth and year of arrival for homeless people born overseas living in 'severely' crowded dwellings.

    Year of arrival

    Of the 12,990 persons born overseas living in a 'severely' crowded dwelling in 2011, nearly half had arrived within the last five years (48%), and about two-thirds had arrived within the last 10 years (67%) (Figure 6).

    FIGURE 6. YEAR OF ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA, Persons born overseas in 'severely' crowded dwellings, 2011




    Persons who arrived in Australia more recently were more likely to be living in a 'severely' crowded dwelling. In 2011, the rate of persons living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings was:
    62 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived in the last five years;
    38 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived between six and 10 years ago; and
    10 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived more than 10 years ago.
      Furthermore, the rates of persons living in 'severely' crowded dwellings in 2011 were higher compared to 2006:
      48 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived in the last five years;
      19 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived between six and 10 years ago; and
      7 in every 10,000 persons born overseas who arrived more than 10 years ago.

      Country of birth

      In 2011, of the 12,990 persons born overseas living in 'severely' crowded dwellings: 11% were born in India; 10% in New Zealand; 9% in China; 8% in Afghanistan; 8% in Vietnam; 6% in Iraq; and 3% in Nepal. Between 2006 and 2011, the greatest increases were from persons born in these countries, which together accounted for 60% of the increase of persons born overseas living in 'severely' crowded dwellings (Table 7).

      TABLE 7. PERSONS BORN OVERSEAS LIVING IN 'SEVERELY' CROWDED DWELLINGS, 2006 and 2011

      2006
      2011

      Country of birth
      no.
      %
      Rate per 10 000 of each pop. group
      no.
      %
      Rate per 10 000 of each pop. group

      PERSONS WHO ARRIVED IN AUS. IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS*

      India
      799
      26
      148
      1 208
      19
      90
      New Zealand
      160
      5
      24
      441
      7
      43
      China***
      148
      5
      24
      691
      11
      64
      Afghanistan
      181
      6
      313
      509
      8
      606
      Vietnam
      97
      3
      87
      311
      5
      141
      Iraq
      213
      7
      239
      299
      5
      230
      Nepal
      12
      0
      61
      363
      6
      200
      All persons born overseas
      3 098
      100
      48
      6 254
      100
      62

      PERSONS WHO ARRIVED IN AUS. MORE THAN FIVE YEARS AGO**

      India
      149
      5
      16
      259
      4
      16
      New Zealand
      314
      9
      10
      808
      12
      21
      China***
      85
      3
      6
      451
      7
      21
      Afghanistan
      138
      4
      126
      527
      8
      261
      Vietnam
      612
      18
      41
      710
      11
      44
      Iraq
      184
      6
      78
      436
      6
      124
      Nepal
      12
      0
      46
      50
      1
      77
      All persons born overseas
      3 309
      100
      9
      6 736
      100
      16

      ALL PERSONS BORN OVERSEAS

      India
      948
      15
      64
      1 467
      11
      50
      New Zealand
      474
      7
      12
      1 249
      10
      26
      China***
      233
      4
      11
      1 142
      9
      36
      Afghanistan
      319
      5
      190
      1 036
      8
      362
      Vietnam
      709
      11
      44
      1 021
      8
      55
      Iraq
      397
      6
      122
      735
      6
      153
      Nepal
      24
      0
      53
      413
      3
      168
      All persons born overseas
      6 407
      100
      15
      12 990
      100
      25

      * Includes persons who arrived in Australia in the Census year or the four years prior to the Census.
      ** Includes persons born overseas who did not state their year of arrival to Australia.
      *** Excludes Special Administrative Regions of China and Taiwan

      The rates of persons born overseas living in 'severely' crowded dwellings were highest for persons born in Afghanistan, Nepal and Iraq. Persons born in those countries were also much more likely to still be living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings after being in Australia for more than five years.


      SUMMARY

      In 2011, 105,215 people - or 0.5% of the Australian population - were classified as being homeless on Census night (up from 89,728 in 2006).
      People in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings have been the largest homeless group in the last three Censuses.
      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people born overseas are over-represented in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings.
      The number of people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings jumped 31% (or 9,839 people) between 2006 and 2011, driven by an almost doubling in the number of ‘severely’ crowded dwellings with one or more persons born overseas.
      In 2011, the largest increase for people born overseas living in 'severely' crowded dwellings was from people born in China, New Zealand, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Iraq and Vietnam. Together these countries accounted for 60% of the increase seen between 2006 and 2011.

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