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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress

Home

Australians aspire to have secure places to live that provide a sense of belonging and home, and are adequate to their needs
Graph Image for Homelessness rate per 10,000 population

Footnote(s): (a) Based on ABS statistical definition of homelessness. (b) Rates are based on the census count of persons (based on place of usual residence, excluding usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions).;(a) Based on ABS statistical definition of homelessness. (b) Rates are based on the census count of persons (based on place of usual residence, excluding usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions).(c) Data is not available for 2001.;(a) Based on ABS statistical definition of homelessness. (b) Rates are based on the census count of persons (based on place of usual residence, excluding usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions).(c) Data is not available for 2001.;(a) Based on ABS statistical definition of homelessness. (b) Rates are based on the census count of persons (based on place of usual residence, excluding usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions).;(a) Based on ABS statistical definition of homelessness. (b) Rates are based on the census count of persons (based on place of usual residence, excluding usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions).

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011 (cat. no. 2049.0); ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011 (cat. no. 2049.0); ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011 (cat. no. 2049.0); ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011 (cat. no. 2049.0); ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011 (cat. no. 2049.0)

Image: Tilde - Not changed greatly

Home in Australia has not changed greatly over the last decade

    Indicator: Homelessness rate

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that 'home' means a great deal to people in many different ways. A home provides shelter from the elements, privacy, safety from harm, and the essential infrastructure needed for living with dignity. A home can also contribute to a sense of belonging, of being settled and engender feelings of pride, security and ownership. Homes can be central to building positive relationships and communities. For a home to provide these wellbeing and social benefits, it should be adequately constructed, equipped with necessary amenities and provide sufficient space for social relations and located so that services and amenities are accessible. Also, a home needs to be affordable and appropriate for those living in them. For example, it should cater for the different needs of people at different stages of life, their physical abilities, and their cultural context.

    How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

    We have decided there has been little change in the theme of home in Australia since 2001 because the measure we have chosen as the headline progress indicator for home, the homelessness rate, has shown little progress.

    The homelessness rate was 49 persons for every 10,000 persons counted in the most recent 2011 Census. This is up 8% from the 45 persons for every 10,000 in 2006, but down on the 51 persons for every 10,000 in 2001.

    However, based on the numbers of homeless people, there were more people homeless on census night 2011 than in either 2006 or 2001. In 2011, it is estimated that 105,237 people were homeless on census night, an increase from 89,728 people estimated to be homeless in 2006 and the 95,314 in 2001.

    Why this headline progress indicator?

    Having a home that is adequate, with security of tenure and access to and control of space is an important part of the aspiration for home.

    The homelessness rate is considered a good measure of progress for home because it represents the absence of these core elements of a 'home'. The ABS definition of homelessness is informed by an understanding of homelessness as 'home'lessness, not 'roof'lessness (ABS, 2012) and therefore includes those people living in overcrowded housing. The ABS definition also emphasises a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space as core elements of 'home'. Homelessness is therefore a lack of one or more of the elements that represent 'home'. Tracking the 'progress' of homelessness as an indicator is one way of assessing whether we are closer to achieving the aspiration for home.

    For more information on homelessness see Information Paper: A Statistical Definition of Homelessness (cat. no. 4922.0).

    The estimated homelessness rate is a clear progress indicator as it is able to show whether there has been change over time and the direction of that change.

    Quality assessment (see key)

    Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of the concept of home as described above (based on Aspirations for our Nation).

    Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

    Let's break it down!

    In 2011, the homelessness rate rose by 20% or more in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory from 2006. The Northern Territory had the largest decrease between 2006 and 2011, where the homelessness rate decreased by 8%. The Northern Territory had the highest rate of homelessness of any state and territory.

    Most of the increase in homelessness between 2006 and 2011 was due to an increase in the number of people living in severely overcrowded dwellings, up from 31,531 in 2006 to 41,390 in 2011. Younger Australians were more likely to be homeless with 60% of all homeless people in 2011 aged under 35 years old.

    Males were also more likely to be homeless, with the rate being 56 homeless males for every 10,000 males, compared with 42 homeless females for every 10,000 females. This was an increase for males from 2006 (up from 52 homeless males per 10,000 males) and for females (up from 38 females per 10,000 females).

    Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

    But that is not the whole story...

    There is more to home than the homelessness rate. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of home have progressed.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Households living in overcrowded conditions(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Overcrowded conditions are defined as households requiring one or more extra bedrooms under the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. (b) Includes other tenure type, which accounted for about 2% of all households in 2011-2012.;(a) Overcrowded conditions are defined as households requiring one or more extra bedrooms under the Canadian National Occupancy Standard.;(a) Overcrowded conditions are defined as households requiring one or more extra bedrooms under the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. (b) Includes other landlord type, which accounted for about 4% of all renters in 2011-12.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, Surveys of Income and Housing; ABS data available on request, Surveys of Income and Housing; ABS data available on request, Surveys of Income and Housing

Adequate housing in Australia has not changed greatly since 2004

Indicator: Proportion of households living in overcrowded conditions

Why is this element important?

Housing adequacy is a relative concept and can be considered in a number of ways depending on peoples' views of what is adequate. For this element, housing adequacy is defined as the suitability of a home to permit a reasonable quality of life, with adequate access to employment and education; health and community services and public amenities. This covers aspects such as whether a home is of sufficient size so that its occupants are not living in overcrowded conditions; whether a home is in reasonable repair; provides the basic amenities; and is located to allow access to essential services.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about home.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided adequate housing in Australia has shown little change since 2004 because the number of households living in overcrowded conditions (our progress indicator for adequate housing) hasn't moved much.

In 2011-12, the proportion of households living in overcrowded conditions was 3%, which was unchanged since 2003-04. Australian households were assessed as overcrowded where they required one or more extra bedrooms to accommodate the usual residents, as defined by the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) (an international measure of housing utilisation which is widely used - see glossary).

Why this progress indicator?

Housing adequacy is an important part of the aspiration for home and reflects the suitability of a home to allow a reasonable quality of life.

Households living in overcrowded conditions is considered a good measure of progress for adequate housing because it indicates whether Australians have access to appropriate housing which is of sufficient size. Living in overcrowded conditions impacts people's ability to have privacy and control of space in their homes and is likely to have impacts on the health and wellbeing of people. However, there are many other aspects of adequate housing that are not covered by this indicator including whether a dwelling is in reasonable repair and provides the basic amenities and has a sufficient location to allow for access to services which are considered essential by the community.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of adequate housing.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Households that owned their own homes (with or without a mortgage) were less likely to be living in overcrowded conditions (2% in 2011-12) than Australian households which were renting (5.5% in 2011-12). Households who owned their home without a mortgage were the least likely to be living in overcrowded households (1.2% in 2011-12). Those renting in the private market were more likely to be living in overcrowded conditions than other Australian households (6% in 2011-12).

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to home than adequate housing. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of home have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Rental costs(a) as a proportion of household income(b)(c) for low income rental households(d)(e)(f)

Footnote(s): (a) Rental costs is amount paid in rent plus general and water rates paid by the household less Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA). (b) Household income is gross household income excluding CRA. (c) Excludes households with nil or negative household income. (d) Estimates presented from 2007-08 onwards are not directly comparable with estimates for previous cycles due to improvements made to measuring income introduced in the 2007-08 cycle. Estimates for 2003-04 and 2005-06 have been recompiled to reflect the new treatments of income, however not all new components introduced in 2007-08 are available for earlier cycles. (e) Low income households are those in the bottom two quintiles of equivalised disposable household income excluding CRA. (f) Includes other landlord type, which accounted for about 4% of all renters in 2011-12.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, Surveys of Income and Housing

Affordable housing in Australia has regressed since 2004

Indicator: Rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income rental households

Why is this element important?

Housing affordability is most often seen as the capacity of households to meet their current and future housing costs from their own economic resources. Those resources are mainly their current and future incomes, but may also include assets. Many households exercise choice in making their consumption, savings or investment decisions, including for housing. Housing affordability measures should shed light on the economic circumstances of households that may experience difficulty entering or remaining in the housing market, because of their limited economic resources or changing circumstances.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about home.

How have we decided there has been regress?

We have decided affordable housing in Australia has regressed since 2004 because rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income rental households, (our progress indicator for affordable housing) have increased.

Since 2004, rental affordability for low income households in Australia has declined. Rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income rental households was 26% in 2003-04, compared to 30% in 2011-12. There has been an increase in rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income private renter households from 28% in 2003-04 to 32% in 2011-12; whereas rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income public renters have not changed significantly from 2003-04 to 2011-12 (at approximately 22%).

Why this progress indicator?

Affordable housing is an important part of the aspiration for home. As housing costs are often the largest regular expense to be met out of a household's income, rising housing costs can influence the amount of income households have available to meet other needs. Most Australian households are able to exercise a significant degree of housing choice when making their consumption, savings, and investment decisions. But for many low income households, renting is often the only affordable option, and suitable rental dwellings can become less accessible when rents rise faster than incomes.

Rental costs as a proportion of household income for low income rental households is considered a good measure of progress for affordable housing because it tells us about how well those with limited economic resources can access affordable housing. This is an important consideration when assessing whether housing affordability in Australia is getting better. Low income rental affordability (the proportion of rental costs to household income) measures the ability of low income households to access affordable rental accommodation - a fundamental requirement for those who, due to their limited economic resources, are likely to have to rent. An increase in this proportion reflects increasing difficulty for people with lower incomes to both access suitable rental accommodation and meet other costs of living (as households are required to spend more of their household income, at the expense of other household costs or savings). In contrast, if the proportion declines, then households will have less financial pressure in meeting their various non-housing costs of living, or saving requirements.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' This indicator is a direct measure of affordable housing.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to home than affordable housing. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of home have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Households that own their own home

Source(s): ABS data available on request, Surveys of Income and Housing

Tenure, as measured by the level of home ownership in Australia, has regressed since 1995

Indicator: Proportion of households that own their own home (with or without a mortgage)

Why is this element important?

Australians told us that having secure tenure is an important aspect of home. Tenure not only refers to a person's legal right to occupy a dwelling but the stability and security that it provides. Tenure can include owning (with or without a mortgage) a dwelling and /or land; and renting, with a formal lease or similar arrangement. Those who own their own homes are widely considered to have greater security in being able to stay in the dwelling, freedom to modify it and the ability to use it as a substantial financial asset. However, there are benefits of renting as well, including; a smaller financial commitment, opportunity of making financial investments in other assets and the flexibility to move elsewhere.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about home.

How have we decided there has been regress?

We have decided tenure in Australia has regressed since 1995 because the proportion of households that own their home (with or without a mortgage), our progress indicator for tenure, has decreased.

Since the mid-nineties, the proportion of Australian households that own their own home (with or without a mortgage) has declined from 71% (or 4.7 million owners) to 67% (or 5.8 million owners) in 2012.

The decline in home ownership may be a result of a number of factors such as affordability or changing work or family circumstances. Over this period there has been a decline in the proportion of Australian households that own their home without a mortgage, from 42% in 1995 to 31% in 2012 and an increase in the proportion of households that own their home with a mortgage, from 30% in 1995 to 37% in 2012. The decline in outright home ownership may, in part, reflect increasing uptake of flexible low-cost financing options which allows households to extend their existing home mortgages for purposes other than the original home purchase. This indicator reflects the proportions of households which occupy a home which they own; however there is also a proportion of households which own residential property which they do not currently reside in (4% in 2011-12).

Why this progress indicator?

Tenure is an important part of the aspiration for home.

The proportion of households that own their home (with or without a mortgage) is considered a good measure of progress of tenure because it captures a substantial group of those who have tenure in the housing market in Australia. Renters are also an important group who have tenure in the housing market, although this tenure is less secure. Changes in tenure patterns (i.e. between ownership and renting) over time may reflect the choices that Australians make in relation to their housing and investment options.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of tenure.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to home than tenure. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of home have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter
Graph Image for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise an area as homelands or traditional country(a)
A sense of belonging in Australia has not changed greatly since 1994

Indicator: Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise an area as homelands or traditional country

Why is this element important?

Home means a great deal to people in many different ways. It contributes to a sense of belonging, of being settled and engenders feelings of pride, security and ownership. Australians thought that the feeling of belonging was an important part of people's sense of home, expressing the emotional, spiritual and physical ties that may exist between humans and the places where they feel they belong and are at home.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about home.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' sense of belonging to their homelands in Australia has shown little change since 1994 because the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise an area as homelands or traditional country, hasn't moved much.

In 2008, 72% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognised an area as their homelands or traditional country, a similar rate to that in the mid-nineties of 75%. Recognition of an area as homeland or traditional country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is not related specifically to men or women, it is culturally significant, with men and women equally likely to recognise an area as their homeland or traditional country.

Why this progress indicator?

Recognising an area as homelands or traditional country is an important part of the aspiration for home.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise an area as homelands or traditional country is considered a good measure of progress for belonging because it measures an important aspect of belonging - the idea of feeling connected to a particular area or place. Homelands give Aboriginal people a sense of 'home' and a sense of belonging and bring communities together, through being able to contribute to their cultural responsibilities of caring for their country. The recognition of homelands or traditional country also encompasses those who don't live in those places, highlighting the fact that a person may not live in a place where they feel a sense of belonging. For these people and a great many others, belonging may include places where they are currently, as well as other places in their heart.

There is currently no equivalent indicator for the broader Australian community.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of belonging.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Young adults were least likely to recognise their homeland in 2008 but this was also true in 1994. One of the significant changes between 1994 and 2008 was that in 2008, 61% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15-24 recognised an area as their homeland, a significantly lower proportion than 1994 of 68%. During this time, none of the age groups above 25 years of age recorded significant decreases in the proportion of people who recognised an area as their homeland or traditional country.

Recognition of homeland is not restricted to those people who live on their homeland. The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise land as their homeland or traditional country did not currently live on that land in 1994 (61%). This measure remained the case in 2008, where of the majority of people who recognised an area as their homeland or traditional country, just under two thirds did not live in that area (65%).

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to home than belonging. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of home have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

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