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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

FAMILY, KINSHIP AND COMMUNITY

FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households tend to be larger, are more likely to be 'non-nuclear', and are more fluid in composition than most other Australian households.

In 2008, just over three-quarters (77%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households were single family households (table 3.9). A further 7% were multiple family households and 13% were lone person households. The average size of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households was 3.4 people (3.3 people in non-remote areas and 4.1 people in remote areas).

The larger average size of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in remote areas reflects the higher prevalence of multiple family households in these areas compared with non-remote areas (16% compared with 5%). In remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander multiple family households had an average of 8.1 people per household, compared with an average 3.9 people in single family households.


3.9 FAMILY COMPOSITION OF HOUSEHOLD, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households—2008
Non-remote areas
Remote areas
Australia
%
%
%

Single family households
Couple family with dependent children(a)
30.9
27.3
30.3
One parent family with dependent children(a)
19.7
16.9
19.2
Couple only
15.3
11.1
14.6
Other single family households(a)
13.1
12.4
13.0
Total single family households
79.0
67.6
77.1
Multiple family households
4.7
16.5
6.7
Lone person(a)
13.2
14.9
13.5
Group households
3.0
*1.1
2.7
no.
no.
no.
Total households 
160 700
32 800
193 400

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Difference between non-remote and remote rate is not statistically significant.

Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


Of the 149,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander single family households in 2008, more than half (59%) had one or more dependent children aged 0–14 years. More than one-quarter (29%) of single family households had two or three dependent children aged 0–14 years, and 7% had four or more.


PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES

Characteristics of parents

In 2008, an estimated 124,800 (or 38%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were parents or guardians of at least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child aged 0–14 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females were much more likely than males to have parenting responsibilities for children aged 0–14 years (46% compared with 29%) and to be young parents. Just over one in five females with parenting responsibilities (21%) were aged 15–24 years, compared with 10% of males with parenting responsibilities (graph 3.10). The average age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females with parenting responsibilities was 33 years, compared with 37 years for males.

3.10 Parents or Guardians, by sex and age - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over



REMOVAL FROM NATURAL FAMILY

In 2008, an estimated 26,900 or 8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had been removed from their natural family at some stage in their life and for 125,700, or almost two in five (38%), one or more of their relatives had been removed from their natural family. Relatives most likely to have been removed were grandparents (15%), aunts or uncles (12%) and/or parents (11%).
The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had been removed from their natural family was higher in older age groups (ranging from 6% of 15–24 year olds to 14% of those aged 55 years and over) (graph 3.11).

3.11 Removal from natural family, By age - Aboriginsal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over



A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas than in remote areas had been removed from their natural family (9% compared with 6%). The proportion of people whose relative(s) had been removed from their natural family was also higher in non-remote areas (41%) than in remote areas (32%).

Around 22,300 (83%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had been removed, had since made contact with their natural family and one in six of them (16%) had used services designed to help them contact relatives. Among the 4,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had not been in contact with their natural family since removal, more than half (59%) were unaware of the services available to help them find and contact their relatives.


CONNECTIONS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Staying in touch with family and friends

According to the 2008 NATSISS, most (97%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had face-to-face contact with family or friends outside their household in the three months before the survey, 84% in the previous week, and 46% every day in the previous week. In addition, 90% of people had used some other form of contact to stay in touch with family or friends over the previous three months, most commonly mobile phone calls or SMS (74%), phone calls on a land line (56%) and/or Internet contact (27%).

Phone use

In 2008, the majority (97%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had used a telephone in the month before the survey (99% in non-remote areas and 92% in remote areas). Nationally, most people (87%) had used a mobile phone, around six in ten (62%) had used a land line connection and 15% had used a public or community phone. While most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had used a phone of some kind in the month before the survey, there were differences in the types of phones used, according to remoteness. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to have used a land line connection (70% compared with 35%) or a mobile phone (93% compared with 69%). Over the same period, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas were three times as likely as those in non-remote areas to have used a public or community phone (30% compared with 10%).

Computer and Internet use

An estimated 263,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged five years and over (58%) had a working computer in their home, and 44% were connected to the Internet in 2008.

In 2008, computer and Internet usage varied according to age, with higher rates reported for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years than for people aged 15 years and over. The majority (90%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years had used a computer at home or elsewhere in the previous year and 69% had accessed the Internet. Computers were most commonly used for School work (77%), Playing games (65%) and/or for Hobbies and other non-school activities (28%). Internet use followed a similar pattern, with more than half (54%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years having used the Internet for Education or study, 41% for Entertainment or general browsing and 18% for Emails or online chatting. Rates of computer and Internet use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years were higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (92% compared with 81% and 75% compared with 51%).

Just over two-thirds (67%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had used a computer and 59% had accessed the Internet in the 12 months before the 2008 NATSISS. In this age group, people most commonly used a computer for Personal or private reasons (57%), Work or business (29%) and/or Education or study (23%) (table 3.12). When asked about their Internet use, three in ten people reported Entertainment or general browsing and Emails or online chatting (31% each), Work or business (24%), Education or study (21%), To pay bills (16%) and/or Buying goods (14%). Rates of computer and Internet use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (74% compared with 43% and 67% compared with 35%).


3.12 MOST COMMON REASONS FOR COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over—2008
Non-remote areas
Remote areas
Australia
%
%
%

Computer use
Personal or private reasons
65.8
31.1
57.2
Work or business
32.1
20.6
29.2
Education or study
25.8
15.0
23.1
Volunteering/community group activities
5.2
2.3
4.5
Total used computer(b)
74.5
43.1
66.6
Internet use
Emails or online chatting
37.2
13.5
31.3
Entertainment or general browsing
36.8
14.0
31.1
Work or business
26.8
15.6
24.0
Personal or private reasons
26.9
12.2
23.2
Education or study
24.0
10.7
20.7
To pay bills
18.0
8.9
15.7
Buying goods
16.8
6.5
14.2
Total used Internet(b)
67.0
34.6
59.0
no.
no.
no.
All persons aged 15 years and over
245 600
81 500
327 100

(a) Respondents could report more than one reason for computer or Internet use.
(b) Includes other reasons for use, and reasons not stated.

Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


General support and support in times of crisis

In 2008, an estimated (85%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were able to get general support and support in times of crisis from someone living outside their household. In addition, a small proportion of people were able to get general support only (4%) or support in times of crisis only (4%), while 7% had access to neither general support nor support in times of crisis. Support may come from family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or various community, government or professional organisations. It may take the form of emotional, physical or financial help during a time of unexpected trouble (e.g. a sudden sickness, death of a partner/spouse, loss of job, fire or flood). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in both non-remote and remote areas, family members and friends were the most common sources of support in times of crisis (graph 3.13).

3.13 Sources of support(a) in times of Crisis, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over


Providing support to people outside the household

In 2008, an estimated 184,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (56%) had helped or provided support to someone outside their household in the month before the survey. Help was most commonly provided to relatives (73%) and friends (43%) and comprised providing Transport or running errands (52%), Emotional support (51%), Domestic work, home maintenance or gardening (43%), Unpaid child care (29%) and Teaching, coaching or practical advice (20%) (graph 3.14). A higher proportion of females than males had provided help or support to someone outside their household in the month before the survey (59% compared with 53%).

3.14 Support Provided to someone outside the household(a), By sex - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over


ACCESS TO TRANSPORT

Access to reliable forms of transport can enable people to maintain contact with family members and friends living elsewhere. In 2008, two-thirds (66%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had access to a motor vehicle whenever needed, and a further 7%, only in emergencies. Nationally, just over one-quarter (26%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not have access to a motor vehicle (24% in non-remote areas and 32% in remote areas).

An estimated 101,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (31%) had no public transport in their local area in 2008. People living in remote areas were four times as likely as those in non-remote areas to lack access to local public transport (71% compared with 18%). Nationally, 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had no public transport available in their local area, said that they were often or always unable to get to places as needed (10% in non-remote areas and 19% in remote areas).

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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