4714.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2016   
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HOUSING

Housing circumstances have been identified as a major factor affecting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While an adequate number of bedrooms and access to working facilities enables a household to function effectively, overcrowding and/or a lack of working facilities can pose serious health risks, such as greater exposure to infectious diseases, passive smoking and a range of other stressors.

Housing tenure

Home ownership (with or without a mortgage) is generally a more secure form of tenure than renting. In 2014–15, two-thirds (67%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a rented property. A further 19% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in a dwelling that was owned with a mortgage and 9% in a dwelling owned without a mortgage. People living in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to be living in a mortgaged dwelling (23% compared with 6%) or a dwelling that was owned without a mortgage (10% compared with 6%). This is also reflected in a larger proportion of renters in remote areas (83%) than in non-remote areas (63%) (Figure 9.1 and Table 16).

Figure 9.1. Tenure type(a), by remoteness — 2014–15
Graph Image for FIGURE 9.1 TENURE TYPE(a), by remoteness

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over.

Source(s): 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



In 2014–15, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be renters. About three in 10 (29%) non-Indigenous people aged 15 years and over were renters, compared with two-thirds (67%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the same age group.

Housing utilisation and overcrowding

The 2014–15 NATSISS provides information on housing utilisation based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard for Housing Appropriateness. This widely used measure determines household bedroom requirements based on the number of people in a household, as well as the relationships and ages of all household members. Using this measure, households that require at least one additional bedroom are considered to experience some degree of overcrowding. More information on housing utilisation can be found in the Glossary.

Around one in five (18%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a dwelling that was overcrowded, that is, a dwelling in which one or more additional bedrooms was required. This was a significant decrease from 25% in 2008 and 26% in 2002 (Table 1).

More than one-third (38%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in remote areas were living in overcrowded conditions, almost three times the rate in non-remote areas (13%). While there was a larger decrease in overcrowding rates in remote areas between 2008 and 2014–15 (from 48% to 38%), the decrease in non-remote areas (from 17% to 13%) was also significant (Figure 9.2 and Table 1).

Figure 9.2. Lives in an overcrowded household(a)(b), by remoteness — 2002 to 2014–15
Graph Image for FIGURE 9.2. LIVES IN AN OVERCROWDED HOUSEHOLD(a)(b), by remoteness

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. (b) Defined as a household requiring at least one additional bedroom according to Canadian National Occupancy Standard for Housing Appropriateness. (c) The difference between 2002 and 2014–15 data is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



Nationally, 8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a dwelling that required two or more additional bedrooms (23% in remote areas compared with 4% in non-remote areas) (Table 16).

Young people were significantly more likely than those in older age groups to be living in an overcrowded household. In 2014–15, about one-quarter (24%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years, and one-quarter (25%) of people aged 15–24 years were living in overcrowded households (Figure 9.3, Table 4 and Table 8).

Figure 9.3. Lives in an overcrowded household(a)(b), by age — 2008 and 2014–15
Graph Image for FIGURE 9.3 LIVES IN AN OVERCROWDED HOUSEHOLD(a)(b), by age

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (b) Defined as a household requiring at least one additional bedroom according to Canadian National Occupancy Standard for Housing Appropriateness. (c) The difference between 2008 and 2014–15 data is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



In 2014–15, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than three times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be living in a dwelling that required at least one additional bedroom (18% compared to 5%) (Table 1).

Standard of housing

The 2014–15 NATSISS provides information about a range of structural problems in dwellings, including electrical or plumbing problems, major cracks in walls or floors, termites or rot, and problems with the foundation.

More than one-quarter (28%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a dwelling that had major structural problems (36% in remote areas compared with 25% in non-remote areas) (Table 16).

Basic facilities which are considered to be important components of a healthy living environment include those that assist in washing people, clothes and bedding; safely removing waste; and enabling the safe storage and cooking of food. In 2014–15, one in seven (15%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were living in a dwelling in which one or more of these types of facilities were not available or did not work. People in remote areas were more likely (28%) than those in non-remote areas (11%) to have experienced problems with household facilities (Table 16).

Overcrowding can have a significant impact on the quality of life for people living in these conditions due to additional stress on shared amenities such as bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities, and a lack of privacy. For more than one-third (35%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who were living in an overcrowded dwelling, that dwelling also had major structural problems. Similarly, for almost one-quarter (24%) of people who were living in an overcrowded dwelling, that dwelling also had facilities that were not available or did not work. This was almost twice the rate (13%) of people who lived in dwellings that were not overcrowded (Figure 9.4 and Table 16).

Figure 9.4. Household structural problems and availability of facilities(a), by whether lives in an overcrowded household(b) — 2014–15
Graph Image for FIGURE 9.4 HOUSEHOLD STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS AND AVAILABILITY OF FACILITIES(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. (b) Defined as a household requiring at least one additional bedroom according to Canadian National Occupancy Standard for Housing Appropriateness.

Source(s): 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



Experiences of homelessness

Homelessness can have a large impact on individuals, families and communities. People who are experiencing, or who have experienced, homelessness can face reduced opportunities to interact with other individuals and groups, and to participate in activities such as employment or education. These reduced opportunities may be temporary, or they may continue to affect people after their experience of homelessness. The NATSISS did not specifically ask about the experience of living in severely crowded dwellings (households that require four or more bedrooms according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard for Housing Appropriateness) which is considered to be homelessness under the ABS statistical definition. Further information on homelessness can be found in the Glossary.

In 2014–15, around three in 10 (29%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced homelessness during their lifetime. People in non-remote areas were significantly more likely than those in remote areas to have experienced homelessness (32% compared with 18%) (Table 14).

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have experienced homelessness (rate ratio of 2.2) (Figure 9.5 and Table 1).

Figure 9.5. Experienced homelessness, by age and Indigenous status — 2014–15
Graph Image for FIGURE 9.5 EXPERIENCED HOMELESSNESS, by age and Indigenous status

Source(s): 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014 General Social Survey