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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (National)
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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), conducted throughout Australia during April to July 1994, obtained information about the social, economic and cultural status, conditions and attitudes of Australia's Indigenous population. This was the first time such a wide ranging and comprehensive survey of Australia's Indigenous people had been conducted by the ABS or any other agency.

    The survey had its origins in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Recommendation 49 of this Commission's Report required that a comprehensive survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be conducted to collect statistical information which the Commission found to be lacking and believed to be important to Aboriginal self-determination.

    The NATSIS provides data that assists in measuring the social and economic well-being of the population and provides information on the social, economic and cultural status, conditions and attitudes of Australia's Indigenous population. Its purpose is to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, Local Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations with the most needed statistics about Indigenous peoples. The Survey results provide a stronger information base for planning for the empowerment of Australia's Indigenous peoples and for measuring progress in meeting their objectives, aspirations and needs. It also provides a valuable information base for influencing government policies and the delivery of services.

    All Australian Indigenous people, in both private and special dwellings, including prisoners in April 1994.

    The coverage is those people in households where at least one person (any responsible adult) has answered 'Yes' to a version of the standard ABS Indigenous identification question which enquires if there are any Indigenous people in the household when questioned by a Population Survey Operations Interviewer.


    Conceptual framework
    There are six survey questionnaires, one for each of the following types of units:

    • Adult (13+ years);
    • Child (12 years and under);
    • Household;
    • Community;
    • Special dwelling; and
    • Prisoner.

    The population of interest is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Non-Indigenous people living in households where Indigenous people are present are also included for the purposes of classifying family and household structures. Data are output for persons, families, households, income units and communities.

    Main outputs
    There is a comprehensive list of populations and variables available from this Survey.

    Estimates are produced on the basis of persons. Estimates were produced for States/Territories and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Regions.

    Other concepts (summary)
    Not applicable

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
    Other (specify below)

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Data available by ATSIC Region

    Once Only

    Frequency comments
    The collection is not to be repeated, however some time series data may be available following the release of the Indigenous Social Survey in 2004.

    The Survey was conducted from the selected samples of 694 Census collection districts based on 1991 Census data. The survey interviewers approached approximately 135,500 private and special dwellings in the selected urban and rural Census collection districts, to find approximately 6,700 dwellings were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were currently living. A random sample of these dwellings was selected for inclusion in the survey.

    The survey data were collected by trained Indigenous interviewers from the selected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through personal interviews during the period April to July 1994. For children under 13 years age, information was obtained from the adult responsible for the child. Persons aged 13 to 17 years were interviewed with the consent of the parent or guardian. Non-indigenous people aged 15 years and over, living in the selected dwellings, were also interviewed and asked a reduced range of questions pertaining to employment status and income, so that information for families and household would be complete.


    Data availability comments
    The 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS) provided a wealth on information about the social, economic, and health status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The NATSIS produced data down to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Region level. An important use of the statistics from the Survey was to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals in making their planning decisions. A Regional Statistics publication has been produced for each of the 36 ATSIC Regions. Several other publications displaying NATSIS data at the National and State/Territory level have been published.

    06/06/2002 09:33 AM

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