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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

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The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) is part of an established program of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The survey collects detailed information on the socio-economic circumstance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people every six years. The NATSISS differs in focus from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) but provides reporting on some overlapping content in both surveys, every three years. The NATSISS 2014-15 will be conducted from September 2014 through to the end of April 2015.

The main purpose of the survey is to monitor the social and economic wellbeing of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The NATSISS will expand on the information collected about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in previous social surveys to:

  • explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' participation in society and barriers to that participation;
  • provide information that is relevant and useful for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their own decision making and planning;
  • allow for inter-relationships between different areas of social concern to be explored;
  • provide insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' experiences of social and/or economic disadvantage;
  • provide comparisons with the non-Indigenous population; and
  • measure changes over time.
The ABS has developed the NATSISS in close consultation with a range of stakeholders, including commonwealth and state/territory governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, academics and researchers.

Information from the survey will assist both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the wider community by informing policies to improve services and to find better ways to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live longer, healthier and happier lives.

What information is collected?

NATSISS topics cover a range of social subject matter areas, including:
  • social networks
  • aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples culture
  • self-assessed health
  • long term health conditions
  • disability
  • housing
  • education
  • employment
  • law and justice
  • income
  • household financial stress.
How does it work?

Households will be randomly selected across Australia. The survey will commence with an ABS interviewer collecting general demographic information relating to usual residents of the household. Each selected household represents similar people in the community. The cooperation of all those selected is important to ensure all households and individuals are properly represented in the survey and reflected in the survey results.

Within a household, a sample is also randomly selected, and a personal interview of up to two adults and two children (if any) in non-remote areas, and up to one adult and one child in remote areas, will then be conducted. Adults will answer questions on behalf of children. A person over the age of 18 years will also be asked some general questions about the household facilities.

In some areas a local member of the community will be employed to act as a facilitator to assist ABS interviewers in their movement around the community, their interaction with community members and, where required, language translation.

How will the information be collected?

The NATSISS is conducted using a face-to-face interview, capturing details in a notebook computer. The use of Notebook computers increases the security of the information collected as it can only be accessed by the interviewer and the ABS officers responsible for processing the data. More information on how the ABS collects survey information is available on our Survey Participant Information page.

Why was I chosen?

Your household was picked by chance, like a lot of other households. We need to be sure the survey collects information from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from around Australia.

Is the survey compulsory?

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 authorises the ABS to ask the questions in the survey. The ABS's approach is to seek the willing cooperation of the selected householders by explaining to them that the survey is of national importance and that the information collected from them will ultimately benefit all Australians. Most households recognise the importance of the survey and the need to collect accurate information that is representative of all households.

When will the results be available?

Results from the NATSISS 2014-15 will be published on the ABS website from March 2016.

Further information

If you would like further information about this survey, please contact the ABS office in your state or territory or for more information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics go to Topics at a Glance > People > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on our website.

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