4712.0 - Australian Housing Survey -- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/01/2001   
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Characteristics of Indigenous Households

Home ownership by Indigenous Australians lags behind that of non-Indigenous Australians according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Almost four out of 10 Indigenous households in Australia either owned outright or were paying off their homes, compared to seven out of 10 non-Indigenous households in Australia.

The majority (58%) of Indigenous households were renting their homes, while for non-Indigenous households the proportion of renter households was just 27%.

On an age-standardised basis (allowing for the difference between the age structures of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations) a comparison of housing tenures shows that:
  • Indigenous households are more likely to be renters (44%) than non-Indigenous households (27%), and are nearly five times more likely to be renters from State/Territory housing authorities (23% and 5% respectively);
  • non-Indigenous households are almost twice as likely to be owners without a mortgage than Indigenous households (39% and 21% respectively); and
  • non-Indigenous households are also more likely to be owners with a mortgage (31%) than Indigenous households (22%).

Average weekly housing costs were higher among Indigenous households, at $139, compared to $129 for non-Indigenous households, reflecting the different distribution of housing tenures.

In addition, Indigenous households tended to spend a higher proportion of their income on housing costs than non-Indigenous households. In 1999, close to one out of every four Indigenous households (23%) spent more than a quarter of their income on housing, compared to less than one in five non-Indigenous households (18%). As might be expected, this proportion varied according to the type of housing tenure. For example, 35% of Indigenous households renting privately spent more than a quarter of their income on housing, compared to only 4% of owners without a mortgage. This pattern was similar for non-Indigenous households.

Further details are in Australian Housing Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results (cat. no. 4712.0), available from ABS Bookshop . A summary of the publication may be found on this site.