4715.0.55.002 - Technical Manual: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Expanded CURF, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2014   
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This manual provides information about the release of microdata from the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).

The data are available through a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) released with the approval of the Australian Statistician. The CURF is only available through the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), and in the format of an Expanded CURF. There will be no Basic version available on CD-ROM or via the RADL.

The RADL is an on-line database query system under which microdata are held on a server at the ABS, to which users can submit batch programs to interrogate, analyse and model the data, and access the results. Further information about this facility is available on the ABS web site (see Services We Provide/Confidentialised Unit Record Files).

As well as providing microdata relating to respondents from the 2004-05 NATSIHS, the NATSIHS CURF also provides microdata relating to Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents respondents to the 2004-05 National Health Survey (NHS). The Indigenous respondents augment the NATSIHS sample, while the non-Indigenous respondents enable comparison with the non-Indigenous population. Microdata from the NHS (without Indigenous identifiers) has been released in both Basic and Expanded versions, information for which can be found in Information Paper: National Health Survey - Confidentialised Unit Record Files, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4324.0).


The 2004-05 NATSIHS is the third ABS health survey for which Indigenous estimates are available, with Indigenous estimates being available for both 1995 and 2001. It is the second for which a CURF is available. For the first time the NATSIHS was run as a survey separate to the NHS.

It is planned to repeat the NATSIHS at six-yearly intervals as part of a cycle of Indigenous household surveys. Together with a six-yearly National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), conducted between each NATSIHS cycle, this will provide a wide range of regular information about the health circumstances and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 2004-05 NATSIHS was conducted from August 2004 to July 2005 collecting information on personal and household characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people resident in private dwellings across all states and territories in Australia, including people living in remote areas. The NATSIHS collected information for 9,785 Indigenous persons, with an additional 654 Indigenous persons being collected in NHS selected dwellings. In total the NATSIHS sample is 10,439 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons.

The survey aimed to:

  • provide broad information about the health of Indigenous Australians, by remoteness, and at the national and state/territory levels;
  • allow for the relationships across the health status and health related actions of Indigenous Australians to be explored;
  • provide comparisons over time in the health of Indigenous Australians; and
  • provide comparisons with results for the non-Indigenous population from the NHS.

The 2004-05 NATSIHS was developed with the assistance of an advisory group comprised of experts in Indigenous information, research and health issues. Members of the advisory group were drawn from Indigenous health organisations, peak Indigenous information bodies, Commonwealth and State/Territory government agencies with Indigenous health program responsibilities, and relevant academic research institutions. The valuable conceptual and methodological contributions made by members of the survey advisory group are greatly appreciated.

The topics covered in the 2004-05 NATSIHS were:
  • demographic/core characteristics - including basic personal and household characteristics, geography, Indigenous status, education, employment, main language spoken at home, financial stress, income, dwelling structure, dwelling tenure;
  • health related actions - dental consultations, doctor consultations, other health professional consultations, visits to hospital/day clinics/casualty or emergency wards/outpatients units, days away from work/study, other days of reduced activity, private health insurance, discrimination, men's health;
  • health risk factors - adult and child immunisation, alcohol consumption, smoking, breastfeeding, dietary behaviours, cultural identification, exercise, body mass, substance use;
  • health status - general health assessment, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart and circulatory conditions, renal disease and dialysis, osteoporosis, long term conditions, cause of long term conditions, short term injuries, social and emotional well being;
  • women's health - mammograms, pap smear tests, breastfeeding, contraception.

Summary results from the 2004-05 NATSIHS were published in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Australia 2004-05 (cat. no. 4715.0) released in April 2006. Summary results from the 2004-05 NHS were published in National Health Survey: Summary of Results, Australia 2001 (cat. no. 4364.0) released in February 2006. Data published from the NHS for total Australia cannot be reproduced using this CURF due to differences to the NATSIHS in the benchmarks used for the weights and geographic coverage. Users requiring total Australia data must use the NHS Basic or Expanded CURF.

Copies of the questionnaires used in the 2004-05 NATSIHS and NHS and a list of all data items available from the survey (not all of which are included on the CURF) are provided in the National Health Survey and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002). The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4715.0.55.004) contains detailed information about the survey design and operation, survey content, and data quality and interpretation for the survey. These are available on the ABS web site.

While the 2004-05 NATSIHS is similar in many ways to the Indigenous component of the 2001 NHS (NHS(I)), there are important differences across aspects of the surveys (e.g. sample design and coverage, survey methodology and content, definitions and classifications) which may effect the degree to which data are directly comparable between survey areas. These are summarised in Chapter 7 of the Users' Guide. Topic specific points regarding comparability are contained in the topic sections of the Guide.

A complete list of data items included on the 2004-05 NATSIHS CURF is available from the downloads tab.