For the purposes of data analysis, Indigenous households can be defined in two different ways:
In this chapter the second definition of an Indigenous household is used, that is, a household containing one or more Indigenous people. This is the definition used in the National Housing Assistance Data Dictionary.
- a household where the reference person or their spouse is Indigenous
- a household containing one or more Indigenous people.
Indigenous households may include non-Indigenous as well as Indigenous people. In the 2001 Census there were a total of 494,000 people living in the 144,700 households identified as having at least one Indigenous person; of whom 75% (371,600 people) were identified as Indigenous and 25% (122,400 people) were either non-Indigenous or whose Indigenous status was unknown. The 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) estimated that 480,500 Indigenous people (of all ages) were living in 165,700 Indigenous households. Indigenous people comprised 82% of all residents in Indigenous households, with half of Indigenous households having only Indigenous residents.