4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/08/2005   
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Ability to raise $2000 within a week

The household spokesperson's perception of whether they or other members of the household combined could obtain $2000 within a week for something important.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Languages in the Australian Indigenous Languages group of the Australian Standard Classification of Languages. Excludes Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles and ‘Aboriginal English’. See also Indigenous language speaker.

Aboriginal people

People identified as being of Aboriginal origin. May also include people identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. See also Indigenous people.

Access to motor vehicle(s)

Access that a person has to any motor vehicle to drive. Such motor vehicles include vehicle(s) which they wholly or jointly own, vehicle(s) belonging to another member of the household, and company, work or government vehicle(s) which they or someone else in the household have access to for personal use. This item does not measure the extent of the respondent's access to motor vehicles, only whether access exists or not. Access can be occasional, regular, frequent or only in an emergency. See also Motor vehicle(s).

Administrative data

Data that are routinely collected in the course of general administration. Includes data from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and hospital morbidity data.

Age-specific rate

A rate for a specific age group. The numerator and the denominator relate to the same age group.

Age standardisation

A method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. There are two methods of age standardisation: direct and indirect.

For direct standardisation, estimates are age standardised to the age composition of the total estimated resident population of Australia as at 30 June 2001. The age standardised rate is that for which would have prevailed if the studied population had the standard age composition.

For indirect standardisation, a standardised ratio is calculated by comparing the actual number of events with the number expected if the age-specific rates in the standard population applied to the population of interest. A ratio of greater than one indicates more events than expected, whereas a ratio of less than one indicates fewer events than expected.

Alcohol consumption risk level

Two measures of alcohol consumption risk were derived from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). The first measure was based on a person's reported usual daily consumption of alcohol and the frequency of consumption in the previous 12 months. Chronic risk levels as defined by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are as follows:

Risk of harm in the long term, consumption on an average day

Relative risk

Less than 50 mls
Less than 25 mls
50-75 mls
25-50 mls
Greater than 75 mls
Greater than 50 mls

One standard drink contains 12.5ml of alcohol.

The second measure was based on the largest quantity of alcohol consumed in a single day during the fortnight prior to interview. The NHMRC guidelines for acute risk level are:

Risk of harm in the short term

Relative risk

Less than 75 mls
Less than 50 mls
75-125 mls
50-75 mls
Greater than 125 mls
Greater than 75 mls

One standard drink contains 12.5ml of alcohol.

It should be noted that the acute measure of alcohol consumption in the NATSISS did not take into account whether the largest quantity of alcohol consumed in a single day during the previous fortnight was more, less, or the same as usual.

Apparent retention rates

Apparent retention rates are the percentage of full-time students of a given cohort group who continue from the first year of secondary schooling to a specified year level. Care should be taken in interpreting apparent retention rates, as they do not account for students repeating a year of school or migrating in or out of the Australian school student population. Ungraded secondary students and those enrolled in alternative secondary programs are also not included in retention calculations. See ABS 2004h for more information.

Attended cultural event(s)

Participation in traditional or contemporary Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural activities and events in the 12 months prior to interview. Events include funerals, ceremonies, Indigenous festivals and carnivals, arts, craft, music, dance, writing or telling stories, and involvement with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisations. Participation may be for payment or without payment.

Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)

The ASCED is a national standard classification which includes all sectors of the Australian education system, that is, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. See Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (ABS cat. no. 1272.0).

Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO)

The ASCO is a skill-based classification of occupations which covers all jobs in the Australian workforce. See Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (ABS cat. no. 1220.0).

Before/after school care

Provides care for school-aged children before and/or after school during the school term.

Body mass index (BMI)

A measure of body weight relative to height. Calculated from weight (kg) divided by square of height (m). BMI categories are as follows:

<18.5 - underweight

18.5-25 - healthy weight

25-30 - overweight

>30 - obese

Care and protection orders

Children subject to a care and protection order are those for whom the Community Services Department has a responsibility as a result of some formal legal order or an administrative/voluntary arrangement. Only orders issued for protective reasons are included.

Cash flow problems

Having insufficient funds to meet basic household running costs such as payment for utilities (electricity, gas and telephone) or car registration or insurance, credit card repayments, mortgage or rent payments. The frequency of the occurrence of each event or action was not collected in the 2002 NATSISS. Information on cash flow problems was not collected in very remote communities and represents the cash flow problems of a household, as reported by the household spokesperson.


A census is a count of a whole population. The Census of Population and Housing measures the number of people in Australia and their key characteristics, at a given point in time. The ABS conducts the Census every five years; the last was in August 2001. In this publication the word ‘Census’ indicates the ABS Census of Population and Housing.

Child care

Both formal and informal care provided for dependent children. In the 2002 NATSISS, questions about child care use were only asked of respondents with primary responsibility for children aged 12 years and under in their household. See also Formal child care and Informal child care.

Clan, tribal or language group

A group of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who share a common language and/or clan or tribal membership.

Clinically significant emotional or behavioural difficulties

The Western Australia Aboriginal Child Health Survey administered a version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire that was specifically modified for Aboriginal children. The responses from the 20 questions about emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity and peer problems were combined to produce an overall score ranging from 0-40. The following ranges indicate the risk of clinically significant emotional or behavioural difficulties in Aboriginal children and young people:

Low risk - score of 0-13

Moderate risk - -score of 14-16

High risk - score of 17-40.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) - Income unit

A CRA income unit is defined as either a single person or a couple with or without dependants. Children over 16 years of age are not regarded as dependent unless they are full-time secondary students aged under 18 years and do not receive social security payments.

Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme

The CDEP scheme enables participants (usually members of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities) to exchange unemployment benefits for opportunities to undertake work and training in activities which are managed by a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community organisation. Participants in the program are classified as employed.

Community health centre

A facility that provides a range of medical and health-related services to the community. The centre may also provide advice to people on issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, immunisation and family planning. In remote areas some of these services may not be available, but the centre would usually have nurses, health workers and/or doctors in regular attendance.


When a person has two or more health conditions at the same time.

Core activity limitation

A limitation in the performance of one or more core activities such as self-care (eating, washing, dressing, toileting); mobility or communication. In the 2002 NATSISS, a person's overall level of core activity limitation was determined by their highest level of limitation in any one of these activities. Core activity limitation may be profound (always needs help or supervision); severe (sometimes needs help or supervision); moderate (has difficulty but does not need assistance); or mild (uses aid(s) to assist with core activities). See also Disability or long-term health condition.

Current daily smoker

A person who was smoking one or more cigarettes (or cigars or pipes) per day, on average, at the time of interview. See also Smoker status.

Dialysis (haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis)

A treatment for end-stage renal disease, where the work of the kidneys is performed artificially. In haemodialysis, the patient’s blood is passed through a semi-permeable tube where it is cleansed and pumped back into the body. Haemodialysis needs to be performed a few times a week for several hours at a time, either at a hospital/clinic, or at home. In peritoneal dialysis, the patient’s abdomen is used instead of the tube. Fluid is passed into the abdomen via a semi-permanent catheter. As the patient’s blood is cleansed, the fluid is drained and refilled, using gravity. This takes place 4-5 times daily. Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, where the patient is able to move around, is the most common form of peritoneal dialysis. It can be performed either at home or in a hospital or clinic.

Difficulty communicating with service providers

The extent to which a person has difficulty communicating with service providers, such as Government organisations, due to language difficulties.

Disability or long-term health condition

A limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, which had lasted, or was likely to last for six months or more, and which restricted a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Based on this information, some people were identified as having a schooling or employment restriction only, while others were restricted in the performance of one or more core activities such as self-care, mobility and communication.

In order to take into account language use and life circumstances, there were some differences in the collection of disability information in the 2002 NATSISS for people in remote and non-remote areas. See also Core activity limitation, Employment restriction and Schooling restriction.

Discrete Indigenous community

A geographical location with a physical or legal boundary that is inhabited or intended to be inhabited predominantly (more than 50%) by Indigenous people, with housing and infrastructure that is either owned or managed on a community basis.

dmft (child teeth)

Used to measure the number of decayed, missing or filled deciduous (child) teeth. It is derived by adding the number of teeth which are decayed, missing or have been filled due to caries (i.e. tooth decay).

DMFT (adult teeth)

Used to measure the number of decayed, missing or filled permanent (adult) teeth. It is derived by adding the number of teeth which are decayed, missing or have been filled due to caries (i.e. tooth decay).


In general terms, a dwelling is a structure which is intended to house people. The exact definition of ‘dwelling’, however, varies slightly between data sources. Within this publication, dwellings are referred to as ‘private dwellings’, as reported in the Census, and ‘permanent dwellings’, as reported in the Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey. The term ‘occupied private dwelling’ is used interchangeably with the term ‘private dwelling’.

  • A private dwelling is normally a house, flat or even a room occupied by one or more people. It can also be a caravan, houseboat, tent, or a house attached to an office, or rooms above a shop. Houses under construction, derelict houses and vacant tents are not counted, nor are hotels, guest houses, prisons, hospitals or other communal dwellings.
  • Permanent dwellings are buildings designed for people to live in, with fixed walls, roof and doors. They usually have kitchen and bathroom facilities, although this is not necessary provided that these facilities could be built into the dwelling. These dwellings are made from regular building materials and are intended for long-term residential use. Dwellings were not considered to be permanent unless they have internal walls dividing the living space into separate rooms.

Educational attainment

The highest level of education attained. Includes both primary and secondary school and non-school qualifications. See also Highest year of school completed and Non-school qualification.


Persons who had a job or business, or who undertook work without pay in a family business, in the week prior to the survey for a minimum of one hour per week. Includes persons who were absent from a job or business and CDEP participants. See also Labour force status.

Employed full-time

Persons who usually work 35 hours or more per week.

Employed part-time

Persons who usually work at least one hour, but less than 35 hours, per week.

Employment restriction

A person under 65 years of age who has experienced difficulties with employment but has no core activity limitation. See also Core activity limitation and Disability or long-term health condition.

Equivalised gross household income

Equivalence scales are used to adjust the actual incomes of households in a way that enables the analysis of the relative economic wellbeing of people living in households of different size and composition. For example, it would be expected that a household comprising two people would normally need more income than a lone person household if all of the people in the two households are to enjoy the same material standard of living. Adopting a per capita analysis would address one aspect of household size difference, but would address neither compositional difference (i.e. the numbers of adults compared with the numbers of children) nor the economies derived from living together. When household income is adjusted according to an equivalence scale, the equivalised income can be viewed as an indicator of the economic resources available to a standardised household. For a lone person household, it is equal to income received. For a household comprising more than one person, equivalised income is an indicator of the household income that would be required by a lone person household in order to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question.

In this publication, a ‘modified OECD’ equivalence scale has been used, the scale widely accepted among Australian analysts of income distribution. This scale allocates 1.0 point for the first adult (aged 15 years or over) in a household; 0.5 for each additional adult; and 0.3 for each child. Equivalised household income is derived by dividing total household income by the sum of the equivalence points allocated to household members. For example, if a household received combined gross income of $2100 per week and comprised two adults and two children (combined household equivalence points of 2.1), the equivalised gross household income for each household member would be calculated as $1000 per week. For more information on the use of equivalence scales, see Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2003-04 (ABS cat. no. 6523.0).

Equivalised gross household income - deciles

Groupings of 10% of the total population of Australia when ranked in ascending order according to equivalised gross household income. The population used for this purpose includes all people living in private dwellings, including children and other persons under the age of 15 years.

Equivalised gross household income - quintiles

Groupings of 20% of the total population of Australia when ranked in ascending order according to equivalised gross household income. The population used for this purpose includes all people living in private dwellings, including children and other persons under the age of 15 years.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The official ABS estimate of the Australian population. The ERP is based on results of the Census of Population and Housing and is compiled as at 30 June of each census year, and is updated quarterly between censuses. These intercensal estimates of the resident population are revised each time a population census is taken. Rates are calculated per 1,000 or 100,000 mid-year (30 June) ERP. The Indigenous ERP is considered to be experimental because satisfactory data on births, deaths and migration are not generally available, and because of the volatility of counts of the Indigenous population between censuses. See Chapter 2 for more details.


A family is defined by the ABS as two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. Some households contain more than one family. Unrelated persons living in the same household are not counted as family members (unless under 15 years of age).

Family day care

A network of caregivers who provide care for children aged 0-12 years in the carer’s own home.

Financial stress

Three measures aimed at identifying households that may have been constrained in their activities because of a shortage of money. These measures are the ability to raise 'emergency money'; the existence of cash flow problems; and dissaving actions (e.g. pawning or selling something, or using short-term loans). Information on financial stress represent the problems of a household, as reported by the household spokesperson. See also Ability to raise $2000 within a week and Cash flow problems.

First aid clinic

A facility where an individual can receive life-saving or pain-relieving primary health care.

Foetal death

Death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception of 20 or more completed weeks of gestation or of 400 grams or more of birthweight (criteria used for the state and territory perinatal collections).

Foetal death rate

The number of foetal deaths in a year per 1,000 total births in the same year.

Formal child care

Types of formal child care include before and/or after school care, long day care centres, family day care, occasional care programs and preschool/kindergarten. See also Child care and Informal child care.

Gross household income

See Equivalised gross household income.

Gross personal income

Refers to regular gross weekly income, which is the income before tax, superannuation, health insurance, or other deductions are made. Gross personal income includes family allowance, family allowance supplement, pensions, unemployment benefits, student allowances, maintenance (child support), superannuation, wages, overtime, dividends, rents received, interest received, business or farm income (less operation expenses) and workers compensation received.

Health Care Card

These cards provide for medical and/or related services free of charge or at reduced rates to recipients of Commonwealth government pensions or benefits.

Health status

See Self-assessed health status.

Highest year of school completed

The highest year of primary or secondary school completed, irrespective of the type of educational institution attended, or where that education was undertaken. In this publication, people who were still attending a secondary school were excluded when calculating proportions for this data item.

High level residential aged care

Residential aged care services delivered to residents with high levels of dependency. These are approximately equivalent to the services delivered by nursing homes in the past.

High volume form

Most Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) agencies use the general client form to collect data for the SAAP Client collection. This form has 29 questions. ‘High volume’ agencies have a large number of clients and a high client throughput and use a ‘high volume’ client form with a subset of questions from the general client form.

Generally, high volume agencies include those providing accommodation to more than 50 people per night, telephone referral agencies, day centres, and information and referral centres.

Homelands/traditional country

An area of land with which Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people have ancestral and/or cultural links.


Refers to the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care in hospital, by being discharged, transferring to another hospital or care facility, or dying. A hospital separation record is a patient’s administrative record on discharge from hospital. The record gives demographic details such as age, sex and Indigenous status, as well as reasons for hospitalisation, and treatments or procedures performed.


A household is defined as a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his/her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person (i.e. a lone-person household). In this publication, households are separated into those containing at least one Indigenous person (referred to as Indigenous households) and Other households.

Household tenure type

The nature of a household's legal right to occupy the dwelling in which they usually reside. Includes home purchasing, renting, rent/buy or shared equity schemes and other tenure types.

Households with Indigenous person(s)

See Household.

Illicit substance use

The use of substances for non-medical purposes. Substances include analgesics, tranquillisers, amphetamines, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens (both synthetic and naturally occurring), ecstasy and other designer drugs, petrol and other inhalants, and kava. The 2002 NATSISS collected information on a person's substance use in the 12 months prior to interview and their overall substance use to date. Information on substance use has not been released for persons living in remote areas due to data quality concerns.

In the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the term ‘illicit drugs’ included marijuana/cannabis, pain-killers/analgesics, tranquillisers/sleeping pills, steroids, barbiturates, inhalants, heroin, methadone, other opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, ecstasy/designer drugs, and injected drugs.


In the 2002 NATSISS, incarceration refers to time spent in jail in the last five years, regardless of the length of time spent in prison.


The number of new cases of a particular illness commencing during a given period in a specified population. See also Prevalence.


See Gross personal income or Gross household income

Income deciles

See Equivalised gross household income - deciles.

Income quintiles

See Equivalised gross household income - quintiles.

Income sources

See Main current source of personal income.

Independent housing

Housing which is categorised as owner-occupied, a rooming house, hostel, hotel or private board, public or community housing, private rental, living rent-free or in a car, tent, park, street or squat.

Indigenous household

An Indigenous household is one that contains one or more Indigenous people. See also Household.

Indigenous Housing Organisation

Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation which is responsible for managing housing for Indigenous people. This includes community organisations, such as Resources Agencies and Land Councils, that have a range of functions, provided that they manage housing for Indigenous people.

Indigenous income unit

An income unit in which the client of a community services program, or their partner, has been identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in origin. See also Commonwealth Rent Assistance - Income unit.

Indigenous language speaker

A person who speaks an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language well enough to hold a conversation. May exclude some speakers of Oceanian Pidgins or Creoles. See also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Indigenous people

People who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Infant mortality rate

The number of deaths of infants under one year of age (between 0 and 364 days after birth) per 1,000 live births during a given period of time.

Informal child care

Includes non-regulated care provided by siblings, a parent who does not live with the child, grandparents, other relatives or unrelated people such as friends, neighbours, nannies or baby-sitters, either within the home or elsewhere. Informal care may be paid or unpaid. See also Child care and Formal child care.

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10)

The tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems (ICD-10). The Australian modification of the ICD-10 (ICD-10-AM) was adopted for Australian use for deaths registered from 1 January 1999 and superseded ICD-9. The ICD, which is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is primarily designed for the classification of diseases and injuries with a formal diagnosis. See NCCH 2000 for more information.

Involvement in social activities

Participation in social activities in the three months prior to interview including: recreational or cultural group activities; community or special interest group activities; church or religious activities; outings to a cafe, restaurant or bar; involvement in sport or physical activities; attendance at a sporting event as a spectator; visiting a library, museum or art gallery; going to the movies, theatre or concert; visiting a park, botanic gardens, zoo or theme park; attending Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission or Native Title meetings; attending funerals, ceremonies or festivals; and fishing or hunting in a group.

Labour force participation rate

Number of persons in the labour force (i.e. employed plus unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the population. Both the numerator and denominator may be restricted to derive labour force participation rates for particular age groups, e.g. persons aged 18-64 years. Persons who did not report their labour force status are excluded when calculating the participation rate. See also Employed, Labour force status, Not in the labour force and Unemployed.

Labour force status

Identifies whether a person is employed, unemployed or not in the labour force. See also Employed, Not in the labour force and Unemployed.


The person or organisation that provides housing in exchange for rent.

Life table

A life table is a statistical model used to show the life expectancy and hence levels of mortality at different ages. It depicts the mortality experience of a hypothetical group of newborn babies throughout their lifetimes. Life tables may be complete or abridged, depending on the age interval used in their compilation. Complete life tables such as those for the Australian population contain data by single years of age, while abridged life tables, such as those for the Indigenous population, contain data for five-year age groups. Life tables are presented separately for males and females.

Long-day care centre

A day care centre that is open for at least eight hours a day and at least 48 weeks a year. Caters mostly for under school-age children whose parents are in the paid workforce, are looking for work, or are in education or training.

Long-term health condition

See Disability or long-term health condition.

Low birthweight

Birthweight of less than 2,500 grams.

Low income households

See Persons in low income households.

Main current source of personal income

A person's current primary source of income. Sources of income include: cash income received for work in a CDEP scheme; non-CDEP wages or salary; profit or loss from own unincorporated enterprise; property income (rent, interest or dividends); Government cash pensions or allowances; superannuation pensions; and other regular sources (e.g. child support and worker's compensation). If total current income was nil or negative the main source was undefined.

Mainstream employment

Non-CDEP jobs. See also Community Development Employment Projects scheme.

Major cities

Geographical areas within the ‘Major cities of Australia’ category of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure. See Remoteness Area.

Major structural problems

Refers to the general condition of a dwelling and identifies specific structural problems such as rising damp; major cracks in walls/floors; sinking or moving foundations; sagging floors; walls or windows that are not plumb, wood rot or termite damage; major electrical problems; major plumbing problems; and major roof defects.


The median is a midpoint of a distribution. Half the values occur above this point and half below.

Median income

The midpoint of the distribution of income values.


Any departure, subjective or objective, from a state of physiological or psychological wellbeing.

Motor vehicle(s)

Includes all cars, station wagons, trucks, utilities, vans, motorbikes, motorised bicycles, mopeds and motor scooters. It does not include caravans, horse floats, boats and trailers. Vehicles being purchased (jointly or alone) are regarded as belonging to the respondent or another household member. See also Access to motor vehicle(s).

Multiple causes of death

All morbid conditions, diseases and injuries entered on the death certificate. These include those involved in the morbid train of events leading to death which were classified as either the underlying cause, the immediate cause, or any intervening causes and those conditions which contributed to death, but were not related to the disease or condition causing death. For deaths where the underlying cause was identified as an external cause (injury or poisoning) multiple causes include circumstances of injury, the nature of injury as well as any other conditions reported on the death certificate.

Neonatal death

Death of a liveborn infant within 28 days of birth.

Neonatal mortality rate

The number of neonatal deaths in a year per 1,000 live births in the same year.


Geographical areas within the ‘Major cities of Australia’, ‘Inner regional Australia’ and ‘Outer regional Australia’ categories of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure. See Remoteness Area.

Non-school qualification

A non-school qualification is awarded for post-school educational attainment. Includes Certificates, Diplomas, Bachelor degrees, Graduate certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Postgraduate degrees. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications. Responses have been coded according to the ABS Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001.

Not in the labour force

Includes persons who are retired; no longer working; do not intend to work in the future; permanently unable to work; or who have never worked and never intend to work. See also Labour force status.


See Body Mass Index.

Occasional care

Provides care mainly for under school-age children. These services cater mainly for families who require short-term care for their children.

Other households

See Household.


See Proxy Occupancy Standard.

Participation in sport and physical recreation activities

Participation in a sport or physical recreational activity in the last 12 months. Includes persons involved in 'non-playing roles', such as coaches, officials, umpires and administrators.

Perinatal death/mortality

A foetal or neonatal death.

Perinatal mortality rate

The number of perinatal deaths per 1,000 total births in the same year.

Permanent dwelling

See Dwelling.

Persons in low income households

The 20% of people with equivalised gross household incomes between the bottom 10% and the bottom 30% of incomes. People with equivalised gross household income in the lowest decile (including those with negative income) have been excluded since they tend to have expenditure patterns more in common with higher income households than with other households at the bottom of the income distribution. For more information on this issue, see Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia 2003-04 (cat. no. 6523.0) See also Equivalised gross household income and Equivalised gross household income - deciles.


The number of instances of a specific disease present in a given population at a designated point in time. See also Incidence.

Principal diagnosis

The diagnosis established to be chiefly responsible for a patient’s hospitalisation.

Private dwelling

See Dwelling.

Procedure (hospital)

Procedures encompass surgical procedures and also non-surgical investigative and therapeutic procedures such as x-rays and chemotherapy. Because a procedure is not undertaken every time a patient visits hospital, the number of hospital separations always exceeds procedures recorded.

Profound core activity limitation

See Core activity limitation and Disability or long-term health condition.

Proxy Occupancy Standard

This standard considers households requiring two or more additional bedrooms to be overcrowded. Standard bedroom requirements for specified households are as follows:

  • single adult - 1 bedroom
  • single adult (group) - 1 bedroom per adult
  • couple with no children - 2 bedrooms
  • sole parent or couple with 1 child - 2 bedrooms
  • sole parent or couple with 2 or 3 children - 3 bedrooms
  • sole parent or couple with 4 or more children - 4 bedrooms.

Public transport

Modes of transport that travel on fixed routes, at regular times, and which are available to everybody in the area being serviced. Includes buses, trains, trams or light rail, and boat or ferry services. Transport services available on demand (e.g. taxis) are excluded.


The period from the birth of a child until the mother is again restored to ordinary health. This period is generally regarded as lasting for one month.

Rate ratio

Indigenous to non-Indigenous rate ratios are calculated by dividing the proportion of Indigenous people with a particular characteristic by the proportion of non-Indigenous people with the same characteristic. A rate ratio of 1.0 indicates that the prevalence of the characteristic is the same in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Rate ratios of greater than 1.0 indicate higher prevalence in the Indigenous population and rate ratios less than 1.0 indicate higher prevalence in the non-Indigenous population. For example, the age standardised proportion of Indigenous people aged 18 years or over with a disability or long-term health condition in non-remote areas was 56.6% while the comparable proportion for non-Indigenous people was 40.0%. Dividing 56.6% by 40.0% produces an Indigenous to non-Indigenous age standardised rate ratio of 1.4. That is, after taking into account age differences between the populations, the disability rate for Indigenous people is 1.4 times that of non-Indigenous people.


Geographical areas within the ‘Inner regional Australia’ and ‘Outer regional Australia’ categories of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure. See Remoteness Area.


Geographical areas within the ‘Remote Australia’ and ‘Very remote Australia’ categories of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure. This term has been abbreviated to ‘Remote’ in this publication. See Remoteness Area.

Remoteness Area

Within a state or territory, each Remoteness Area represents an aggregation of non-contiguous geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness, determined in the context of Australia as a whole.

The delimitation criteria for Remoteness Areas are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) developed by then Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care and the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS. ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distances to the nearest Urban Centre in each of the five size classes. Therefore, not all Remoteness Areas are represented in each state or territory.

There are six Remoteness Areas in this structure:

  • Major Cities of Australia: Collection Districts (CDs) with an average ARIA index value of 0 to 0.2
  • Inner Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 0.2 and less than or equal to 2.4
  • Outer Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 2.4 and less than or equal to 5.92
  • Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 5.92 and less than or equal to 10.53
  • Very Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 10.53
  • Migratory: composed on off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs.

For more information, see Statistical Geography Volume 1, Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001 (ABS cat. no. 1216.0).

Removal from natural family

A person that has been ‘taken away’ from their natural family. Includes the removal, as a child, from natural family as part of government policy, and which may have occurred under old welfare policies as well as more recent ones. 'Family' may include extended family members such as aunts, uncles and grandparents. Interviewers were instructed to exclude persons who had been removed from their family for a period of less than six months and those who had been separated from their family for other reasons, such as family dissolution or traditional adoption.

Repairs and maintenance

Work carried out on a dwelling in order to prevent deterioration or to repair or restore the dwelling to its original condition. Repairs and maintenance work is usually of a lesser value than renovations, alterations or additions. Types of repairs and maintenance include: painting; roof repair and maintenance, tile repair and maintenance, electrical work and plumbing.

Risk factor

An aspect of lifestyle or behaviour, a health condition, an environmental exposure, or an inborn or inherited characteristic, known to be associated with health-related conditions considered important to prevent.

Schooling restriction

Difficulty with education of a person aged 18-20 years who otherwise had no core activity limitation. See also Core activity limitation and Disability or long-term health condition.

Self-assessed health status

A person's general assessment of their own health against a five-point scale which ranged from excellent through to poor.

Separation (hospital)

See Hospitalisation.

Severe core activity restriction

See Core activity limitation and Disability or long-term health condition.

Smoker status

In the 2002 NATSISS, smoker status was collected from persons aged 15 years or over and referred to the extent to which a person was smoking at the time they were interviewed. People were categorised as occasional smokers (less than one smoke per day, on average); regular smokers (at least one smoke per day); ex-smokers; and those who have never smoked. Smoking in this context includes the regular smoking of tobacco (both manufactured (packet) cigarettes and roll-your-own cigarettes), cigars and pipes. Excludes chewing tobacco and non-tobacco products (e.g. marijuana).

In the 2001 National Health Survey, smoking status was collected from adults aged 18 years or over, and referred to regular smoking (at the time of the interview) of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluded chewing tobacco and smoking of non-tobacco products. ‘Regular smoking’ was defined as one or more cigarettes (or pipes or cigars) per day on average as reported by the respondent.

Social housing

Rental housing provided by state or territory housing authorities, Indigenous Housing Organisations and mainstream community housing organisations.

Source of income

See Main current source of personal income.

Source(s) of support

Family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and various community, government and professional organisations that a person has nominated as source(s) of support to them in times of crisis. See also Support in time of crisis.


One or more events or circumstances which a person considers to have been a problem for themself or someone close to them in the last 12 months. Personal stressors in the 2002 NATSISS included: serious illness; accident or disability; the death of a family member or close friend; mental illness; divorce or separation; inability to obtain work; involuntary loss of a job; alcohol or drug-related problems; witnessing violence; being the victim of abuse or violent crime; trouble with the police; gambling problems; incarceration of self or a family member; overcrowding; pressure to fulfil cultural responsibilities; and discrimination or racism.

Support in time of crisis

The existence of a support network outside a person's household. Such support could be called on in a time of crisis and could take the form of emotional, physical and/or financial help. See also Source(s) of support.

Torres Strait Islander people

People identified as being of Torres Strait Islander origin. May also include people identified as being of both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal origin. See also Indigenous people.

Total Fertility Rate

The number of children a woman would bear during her lifetime if she experienced current age-specific fertility rates throughout her reproductive life.

Transport difficulties

A person's perceived level of difficulty in accessing or using transport to get to places as needed e.g. work; school; the shops; government services; health services and hospitals; or anywhere else the respondent considers they need to go on a regular basis. Temporary difficulties such as a car breaking down are excluded. According to their responses a person may then be categorised as being easily able to get to places as needed; sometimes having difficulty; often having difficulty; or unable to get to places as needed.

Underlying cause of death

The disease or injury which initiated the morbid train of events leading directly to death. Accidental and violent deaths are classified to the external cause, that is, to the circumstance of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury rather than to the nature of the injury.


Persons who were not employed and actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey, and were available to start work in the week prior to the survey. See also Labour force status.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people expressed as a percentage of the labour force (i.e. employed plus unemployed persons).

Usual daily serves of fruit

Refers to the number of serves of fruit (excluding drinks and beverages) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit. Low usual daily fruit intake is defined as eating one serve or less per day, which includes not eating fruit at all.

Usual daily serves of vegetables

Refers to the number of serves of vegetables (excluding drinks and beverages) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to approximately 75 grams. Low usual daily vegetable intake is defined as eating one serve or less per day, which includes not eating vegetables at all.

Usual residence

Refers to the place where a person has lived or intends to live for a total of six months or more.

Victim of physical or threatened violence

A person who had physical force or violence used against them, or threatened to be used against them, in the 12 months prior to the survey. Includes violence or threats made by persons known to the respondent.

Vocational education and training

Vocational training delivered by publicly funded training providers (e.g. TAFE, agricultural colleges, and some schools and private providers).

Voluntary work

The provision of unpaid help in the form of time, service or skills to an organisation or community group in the 12 months prior to interview. ‘Unpaid’ means the person is not paid in cash or in kind for the work they do. The reimbursement of expenses in full or part (e.g. token payments) or small gifts (e.g. sports club T-shirts or caps) does not constitute payment of a salary, thus people who receive these are still included as voluntary workers.