4713.0 - Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/10/2003   
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October 30, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Population characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: 2001 Census

A profile of the socioeconomic characteristics of Australia's Indigenous population released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today showed that the average (mean) equivalised gross household income for Indigenous Australians was 62% of the income level for non-Indigenous Australians in 2001.

The report, based on 2001 Census data, includes national level analyses of the demographic, household composition, language, education, work, income and housing characteristics of Indigenous Australians.

Some of the main findings were:
  • The experimental estimated resident Indigenous population was 458,520, or 2.4% of the total population (up from 2.1% in 1996) at 30 June 2001;
  • Almost 40% of the Indigenous population was under the age of 15 years, compared with 20% for the non-Indigenous population;
  • Over one-quarter (27%) of the Indigenous population lived in remote or very remote parts of Australia, compared with 2% of non-Indigenous Australians;
  • The estimated resident Torres Strait Islander population was 48,791, of whom 86% lived outside the Torres Strait Area;
  • The households where Indigenous Australians reside tended to be:

    - larger (3.5 people on average) than other households (2.6 people);

    - more likely than other households to be renting (63% compared with 27%); and

    - when renting, much more likely than other households to rent from community or

    - cooperative housing groups (17% compared to 2%).

  • Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over who had left school were half as likely (18%) as non-Indigenous Australians (41%) to have completed Year 12;
  • More than half (55%) of Indigenous Australians living in very remote areas spoke an Indigenous language at home, compared with 1% in major cities and inner regional areas;
  • 42% of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over were employed (41% in 1996), well below the 59% recorded for the non-Indigenous population in 2001;
  • Indigenous Australians in the labour force were much more likely than non-Indigenous people to be unemployed (20% compared with 7%);

Further details are in Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 (cat. no. 4713.0). A set of tables are also available for each state and territory via this web site.