4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/08/1999   
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August 10, 1999
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Lifelong disadvantage, early death for Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australians are disadvantaged on a wide range of health and welfare measures throughout the life cycle, according to a comprehensive report released jointly today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Babies born to Indigenous mothers are more likely than other babies to die around the time of birth. Those who survive are more likely than other Australians to live in poor conditions, to be unemployed, to suffer from violence, to be imprisoned, to develop a range of chronic diseases, to be admitted to hospital, and to die at a young age.

More than half of the deaths among Indigenous males in 1995-97 occurred among people who had not yet reached their 50th birthday. Three out of four Indigenous males who died had not yet turned 65. Among Indigenous females, about four in ten deaths occurred before age 50 and two in three before age 65. By contrast, the majority of deaths in Australia (73% of male deaths and 84% of female deaths) occurred in people older than 65 years.

The report notes that although considerable efforts are under way to improve the quality and reliability of information about the health and welfare of Indigenous Australians, it is not yet possible to measure changes over time with accuracy and confidence.

Details are in The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (cat. no. 4704.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication is available from this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the summary. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.