Latest release

Housing Statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Collation of housing and household characteristics statistics from ABS collections

Reference period
2018-19 financial year
Released
11/05/2022
Next release 16/09/2022
First release

Key statistics

  • Home ownership increased to 39.6% of households in 2016, up from 33.0% in 2001.
  • The majority (80.2%) of dwellings were of an acceptable standard in 2018-19.
  • In 2016, most people (78.9%) lived in dwellings that were adequately sized (not overcrowded). This has improved from 69.2% in 2001.

Historical experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the lasting impacts of colonisation have had a significant impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing conditions and homelessness[¹].

This publication has been externally peer-reviewed. The ABS greatly values the knowledge, expertise and contributions of these reviewers and thanks them for their time and input.

Information sources and comparability

Housing information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is available in several ABS collections. See the Information Sources table below for further information.

The information presented in this publication was sourced from the Census of Population and Housing (Census), the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). When reading this publication keep in mind that data from the Census cannot be compared to data from the NATSIHS and NATSISS due to different collection methods.

2021 Census results will be added to this publication after they become available. See the 2021 Census topics and data release plan for more information.

Information Sources

Table 1 summarises key information about the use, design and scope of ABS sources that collect data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing

Table 1. ABS sources that collect data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing
 Census of Population and Housing (Census)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)Census Estimates of Homelessness
Best For

Analysis at small disaggregations such as low-level geography or age groups on key topics.

Analysis at national, state/territory and remoteness geographies.

Cross-classifying socioeconomic, cultural, health and wellbeing information.

Analysis at national, state/territory and remoteness geographies.

Cross-classifying socioeconomic, cultural, health and wellbeing information.

Analysis of homelessness prevalence (person counts and rates) from SA2 level.

Cross-classifying Homeless operational groups by various personal characteristics.

Scope

All people in Australia on Census night in private and non-private dwellings. Excludes foreign diplomats and their families.

A sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages living in private dwellings in non-remote and remote areas of Australia, including discrete Indigenous communities.

A sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages living in private dwellings in non-remote and remote areas of Australia, including discrete Indigenous communities.

All people in Australia on Census night in private and non-private dwellings. Excludes foreign diplomats and their families, overseas visitors, people in offshore, shipping or migratory regions, people in an overnight journey by train or bus and people in ‘Other Territories’.

Sample

Not applicable.

The most recent 2018-19 NATSIHS had a sample of 10,579 fully responding people/6,388 households (see Methodology for more information).

The most recent 2014-15 NATSISS had a sample of 11,178 fully responding people/6,611 households (see User Guide for more information).

Not applicable.

Response rates and undercoverage

For the 2016 Census:

Item non-response to the Indigenous Status question: 6.0%

Net Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undercount (from the 2016 Census Post Enumeration Survey): 17.5%

See Understanding the Census and Census data for more information.

For the 2018-19 NATSIHS:

Household response rate: 73.4%

Undercoverage:

67% of the in-scope Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

See Methodology for more information.

For the 2014-15 NATSISS:

Household response rate: 80.3%

Undercoverage:

62% of the in-scope Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

See User Guide for more information.

For the 2016 Census:

Item non-response to the Indigenous Status question: 6.0%

Net Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undercount (from the 2016 Census Post Enumeration Survey): 17.5%

See Understanding the Census and Census data for more information.

Applicable population

All persons

All persons

All persons

All persons

Geography

Available at all levels of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)

Data quality better at higher levels of geography such as State and Territory and Remoteness

Data quality better at higher levels of geography such as State and Territory and Remoteness

Data quality better at Statistical Area level 3 (SA3) and above.

Frequency

Collected every 5 years. Most recent available data is 2016.

2004-05, 2012-13, 2018-19.

1994, 2002, 2008, 2014-15.

Collected every 5 years. Most recent available data is 2016.

Comparability

Not comparable with other collections.

Housing data is comparable with the NATSISS only.

Housing data is comparable with the NATSIHS only.

Not comparable with other collections, including Census.

More information – data and analysis

Find Census data

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15

Census of Population and Housing: Estimating Homelessness

More information - methodology

Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016

Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey methodology, 2018-19 financial year

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014-15

Census of Population and Housing: Estimating Homelessness methodology

 

 

Table 2 provides an overview of the housing topics available in the Census, NATSIHS,  NATSISS and Census Estimates of Homelessness

Table 2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing topics available in ABS sources
 

Census of Population and Housing (Census)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)

Census Estimates of Homelessness

Applicable population – housing questions

All persons

All persons

All persons

All persons

Dwelling structure

Y

Y

Y

Y

Household composition

Y

Y

Y

Y

Family household composition

Y

Y

Y

N

Number of persons in household

Y

Y

Y

Y

Tenure type

Y

Y

Y

Y

Landlord type

Y

Y

Y

Y

Number of bedrooms

Y

Y

Y

Y

Canadian National Occupancy Standard/ Housing Suitability

Y

Y

Y

Y

Equivalised total household income

(weekly)

Y

Y

Y

Y

Rent (weekly)

Y

N

Y

Y

Mortgage Repayments (monthly)

Y

N

Y(a)

Y

Household facilities that are not available or that do not work

N

Y

Y

N

Types of repairs or maintenance carried out in last 12 months

N

Y

Y

N

Types of major structural problems

N

Y

Y

N

Number of major structural problems

N

Y

Y

N

Whether household living in house of an acceptable standard

N

Y

Y

N

Types of community facilities available to the household

N

N

Y

N

Satisfaction with services provided by public housing service provider

N

N

Y

N

Dwelling Type

Y

N

N

Y

Type of non-private dwelling

Y

N

N

Y

Relationship in household

Y

Y

Y

Y

Count of persons temporarily absent from household

Y

N

N

Y

Type of homelessness

N

N

N

Y

(a) Weekly mortgage repayments, not monthly.

When to use Census data for housing

The Census is the most complete source of information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing, such as the dwelling structure, size and type, as it is specifically designed to collect this information. It also collects information about tenure and landlord type, housing suitability, household income, housing costs and homelessness. Census data is the best source of ‘local area’, low level of geography information.

When to use Survey data for housing

The NATSISS and NATSIHS collect information about housing and households but are primarily designed to collect information about people. These surveys are, however, the only source of information about the condition or ‘standard’ of housing, such as structural problems or problems with facilities such as having toilets that do not work. Survey data is best used at the national, state or remoteness level for analysis of measures such as housing standards or suitability or of characteristics of people living in different housing situations.

When to use Census Estimates of Homelessness

The Census Estimates of Homelessness are estimates of persons who were homeless or marginally housed (living in inadequate housing such as no security of tenure or overcrowded) and at risk of homelessness on Census night. These estimates are the best ABS source of information on the prevalence of homelessness, the characteristics and living arrangements of those likely to be homeless on Census night and estimates of marginally housed people whose living arrangements are close to the statistical boundary of homelessness but who are not classified as homeless. It is important to note, however, that the definition of homelessness used for these Estimates was developed for application to the general population and there are likely additional aspects to homelessness from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s perspective that the definition does not adequately cover.

Comparability of Census and Survey Data

Data collected from the Census and surveys are not comparable due to the differences in their scope and design.

In the Census, all people present on Census night are approached to participate so there is no weighting required, and no sampling error involved.

In the ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surveys, only part of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is approached to participate. Responses are weighted to make inferences about the whole population. As a result, surveys are subject to a degree of sampling error. The ABS publishes measures of sampling error for survey data that provide an indication of the accuracy of survey data. Further information about measures of error in sample surveys is available Errors in Statistical Data.

Further information about the differences between the Census and surveys, and the advantages and disadvantages of each is available Samples and Censuses.

Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey

The Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS) is no longer conducted by the ABS. It was collected in 2006, 2001 and 1999 and produced reliable national statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and infrastructure in discrete communities. The aim of CHINS was to provide information to assist government agencies in making policy decisions, program development and target funding to discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities most in need.

Information collected included:

  • details of the current housing stock, management practices and financial arrangements of Indigenous organisations that supply housing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • details of housing and related infrastructure such as water, electricity, sewerage, drainage and solid waste disposal, as well as other facilities such as transport, communication, education, sport and health services, available in discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Closing the Gap and Other National Government Reporting

ABS surveys, Census of Population and Housing and administrative information are major data sources for a number of government reports that measure outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These include the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework.

An overview of ABS collections used in Closing the Gap and other National Government Reporting is available in Closing the Gap and Other National Government Reporting. Where possible this publication presents information using the same methodology used by these reports.

Closing the Gap Targets

There is one housing related target as part of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap that is measured using ABS data sources:

Target 9: ‘By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 88 per cent.’

Data for this target is available in the 'Closing the Gap target - Appropriately sized housing - Persons' data download.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Households

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households are defined as a dwelling where at least one person who usually lives in the dwelling identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

According to the 2016 Census, there were 263,037 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, representing 3.2% of all households in Australia. This is up from 2.1% in 2001.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

Source: 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Dwelling Characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Dwelling Characteristics

ABS data sources classify dwellings as ‘non-private’ or ‘private’ dwellings.

Non-private dwellings are establishments which provide a communal type of accommodation e.g. hotels and boarding houses. If a non-private dwelling is unoccupied on Census night it is not counted.

Private dwellings are most often separate houses, townhouses, apartments or flats, but can also be caravans, cabins, tents or boats.

The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons counted on Census night in 2016 were staying in private dwellings (95%), and the remainder (5% or 30,000) were counted in non-private dwellings.

Non-private dwellings

Of those counted in non-private dwellings on Census night in 2016:

  • 10,685 (35.7%) were in prisons
  • 3,436 (11.5%) in hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts
  • 3,279 (11.0%) in staff quarters (including nurses’ quarters)
  • 3,114 (10.4%) were in boarding schools.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  2. Other non-private dwelling includes Convent, monastery, etc.
  3. Includes accommodation for the retired or aged (not self-contained).

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 2.0 in 'Dwelling Characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Private dwellings

The Dwelling structure variable provides a standard classification of the different types of private dwelling structures, such as houses, flats and townhouses. Data on dwelling structure are used to monitor changes in housing characteristics, to help formulate housing policies and to review existing housing stock.

Prior to 2016, information on dwelling structure was collected by Census Field Officers. From 2016, most of the information on dwelling structure was sourced from the ABS Address Register. The change in collection methods may have an impact when comparing dwelling structure information over time. For more information see – Understanding the Census and Census Data.

There were 263,037 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander private dwellings (households) that were counted in the 2016 Census. Of these:

  • Separate houses were the most common dwelling structure with 211,205 dwellings (80.7% of dwellings).
  • The next most common was semi-detached row or terrace houses or townhouses with 27,017 dwellings of this structure (10.3% of dwellings).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. ‘Other’ dwelling structure includes: Caravan; Cabin; Houseboat; Improvised home, tent, sleepers out; and House or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 3.0 in 'Dwelling Characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Remoteness

There was a slight difference in dwelling structure between non-remote and remote areas:

  • Remote areas had a slightly higher proportion of separate houses than non-remote areas (87.0% compared with 79.9%).
  • Non-remote areas had a higher proportion of semi-detached row, terrace or townhouses, flats and apartments (19.1%) than in remote areas (11.1%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A households with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  4. Remote includes ‘Remote’ and ‘Very Remote’ in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
  5. Non-Remote includes ’Major Cities’, ‘Inner Regional’ and ‘Outer Regional’ in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
  6. ‘Other’ dwelling structure includes: Caravan; Cabin; Houseboat; Improvised home, tent, sleepers out; and House or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 3.1 in 'Dwelling characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Number of bedrooms

The Number of bedrooms variable provides a count of the number of bedrooms in each occupied private dwelling, including caravans in caravan parks. A bedroom is defined as a room within the dwelling that is defined as a bedroom on the dwelling plan, even if it has been converted to another room such as a study. This includes rooms that have been created as a result of alterations and additions to the dwellings (such as built-in verandas, extensions and sunrooms, etc.) which the occupants consider to be bedrooms. A studio apartment or bedsitter is considered to have no bedrooms, as there is no separate room in which to sleep.


Information about the number of bedrooms in a dwelling is used to provide an indication of:

  • dwelling size
  • average number of persons per bedroom
  • overcrowding, by calculating occupancy ratios (i.e. the number and demographics of people per bedroom).

In 2016, three bedrooms was the most common dwelling size in both remote and non-remote areas (48.1% and 43.8% respectively). This has remained consistent over time (51.1% for remote and 51.5% for non-remote areas in 2001). Dwellings in non-remote areas were more likely to have four or more bedrooms than remote areas.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Denominator includes not stated responses.
  2. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  3. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  5. Remote includes ‘Remote’ and ‘Very Remote’ in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
  6. Non-Remote includes ’Major Cities’, ‘Inner Regional’ and ‘Outer Regional’ in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 4.1 in 'Dwelling Characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Number of bedrooms by Dwelling structure

In 2016:

  • The majority of separate houses had three or more bedrooms (86.4%) with three-bedroom houses being the most common (48.5%).
  • Most semi-detached houses had two (39.5%) or three (38.5%) bedrooms.
  • Almost 80% of flats and apartments had two or fewer bedrooms (79.1%) with two bedrooms being the most reported (55.6%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Denominator includes not stated responses for Number of bedrooms.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  5. ‘Other’ dwelling structure includes: Caravan; Cabin; Houseboat; Improvised home, tent, sleepers out; and House or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 5.0 in 'Dwelling characteristics' from 'Data downloads'

Standard of Housing

Information has been collected on household facilities, maintenance and major structural problems in the ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surveys since the 2008 NATSISS to better understand the condition of housing in which people live.

Household facilities

The types of basic household facilities that are considered important for a healthy living environment include those that:

  • assist in washing people, clothes and bedding
  • safely remove waste
  • enable the safe storage and cooking of food.


The household spokesperson was asked whether any of the listed household facilities were not available or were not working. Not working includes instances where the item works but there is no power or fuel supply available for it to be useable. More than one response was allowed. The response categories were:

  • stove/oven/other cooking facilities
  • fridge
  • toilet
  • bath or shower
  • washing machine
  • kitchen sink
  • laundry tub
  • none of these.

Major structural problems

The household spokesperson was also asked about any major structural problems that existed. The household spokesperson may have a lack of knowledge of housing construction and standards which could impact reporting of the following structural problems. In non-remote areas, people were asked whether the dwelling has any of the listed major structural problems, while in remote areas people were asked if the house had any of the listed problems that need to be fixed. More than one response was allowed. The response categories were:

  • rising damp
  • major cracks in walls/floors
  • sinking/moving foundations
  • sagging floors
  • walls or windows that aren't straight
  • wood rot/termite damage
  • major electrical problems
  • major plumbing problems
  • major roof defect
  • other major structural problems
  • no structural problems.

Acceptable standard of housing

The ‘acceptable standard of housing’ variable was introduced in the 2008 NATSISS and is calculated based on the household facilities available in the household and the number of major structural problems. A dwelling was deemed to be of an acceptable standard where it had fewer than three major structural problems and had:

  • working facilities for washing people
  • working facilities for washing clothes or bedding
  • working facilities for preparing food
  • working sewerage facilities.

A dwelling was deemed to be not of an acceptable standard where any of the above facilities were unavailable or there were more than two structural problems.

Housing and infrastructure in remote areas is more expensive and logistically more difficult to maintain[²]. With one in nine (11.4% in 2016) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households located in remote areas, compared with just 1.4% of Other households, they are more likely to be impacted by major structural problems and inadequate facilities.

Between the 2012-13 and the 2018-19 NATSIHS, the proportion of dwellings that were of an acceptable standard:

  • did not change significantly (around four in five dwellings) nationally
  • remained stable in both non-remote and remote areas
  • was lower in remote areas than non-remote (64.8% compared with 82.6% in 2018-19).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

  1. Dwelling had fewer than three major structural problems and all household facilities were available and in working order.

Source: 2012-13 and 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Standard of housing' from 'Data downloads'

Household facilities

There has been no significant change nationally between 2012-13 and 2018-19 in the proportion of dwellings with working facilities (84.3% and 86.7% respectively).

In 2018-19, dwellings in non-remote areas were more likely to have working facilities than those in remote areas. The biggest difference between non-remote and remote areas were for working facilities for preparing food (difference of 13.7 percentage points) and for washing clothes or bedding (difference of 11 percentage points).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Source: 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in table 2.1 in 'Standard of housing' from 'Data downloads'

Major Structural problems

In 2018-19, two-thirds (67.1%) of dwellings had no major structural problems, while almost one in ten dwellings had three or more problems (9%). There was no significant change for either of these indicators since the 2012-13 NATSIHS.

The most common type of major structural problem reported for all dwellings (including those with no major structural problems) was major cracks in walls and floors (12.4%), followed by walls or windows that were not straight (10.0%).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

  1. Denominator includes dwellings with no major structural problems.

Source: 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in table 3.0 in 'Standard of housing' from 'Data downloads'

Remoteness

In 2018-19, survey participants reported:

  • Over two-thirds (69.0%) of dwellings in non-remote areas had no major structural problems compared with over half (54.5%) of those in remote areas.
  • Dwellings in remote areas were more likely to have three or more major structural problems (12.1% compared with 8.5%).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Source: 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in table 3.1 in 'Standard of housing' from 'Data downloads'

Tenure Type

The Tenure Type variable describes whether a household rents or owns their dwelling or whether the household occupies it under another arrangement.

In 2016:

  • Home ownership increased to 39.6%, from 33.0% in 2001.
  • One in eight dwellings were owned outright (12.7%), compared with one in four that were owned with a mortgage (26.9%).
  • Dwellings were one and half times more likely to be rented than owned (59.7% compared with 39.6%).

Across the states and territories:

  • Northern Territory had the highest proportion of dwellings that were rented (75.9%).
  • Tasmania had the highest rate of dwellings (53.1%) that were owned (outright/with a mortgage).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households
  4. Australia includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  5. Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  6. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Remoteness

In 2016:

  • The proportion of dwellings rented generally increased with remoteness, with 88.0% of dwellings in very remote areas being rented compared with 57.4% of those in major cities.
  • One in ten of those living in very remote areas owned their own home (10.5%), compared with 43.8% in inner regional areas.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Owned includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  5. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Family composition - counting households

In 2016:

  • More than half (56.9%) of dwellings owned with a mortgage were occupied by couple families with children.
  • Two in five (41.4%) dwellings owned outright were owned by couple families with no children.
  • Just over two in five rented dwellings were occupied by one parent families (43.5%).
  • Dwellings occupied by multiple family households were more likely to be owned outright (7.2%) than rented (6.7%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. In multiple family households, only the family composition of the primary family is recorded. See the Census Glossary for a definition of the Primary family.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only', 'Other non-classifiable' households and 'Other households' including lone person and group households, which in 2016 accounted for 19.3% of households.
  4. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  5. Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  6. Rented includes ‘Being occupied rent-free’.
  7. Includes couple families with children under 15 years, couple families with no children under 15 but with dependent students, and couple families with no children under 15 and no dependent students but with non-dependent children. See 2016 Census Dictionary for definition of non-dependent children.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 2.0 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Family composition - counting families

In 2016:

  • One parent families in multiple family households were more likely to live in a home that was owned outright (10.9%) compared with those in one family households (7.0%).
  • Over three-quarters (77.6%) of one parent families in one family households lived in a rented home compared with just over two-thirds (69.8%) of one parent families in multiple family households.
  • Couple families with children in multiple family households were more likely to live in a rented home compared with those in one family households (67.6% compared with 45.7%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A family with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Excludes 'Visitors only', 'Other non-classifiable' households and 'Other households' including lone person and group households.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  5. Rented includes ‘Being occupied rent-free’.
  6. Includes couple families with children under 15 years, couple families with children under 15 but with dependent students, and couple families with no children under 15 and no dependent students but with non-dependent children. See 2016 Census Dictionary for definition of non-dependent children.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 3.0 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Landlord Type

The Landlord Type variable provides information on the type of landlord for rented dwellings. It applies to all households who are renting their dwelling (including caravans, etc. in caravan parks). Landlord Type allows data to be produced for studies of the socio-economic characteristics of tenants of public authority housing as well as tenants in privately owned accommodation.

One in four dwellings (25.4%) were rented from Real Estate Agents in 2016. This was the most common landlord type, followed by State or Territory Housing Authority (19.3%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Person not in same household includes parent, other relative and other person.
  5. Other landlord type includes Residential park (includes caravan parks and marinas), Government employer (including Defence Housing Authority) and Other employer.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Remoteness

The landlord type of dwellings in non-remote areas was different to remote areas.

In 2016:

  • Over one quarter of dwellings in major cities were rented through Real Estate Agents (29.8%), the highest proportion of all remoteness areas.
  • More than half (60.6%) of dwellings in very remote areas were rented via State or Territory Housing Authorities.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Person not in same household includes parent, other relative and other person.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Tenure and landlord type' from 'Data downloads'

Housing Suitability and Overcrowding

When considering the following information, note that the ABS’s housing suitability variable is based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) and the definitions below may not adequately reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of overcrowding. CNOS does not take into consideration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural norms such as 'demand sharing', which can lead households to be seen as 'crowded'[³]. Maintaining a large, open household is a core obligation for many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, driven by a culture of sharing and connection to family. Household size can vary due to visiting family seeking temporary or semi-permanent accommodation for reasons such as accessing health or other services in the area or attending cultural events[⁴]. This measure may also be affected by under-reporting, with the number of actual occupants in a household not accurately reported for fear of negative consequences by the household’s rental agency for housing more people than allowed by their tenancy agreement[⁵].

For more information on this measure see Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary.

The Housing suitability variable compares the number of bedrooms in the dwelling with the number of bedrooms required based on household demographics. This means that the variable can be used to provide a measure of overcrowding in households.

For the purposes of this analysis:

  • dwellings requiring one or more bedrooms are considered overcrowded
  • dwellings requiring four or more bedrooms are considered severely crowded
  • dwellings with spare bedrooms or the right number of bedrooms are considered appropriately sized or ‘not overcrowded’.

Canadian National Occupancy Standard

There is no single standard measure for housing suitability. However, the CNOS is widely used in Australia and internationally and the housing suitability variable is based on this standard. 

Housing Suitability is a housing utilisation measure based upon a comparison of the number of bedrooms in a dwelling together with a series of household demographics such as the number of usual residents, their relationship to one another, and their age and sex.

The measure assesses the bedroom requirements of a household by specifying that:

  • there should be no more than two persons per bedroom
  • children less than five years of age of different sexes may reasonably share a bedroom
  • children less than 18 years of age and of the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom
  • single household members 18 years and over should have a separate bedroom
  • parents or couples should have a separate bedroom
  • a lone person household may reasonably occupy a bed sitter.

Closing the gap - People living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing

In contrast to the rest of the publication, the information below on the Closing the Gap target is based on a count of persons, not households. This person level data is included in the Data Download: ‘Closing the Gap Target – Appropriately sized housing – Persons’.

In 2016:

  • Four in five (78.9%) people lived in appropriately sized housing, up from 69.2% in 2001.
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of people living in appropriately sized housing (91.6%) while the Northern Territory had the lowest (38.4%).

Western Australia had the largest absolute increase between 2001 and 2016 in those living in appropriately sized housing, rising 11.9 percentage points, closely followed by South Australia, rising 11.5 percentage points.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, dwellings not requiring one or more bedrooms. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined. Excludes persons who were not enumerated at their place of usual residence.
  2. Based on Place of Usual Residence. Includes No usual address and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  3. Includes Other Territories

Source: 2001 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Closing the Gap target - Adequately sized housing - Persons' from 'Data downloads'

Housing Suitability - counting households

Analysis presented in the below commentary is based on counts of households.

In 2016:

  • Over one-third of dwellings had one bedroom spare (34.1%). This was most common, followed by those that needed no additional bedrooms and had none spare (27.8%).
  • Over one in ten dwellings (10.9%) were overcrowded, requiring one or more bedrooms.
  • Almost 1% of dwellings were severely crowded, requiring four or more extra bedrooms.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  5. Dwellings requiring one or more bedrooms are considered ‘overcrowded’.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

In 2016, most households (89.1%) were appropriately sized. This has gradually improved over the last four Census from 84.3% in 2001.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, dwellings not requiring one or more bedrooms. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.

Source: 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

Remoteness - counting households

The proportion of households that were overcrowded decreased as remoteness decreased:

  • The vast majority of households in major cities (91.2%), inner regional areas (92.0%), outer regional areas (89.8%) and remote areas (84.0%) were appropriately sized in 2016.
  • In contrast, in very remote areas just two-thirds (65.3%) of households were appropriately sized.
  • Very remote areas had the largest increase in households that were appropriately sized, rising 11.1 percentage points from 2001 (54.2%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, dwellings not requiring one or more bedrooms. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.

Source: 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

Tenure type - counting households

In 2016:

  • Dwellings that were owned were more likely than dwellings that were rented to accommodate appropriately sized households (94.0% compared with 86.0%).
  • The proportion of rented dwellings accommodating appropriately sized households increased over the last four Census (from 80.5% in 2001 to 86.0%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, dwellings not requiring one or more bedrooms. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  5. Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  6. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.

Source: 2001 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in tables 3.0 and 3.6 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

Standard of housing

Housing of Acceptable Standard

Overcrowding can have a significant impact on the quality of life for people living in these conditions due to additional stress on shared amenities such as bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities, and a lack of privacy.

In the 2018-19 NATSIHS, most overcrowded dwellings (79.5%) in non-remote areas were of an acceptable standard, similar to dwellings in non-remote areas that were appropriately sized (82.8%).

In remote areas, overcrowded dwellings were less likely than dwellings that were appropriately sized to be considered acceptable standard housing. Around half of overcrowded dwellings (52.5%) in remote areas were of an acceptable standard, compared with 68.2% of appropriately sized dwellings.

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

  1. Dwelling had fewer than three major structural problems and all household facilities were available and in working order.
  2. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, overcrowded dwellings require one or more bedrooms.

Source: 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in table 4.0 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

Facilities and Major Structural Problems

The 2018-19 NATSIHS showed that overcrowded dwellings in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have:

  • major structural problems (52.5% compared with 35.9%)
  • household facilities that were not available or did not work (42.6% and 12.8% respectively).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

  1. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard, overcrowded dwellings require one or more bedrooms.

Source: 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data available in tables 5.0 and 6.0 in 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' from 'Data downloads'

Homelessness

Census Estimates of Homelessness

Since the 2001 Census, the ABS publishes estimates of the prevalence of homelessness, and the characteristics and living arrangements of those likely to be homeless on Census night. Estimates are also provided for people whose living arrangements are close to the statistical boundary of homelessness, but who are not classified as homeless. The available data includes an estimate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons experiencing homelessness.

The ABS definition of homelessness has been developed for application to the general population in Australia. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in the measures of homelessness developed with this definition, there are likely to be additional aspects to homelessness from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' perspectives that the definition does not currently adequately capture, including high rates of residential mobility or living remotely in the bush on Country[⁶]. It is also important to recognise that whilst participation rates in the Census by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have increased due to more targeted strategies, some do not easily engage with government data collections based on historical fear and mistrust of government[⁷]. For more information about the Census Estimates of Homelessness, see 4736.0 - Information Paper: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Perspectives on Homelessness, 2014 and Census of Population and Housing: Estimating Homelessness, 2016.

Rates of homelessness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are linked to several complex factors, including the lasting impacts of colonisation.

In 2016, it was estimated that 23,437 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were likely to be homeless on Census Night. Most of these people were living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings (16,399). The smallest was persons in other temporary lodgings (43).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on Place of Usual Residence. Includes Other Territories.
  2. Persons living in 'severely' crowded dwellings includes usual residents in dwellings needing 4 or more extra bedrooms under the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS).
  3. Persons staying temporarily with other households includes 'visitor only' households where all persons report having no usual address.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Homelessness' from 'Data downloads'

Experience of Homelessness

The 2014-15 NATSISS collected information on past experiences of homelessness. This information is not comparable with prevalence estimates of homelessness derived from the Census of Population and Housing. It refers to whether a person has ever previously been without a 'permanent place to live' for the following reasons:

  • family/relationship breakdowns
  • tight housing/rental market
  • violence/abuse/neglect
  • alcohol or drug use
  • financial problems
  • mental illness
  • job loss
  • gambling
  • eviction
  • natural disaster or other damage to house
  • health issues.

For further information, see the 2014-15 NATSISS Glossary.

The 2014-15 NATSISS showed just over one-quarter (29.1%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced homelessness in their lifetime. Experience of homelessness was most common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 35-44 years (40.9%), 25-34 years (38.5%) and 45-54 years (34.4%).

Cells in this table containing data have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Source: 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)

Data available in table 2.0 in 'Homelessness' from 'Data downloads'

Household Income

The following commentary on household income uses the variable ‘Equivalised total household income (weekly)’. This item uses total household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to help compare income levels between households of different size and composition. The 'modified OECD' equivalence scale is used. For more information see the 2021 Census Dictionary.

In 2016, the median equivalised total household weekly income for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households was:

  • $641 nationally
  • highest in the Australian Capital Territory ($1,087)
  • lowest in the Northern Territory ($523).
  1. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Australia includes Other Territories.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Household income' from 'Data downloads'

Median equivalised household weekly income generally decreased as remoteness increased, with a difference of $328 between households in major cities and very remote areas.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Household income' from 'Data downloads'

Household income - Tenure type

In 2016:

  • The median equivalised household income for dwellings owned in remote Australia was higher than dwellings owned in inner regional, outer regional and very remote Australia.
  • Median income was highest in major cities, for both owned and rented dwellings ($1,001 and $598 respectively).
  • Median income was lowest in very remote areas, for both owned and rented dwellings ($765 and $399 respectively).
  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Owned includes ‘Owned with a Mortgage’ and ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  5. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.
  6. Australia includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 2.1 in 'Household income' from 'Data downloads'

Housing suitability - counting households

In 2016, the median equivalised household income in overcrowded dwellings was:

  • lower than dwellings that were appropriately sized, across all remoteness areas
  • $197 lower nationally then dwellings that were appropriately sized
  • just $368 in very remote areas.
  1. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  2. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  3. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  4. Excludes ‘Visitors only’ and ‘Other non-classifiable’ households.
  5. Australia includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  6. Overcrowded dwellings are those requiring one or more bedrooms.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 3.1 in 'Household income' from 'Data downloads'

Housing Costs

Rent payments

The Rent (weekly) variable records the individual dollar amounts of rent paid by households on a weekly basis for the dwelling in which they were counted on Census night. The Census is the only source of rent data for small areas and for small populations. This data is important for housing policy and planning, and for studying the housing conditions of small populations.

Rent - States and Territories

In 2016:

  • The median weekly rent paid by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households was $250 nationally.
  • Households in four states paid above the national median weekly rent – Australian Capital Territory ($360), Victoria ($261), New South Wales and Queensland (both $270).
  • Households in the Northern Territory paid the lowest median weekly rent ($97) and the Australian Capital Territory paid the highest ($360).
  1. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Australia includes Other Territories.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 2.0 in 'Housing costs' from 'Data downloads'

Rent - Remoteness

Median weekly rent payments decreased as remoteness increased, with households paying a median of $330 in major cities compared with $95 in very remote areas in 2016.

  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 2.1 in 'Housing costs' from 'Data downloads'

Rent - Tenure type

Median weekly rent payments in 2016 were highest for households that were privately rented:

  • $333 for those rented through Real estate agents
  • $285 for those rented through someone not in the same household such as parents.

In comparison, median weekly rent payments were around half as much when rented through the government or a community group:

  • $155 when rented through a Housing co-operative, community or church group
  • $150 when rented through a State or Territory Housing Authority.
  1. Based on Place of Enumeration.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Includes Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 3.1 in 'Housing costs' from 'Data downloads'

Mortgage repayments

The Mortgage Repayments (monthly) variable records the mortgage repayments being paid by a household. This data is used for analysis of home ownership and for providing benchmark data for evaluating housing needs, housing finance and housing demand.

Mortgage - States and Territories

In 2016:

  • The median monthly mortgage repayment paid by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households was $1,660.
  • Households in three states paid below the national median monthly mortgage repayments - Victoria ($1,517), South Australia ($1,387) and Tasmania ($1,300).
  • Households in Tasmania paid the lowest median monthly mortgage ($1,300) while the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory paid the highest ($2,167).
  1. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Australia includes Other Territories.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.0 in 'Housing costs' from 'Data downloads'

Socio-Economic Index of Dwelling Location

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) ranks areas in Australia according to relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. These indexes are based on information from the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing and help inform government policy and investment in areas like housing, health and education. SEIFA consists of four indexes, each created from a different subset of Census variables: the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD); the Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD); the Index of Education and Occupation (IEO); and the Index of Economic Resources (IER).

The IRSAD used in the analysis below summarises information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area, including both relative advantage and disadvantage measures. Census variables used in this index include, but are not limited to: household equivalised income, highest level of education, need for assistance with core activities, labour force status, occupation, housing suitability, and rent and mortgage payments. A high score (Quintile 5) indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general.

Tenure type

In 2016:

  • Just over two-thirds (67.8%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households living in areas of lowest advantage/greatest disadvantage (Quintile 1) were renting.
  • Quintile 4 had the highest proportion of dwellings that were owned (48.0% total).
  • Dwellings owned outright were represented relatively evenly across all IRSAD quintiles.

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Area based IRSAD deciles at SA2 level.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  4. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  5. Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being purchased under a shared equity scheme’.
  6. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.1 in 'Socio-economic index of dwelling location' from 'Data downloads'

Between 2011 and 2016, the proportion of rented dwellings:

  • increased in the highest IRSAD quintile by 12 percentage points (43.2% up to 55.2%)
  • decreased in the lowest IRSAD quintile by 5.5 percentage points (73.3% down to 67.8%).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  2. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  3. Rented includes Being occupied rent-free.
  4. Area based IRSAD deciles at SA2 level.
  5. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

Source: 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in tables 1.1 and 1.3 in 'Socio-economic index of dwelling location' from 'Data downloads'

Housing suitability - counting households

Dwellings in the lowest IRSAD quintile were more than twice as likely to be overcrowded compared with those in the highest quintile (15.4% and 6.7% respectively).

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Based on the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. Denominator excludes dwelling with Housing Suitability not stated and unable to be determined.
  2. A household with at least one person who identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who is a usual resident in the household and was at home on Census night.
  3. Excludes 'Visitors only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
  4. Area based IRSAD deciles at SA2 level.
  5. Based on Place of Enumeration. Includes Other Territories and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.
  6. Dwellings requiring one or more bedrooms are considered ‘overcrowded’.

Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data available in table 1.5 in 'Socio-economic index of dwelling location' from 'Data downloads'

References

[¹] Keys Young 1998. Homelessness in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Context and its possible implications for the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). Prepared for the Department of Family and Community Services, 30 November 1998, (final report). NSW: Sydney. Available at Homelessness in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context and its possible implications for the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program | The Homeless Hub.

[²] Fien, J. and Charlesworth, E. 2012, ‘Why Isn’t It Solved?: Factors Affecting Improvements in Housing Outcomes in Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia’, Habitat International, vol. 36, pp. 20–25. Available at ‘Why isn’t it solved?’: Factors affecting improvements in housing outcomes in remote Indigenous communities in Australia (researchgate.net).

[³] Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute 2017. Understanding ‘demand sharing’ of Indigenous households. Available at Understanding 'demand sharing' of Indigenous households | AHURI.

[⁴] Memmott P, Birdsall-Jones C & Greenop K. 2012. Australian Indigenous house crowding. AHURI final report No. 194. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Available at Australian Indigenous house crowding (ahuri.edu.au).

[⁵] Memmott, P., Greenop, K., Clarke, A., Go-Sam, C., Birsall-Janes, C., Harvey-Janes, W., Corunna, V. & Western, M. 2012. Survey Analysis for Indigenous Policy in Australia. 12. NATSISS crowding data: What does it assume and how can we challenge the orthodoxy? Available at Survey Analysis for Indigenous Policy in Australia - ANU.

[⁶] Memmott, P. Long, S. and Thomson, L. 2006. Indigenous Mobility in Rural and Remote Australia. Available at Indigenous mobility in rural and remote Australia | AHURI.

[⁷] NATSIHA, 2020. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority Parliamentary Enquiry into Homelessness in Australia Submission. Available at Inquiry into homelessness in Australia – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au) Submission 162.

Available data

Information used in this publication is available by time series and geography in the Data Downloads section. Please see tables below by topic for information about how to locate this information in the downloads.

Further education information is available from ABS collections as listed in the 'Information sources and comparability' section. Customised data requests are also available on request. Please see Contact the ABS.

Dwelling characteristics

Dwelling characteristics data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable number
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householdsState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 1.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 1.1
Type of Non-Private DwellingState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 2.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 2.1
Dwelling structureState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 3.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 3.1
Dwelling structure (expanded)State/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 3.2
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 3.3
Dwelling structureLocal Government AreaCensus 2016Table 3.4
Indigenous RegionsCensus 2016Table 3.5
Indigenous AreasCensus 2016Table 3.6
Indigenous LocationsCensus 2016Table 3.7
Number of bedroomsState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 4.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 4.1
Dwelling structure by number of bedroomsState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 5.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 5.1

See 'Dwelling characteristics' download for data on this topic.

Standard of housing

Standard of housing data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTables
Whether dwelling of an acceptable standardState/TerritoryNATSISS 2008 and 2014-15, NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19Table 1.0
RemotenessNATSISS 2008 and 2014-15, NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19Table 1.1
Types of household facilities available and Whether has facilities that are not available or do not work.State/TerritoryNATSIHS 2018-19Table 2.0
RemotenessNATSIHS 2018-19Table 2.1
State/TerritoryNATSISS 2014-15Table 2.2
RemotenessNATSISS 2014-15Table 2.3
State/TerritoryNATSIHS 2012-3Table 2.4
RemotenessNATSIHS 2012-3Table 2.5
Types and number of major structural problemsState/TerritoryNATSIHS 2018-19Table 3.0
RemotenessNATSIHS 2018-19Table 3.1
State/TerritoryNATSISS 2014-15Table 3.2
RemotenessNATSISS 2014-15Table 3.3
State/TerritoryNATSIHS 2012-3Table 3.4
RemotenessNATSIHS 2012-3Table 3.5

See 'Standard of housing' download for data on this topic.

Tenure and landlord type

Tenure and landlord type data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTables
Tenure and Landlord typeState/Territory Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.0
Remoteness Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.1
Local Government Areas Census 2016Table 1.2
Indigenous Regions Census 2016Table 1.3
Indigenous Areas Census 2016Table 1.4
Indigenous Locations Census 2016Table 1.5
Local Government Areas Census 2011Table 1.6
Indigenous Regions Census 2011Table 1.7
Indigenous Areas Census 2011Table 1.8
Indigenous Locations Census 2011Table 1.9
Tenure and Landlord type by Family Composition (Households)State/Territory Census 2016Table 2.0
Remoteness Census 2016Table 2.1
State/Territory Census 2011Table 2.2
Remoteness Census 2011Table 2.3
Tenure and Landlord type by Family Composition (Families)State/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 3.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 3.1

See 'Tenure and landlord type' download for data on this topic.

Closing the Gap target - Appropriately sized housing - Persons

Closing the Gap target (Appropriately sized housing - Persons) data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Housing suitability (appropriately sized housing) for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander personsState/Territory Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.0
Remoteness Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.1
Local Government Areas Census 2016Table 1.2
Indigenous Regions Census 2016Table 1.3
Indigenous Areas Census 2016Table 1.4
Indigenous Locations Census 2016Table 1.5
Local Government Areas Census 2011Table 1.6
Indigenous Regions Census 2011Table 1.7
Indigenous Areas Census 2011Table 1.8
Indigenous Locations Census 2011Table 1.9
State/Territory NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19, and NATSISS 2014-15Table 2.0
Remoteness NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19, and NATSISS 2014-15Table 2.1

See 'Closing the Gap target - Appropriately sized housing - Persons' download for data on this topic.

Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households

Housing suitability and Overcrowding (Households) data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Housing suitability (overcrowding) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander householdsState/Territory Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.0
Remoteness Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.1
Local Government Areas Census 2016Table 1.2
Indigenous Regions Census 2016Table 1.3
Indigenous Areas Census 2016Table 1.4
Indigenous Locations Census 2016Table 1.5
Local Government Areas Census 2011Table 1.6
Indigenous Regions Census 2011Table 1.7
Indigenous Areas Census 2011Table 1.8
Indigenous Locations Census 2011Table 1.9
State/Territory NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19, and NATSISS 2014-15Table 2.0
Remoteness NATSIHS 2012-13 and 2018-19, and NATSISS 2014-15Table 2.1
Tenure type by Housing suitability (overcrowding)State/Territory Census 2016Table 3.0
Remoteness Census 2016Table 3.1
State/Territory Census 2011Table 3.2
Remoteness Census 2011Table 3.3
State/Territory Census 2006Table 3.4
Remoteness Census 2006Table 3.5
State/Territory Census 2001Table 3.6
Remoteness Census 2001Table 3.7
Whether dwelling of an acceptable standard by Canadian National Occupancy Standard (overcrowding)Remoteness NATSIHS 2018-19Table 4.0
Remoteness NATSISS 2014-15Table 4.1
Whether any major structural problems by Canadian National Occupancy Standard (overcrowding)Remoteness NATSIHS 2018-19Table 5.0
Remoteness NATSISS 2014-15Table 5.1
Remoteness NATSIHS 2012-13Table 5.2
Household facilities that are not available or that do not work by Canadian National Occupancy Standard (overcrowding)Remoteness NATSIHS 2018-19Table 6.0
Remoteness NATSISS 2014-15Table 6.1
Remoteness NATSIHS 2012-13Table 6.2

See 'Housing suitability and Overcrowding - Households' download for data on this topic.

Homelessness

Homelessness data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Homeless Operational Groups and Other Marginal HousingIndigenous statusCensus 2016Table 1.0
Whether ever experienced homelessnessAge groupsNATSISS 2014-15Table 2.0

See 'Homelessness' download for data on this topic.

Household income

Household income data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Median equivalised total household weekly incomeState/Territory Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.0
Remoteness Census 2016 to 2001Table 1.1
Tenure type by Median equivalised total household weekly incomeState/Territory Census 2016Table 2.0
Remoteness Census 2016Table 2.1
State/Territory Census 2011Table 2.2
Remoteness Census 2011Table 2.3
Housing suitability (overcrowding) by Median equivalised total household weekly incomeState/Territory Census 2016Table 3.0
Remoteness Census 2016Table 3.1
State/Territory Census 2011Table 3.2
Remoteness Census 2011Table 3.3

See 'Household income' download for data on this topic.

Housing costs

Housing costs data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Median mortgage repayments (monthly)State/TerritoryCensus 2016 and 2011Table 1.0
RemotenessCensus 2016 and 2011Table 1.1
Local Government AreasCensus 2016Table 1.2
Indigenous RegionsCensus 2016Table 1.3
Indigenous AreasCensus 2016Table 1.4
Indigenous LocationsCensus 2016Table 1.5
Local Government AreasCensus 2011Table 1.6
Indigenous RegionsCensus 2011Table 1.7
Indigenous AreasCensus 2011Table 1.8
Indigenous LocationsCensus 2011Table 1.9
Median rent payments (weekly)State/TerritoryCensus 2016 and 2011Table 2.0
RemotenessCensus 2016 and 2011Table 2.1
Local Government AreasCensus 2016Table 2.2
Indigenous RegionsCensus 2016Table 2.3
Indigenous AreasCensus 2016Table 2.4
Indigenous LocationsCensus 2016Table 2.5
Local Government AreasCensus 2011Table 2.6
Indigenous RegionsCensus 2011Table 2.7
Indigenous AreasCensus 2011Table 2.8
Indigenous LocationsCensus 2011Table 2.9
Rent payments (weekly) by Landlord typeState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 3.0
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 3.1

See 'Housing costs' download for data on this topic.

Socio-economic index of dwelling location

Socio-economic index of dwelling location data download content
TopicDisaggregationCollectionTable
Index of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage (IRSAD)(a) by tenure typeState/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 1.1
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 1.2
State/TerritoryCensus 2011Table 1.3
RemotenessCensus 2011Table 1.4
Index of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage (IRSAD)(a) by housing suitability (overcrowding)State/TerritoryCensus 2016Table 1.5
RemotenessCensus 2016Table 1.6
State/TerritoryCensus 2011Table 1.7
RemotenessCensus 2011Table 1.8

See 'Socio-economic index of dwelling location' download for data on this topic.

Data downloads

Housing data tables

Data files

Catalogue number

This content is released under the ABS catalogue number 4744.0

Post release changes

01/06/2022:

  • Key statistics section, first dot point ‘Home ownership increased to 39.5% of households in 2016, up from 33.0% in 2011’ corrected to ‘Home ownership increased to 39.6% of households in 2016, up from 33.0% in 2001’.
  • Dwelling Characteristics section, second dot point under Private dwellings heading ‘The next most common was one storey semi-detached row or terrace houses or townhouses with 16,964 dwellings of this structure (10.3% of dwellings)’ corrected to ‘The next most common was semi-detached row or terrace houses or townhouses with 27,017 dwellings of this structure (10.3% of dwellings).’
  • Tenure Type section, first dot point, 2011 corrected to 2001.
  • Tenure Type section, second dot point under Remoteness heading, 10.1% corrected to 10.5%.