National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey

This is an important national survey that collects information about the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Your participation is an opportunity to make a real difference. The information you provide will help improve services and health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The information is used to find ways to help people live healthier and happier lives. To find out more about this survey, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions


I've been chosen to be in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Health Survey – what is this?
This is an important national survey that collects information about the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
Your participation in this survey is an opportunity to make a real difference. Results are used by governments, researchers and community groups to help plan for the future and support research into ways to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live healthier and happier lives.

By taking part, you can ensure that your experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about health and wellbeing services can be made by analysing data from this survey. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.

Why was my household selected?
Each year, we collect data about all aspects of life from thousands of households throughout Australia to better understand our population and future needs.

Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being selected.

Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over-represented.

It is important that all selected households complete the survey to make sure the results represent the whole community. This means that decisions made about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.

Who in my household will be required to participate?
Up to two adults from each selected household (aged 18 years and over) will be chosen at random to participate. Interviewers will conduct a personal interview with this person which will cover a range of topics about the individual's health and wellbeing.

Up to two children from each selected household (aged 0 to 17 years) will also be chosen at random. If the selected child is 0-14 years, the interview will be conducted by a nominated adult. Children aged 15-17 years can answer the questions for themselves or the parent/guardian can do it for them.

How do I complete the survey?
An ABS Interviewer will visit your home and show you their official identification card.

The Interviewer will then ask for the names of the people living in your household. You can all remain anonymous if you choose to.

The Interviewer will then complete the survey with up to two adults, and up to two children (if any), in your household. Children aged 15-17 years can answer the questions for themselves or the parent/guardian can do it for them. A parent/guardian will answer the survey questions for any children aged under 15 years.

If this time is not suitable, the Interviewer will organise a more suitable time to come back and complete the survey.

What kinds of questions will you ask?
The NATSIHS collects a range of information to give a ‘snapshot’ of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

The NATSIHS includes a range of questions about:
  • visits to doctors, nurses or Aboriginal health workers
  • health conditions and medications
  • what you eat and drink
  • exercise
  • cultural identification
  • social and emotional wellbeing
Your ABS Interviewer will ask for your permission to take measurements of your height, weight, waist and blood pressure. It’s important we get these measurements on the day of interview to ensure our statistics are accurate.

Your Interviewer will also ask if you are willing to provide voluntary biomedical (blood and/or urine) samples by visiting a local collection centre. If you choose to provide biomedical samples, you will be helping to inform vital research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise and health outcomes. For more information please visit www.abs.gov.au/NATSIHMS

How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?
For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.

If, after speaking with an interviewer, you have organised a more suitable time for the interviewer to come back and complete the survey, you will receive a phone call confirming this new time. If you're concerned that a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from the ABS is not genuine, don’t reply to it. Instead, call us on 1800 007 448 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.

The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details or tax file number (TFN).

Will I be paid for my time?
No. There is no provision within the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse people for providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Where possible, we can arrange for an ABS Interviewer who is fluent in the language of the householder to conduct the survey. If there is someone in the household who can translate, and the respondent agrees, they can help the Interviewer.

How will you keep my information safe, secure and confidential?
We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS and is not shared with other agencies. We use the information you provide to calculate statistics, which are released in ways that do not allow for the identification of individuals or households.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.

We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe we have breached these principles, please see the information on how to lodge a complaint about privacy matters, contained within our Privacy Policy.

Will the information I provide be combined with other data?
The information you provide may be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ABS is committed to getting the most value out of data and statistics. To do this, we may combine your data with other sources. This is known as data integration. The ABS does this to create new statistics and insights that help address important questions about Australia’s communities and environment. For more information please visit www.abs.gov.au/dataintegration.

Governments, researchers and community groups will use this vital data to better understand the health and wellbeing of people in Australia. This helps to inform health programs, assess current policies, and to plan for the future.

No information that can identify you, your household or community is given to anyone, including police, Centrelink or housing officers.

Who can I contact for more information?
For help or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 007 448 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Thank You
We acknowledge and value your time and commitment participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

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