The 2016 Census of Population and Housing reveals that more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young adults are fully engaged in work and study.
Fifty two per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 24 years are fully participating in either education or work, up from 46 per cent in 2006. Those living in urban areas (55 per cent) are more likely to be fully engaged in work or study than those living in non-urban areas (42 per cent).
Around 223,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported participating in the labour force. Men (55 per cent) are more likely than women (49 per cent) to be in the labour force, as are people in urban areas compared with those in non-urban areas (54 per cent and 45 per cent respectively).
The most commonly reported occupation is Community and Personal Service Workers (17 per cent), a change from the 2011 Census which recorded Labourers as the most common occupation (18 per cent) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Census also shows an increase in school attendance by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across all age groups between the 2006 and 2016. In particular, attendance for young men and women in the 15 to 17 year age group increased from 51 per cent and 54 per cent to 70 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. Attendance at university or other tertiary institutions also increased for 18 to 24 year old men (from four per cent to seven per cent) and women (from seven per cent to 12 per cent).
The insights Census provides into the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are used by policy-makers, researchers and the community. Census data is also an important input into measures such as the Council of Australian Governments’ Closing the Gap targets.
Since the 1971 Census, there has been a clear upward trend in the counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each successive Census. The 2016 Census counted approximately 649,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, an increase of 18 per cent from the 2011 Census.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 2.8 per cent of Australia’s total population, up from 2.5 per cent in 2011, and 2.3 per cent in 2006.
Of the 649,200 people who identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, 90.9 per cent are of Aboriginal origin, 5.0 per cent are of Torres Strait Islander origin, and 4.1 per cent identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.
The 2016 Census has also reveals other fascinating details about these communities. Forty two per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people moved house between 2011 and 2016, with the vast majority of those (89 per cent) moving within the state or territory that they lived in.
Looking at the homes in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live, 56 per cent are rented, a further 26 per cent are owned with a mortgage, and 12 per cent are owned outright.
Language plays an important part of cultural identity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with the 2016 Census revealing one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak an Australian Indigenous language at home.
All of these insights and more are available in a recently released ABS publication 2076.0 – Census of Population and Housing, Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.