The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there have been gains in indigenous education and employment over the six years to 2008. As there were also gains for all Australians, gaps remain between outcomes for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
In education, young indigenous people are completing Year 12 and further studies. In 2008, over one-in-five indigenous people aged 15–64 years had completed Year 12 (up from 18% in 2002), while 40% of those aged 25–64 years held a non-school qualification (up from 32%). Despite these improvements, educational attainment rates remain at about half those for non-indigenous people. In 2008, 54% of non-indigenous people had completed Year 12 and 61% had non-school qualifications.
Other key findings from the 2008 NATSISS for indigenous people aged 15 years and over include:
40% spoke or spoke some words of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language;
62% identified with a clan, tribal or language group;
44% rated their health as excellent or very good, and a further 34% rated their health as good;
those who were current smokers decreased from 51% in 2002 to 47% in 2008;
those with a non-school qualification increased from 26% in 2002 to 32% in 2008;
employment increased from 46% in 2002 to 52% in 2008;
the unemployment rate decreased from 22.9% in 2002 to 16.5% in 2008;
those who were living in dwellings with major structural problems decreased from 38% in 2002 to 28% in 2008; and
those who lived in households where members ran out of money for basic living expenses in the 12 months prior to interview decreased from 44% in 2002 to 28% in 2008.
Key findings for indigenous children aged 4-14 years include:
31% spent at least one day a week with an indigenous leader or elder;
74% were physically active for at least 60 minutes every day in the week prior to interview; and
62% were taught about indigenous culture at school.