Homepage Introduction to Australian Social Trends Feedback AST indicators Article archive About this Release History of Changes Half of all migrants live in Sydney or Melbourne (Media Release) Growth in household debt has slowed since the GFC (Media Release) One in four women has experienced emotional abuse by a partner (Media Release) Can you imagine Australia's future population? There's been considerable parliamentary debate, media coverage and public discussion about debt during recent years. This article looks at how Australian households have accumulated debt over the past 25 years during a period of rising household income, rising property prices, and decreasing housing interest rates. Total household debt stood at $1.84 trillion at the end of 2013, equivalent to $79,000 for every person living in Australia at that time. The rate of increase in real household debt per person has slowed since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in August 2007. Rising household debt has been only partly matched by the increase in the value of household assets. Income is an important consideration when deciding on a household's capacity to make loan repayments in full and on time. The size of Australia's household debt compared with its income (household debt to income ratio) is not just high in historical terms, it is also high when compared with the household debt to income ratios of the G7 countries (i.e.
Loan repayments usually contain an interest component and an amount that reduces the loan principal. For the December quarter 2013, the total amount of interest households paid on money they had borrowed was equal to 7% of the gross disposable income they received during the same quarter (household interest to income ratio).
We can consider the sustainability of current levels of household debt by looking at the likelihood of risks such as sharp increases in interest and unemployment rates, significant declines in household income and wealth, and substantial falls in asset values. At the end of 2013, three-quarters of all household debt was borrowing for housing,2 and housing interest rates are currently relatively low. While the unemployment rate has been increasing over the past couple of years, it is currently well below levels associated with the recessions of the early 1980s and early 1990s.
The present period of economic growth since the last recession in the early 1990s has generally been accompanied by increasing household income. Although real household wealth per person has not returned to late 2007 levels, it increased strongly during 2013, reaching $323,000 by year's end. Over the past 25 years, residential land and dwellings have accounted for close to half the value of all households' assets.2 In the December quarter of 2013, the average value of a residential dwelling in Australia was $539,400. The share of banks' domestic housing loan portfolios that were either impaired, or at least 90 days overdue but well secured, edged lower over the six months to December 2013, to 0.6%. The total number of non-business related personal bankruptcies, debt agreements and insolvency agreements was also lower across most of Australia in 2013. Products such as home equity loans, redraw facilities and offset accounts are more popular now than in the 1990s. Many households have used lower interest rates to continue paying down their mortgages more quickly than required.
Economic activity is often financed via debt in modern economies such as Australia's and this is the case for governments, households and corporations. Data presented in this article are mainly from the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA). Trends and levels observed in ASNA data may differ from seemingly similar measures sourced from ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) data.
In the ASNA, households or the household sector comprises all persons, unincorporated businesses and non-profit institutions serving households (e.g.
An unincorporated business or unincorporated enterprise is a business in which the owner(s) and the business are the same legal entity, so that, for example, the owner(s) are personally liable for any business debts that are incurred. In the ASNA, gross disposable household income is gross household income less income tax payable, other current taxes on income, wealth etc., interest on dwellings, consumer debt interest, interest payable by unincorporated enterprises, rent on natural assets, net non-life insurance premiums, social contribution for workers' compensation and other current transfers payable by households.
For a comprehensive definition of terminology used in the ASNA, see Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Australia, 2013 (ABS cat. A real value is one that has been adjusted to remove the effect of general price inflation. Per person dollar values presented in this article have been calculated by dividing the published household sector aggregate dollar value for the particular stock or flow by the estimated resident population of Australia at the same time (in the case of debt and wealth) or at the end of the flow period (in the case of income).
The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people expressed as a percentage of the labour force (employed plus unemployed). A debt is an obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them. Non-performing loans are loans that are either not well secured and where repayment is doubtful, or loans that are in arrears but well secured. A secured loan is a loan for which the borrower has pledged assets such as real estate, shares or motor vehicles as collateral, so that if the borrower fails to repay the loan the lender can sell the assets to recover the amount owed.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013 Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts, December Quarter 2013 (cat. A dog is regarded as a nuisance if it creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs or continues to such a degree that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises. Where they are comfortable doing so Council will recommend that the aggrieved neighbour directly approach the offending Dog Owner and request that they take action to control their dogs barking.
Sending Council Compliance Officers to the vicinity of the property to establish unreasonable barking. If an allegation of a dog causing a nuisance is substantiated then Council will pursue the complaint until it is resolved. It is recommended that as the Dog Owner you consider obedience and socialisation training for your dog, so that you can better understand the needs of your dog. Council further recommends walking your dog daily, altering feeding times and providing toys at different intervals in an attempt to alleviate any boredom your dog may have from living in a backyard. The Family Characteristics topic provides data about families, including couples living in de facto and registered marriages, step and blended families, one parent families and visiting arrangements of children with parents who live elsewhere (refer to the Glossary for definitions of these terms). The information provided in this topic will be of value to policy makers, researchers and demographers who are interested in understanding changes to family composition. Most Australians (20.1 million people, or 88% of the Australian population living in private dwellings) were living in family households. Families with resident children of any age made up 58% (3.9 million) of all families in 2012-13.
While the proportion of couple families without resident children remained stable since 2006-07, the composition of these families changed. One parent families with resident children of any age represented 14% of all families in 2012-13, which was the same as in 2009-10 and 2006-07 (Table 1). The following diagram displays the relationship between family composition groupings of key household, family and person estimates. Of all families in 2012-13 with resident children aged 0 to 17 years (2.8 million), 81% were couple families and 19% were one parent families. One parent families were predominately lone mother families (16% of all families with children aged 0 to 17 years) rather than lone father families (3% of all families with children aged 0 to 17 years). Of all couple families with resident children (including both dependent and non-dependent children), couple families where the youngest child was aged 0 to 4 years made up the highest proportion (34%).
Intact families are those in which the children are the natural or adopted children of both parents and there are no step children. Footnote(s): (a) Step family estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
Just over 3.4 million children of any age (48%) lived in couple families where both parents were employed. Of all dependent children, 2.8 million (51%) lived in couple families where both parents were employed. There were 676,000 dependent children (12% of all dependent children) living in families without an employed resident parent, although in some cases, other people in these families were employed. Forty five per cent of children aged 0 to 17 years with a natural parent living elsewhere (501,000) saw this parent at least once per fortnight in 2012-13, while 26% rarely saw them (less than once per year or never). As children aged, the likelihood of having at least fortnightly contact with their natural parent living elsewhere decreased.
Nearly half (48%) of children aged 5 to 14 years with a natural parent living elsewhere stayed overnight with that parent at least once per year.
Among the estimated 193,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years in 2008, the majority (79%) were reported to be in excellent or very good health, 18% in good health, and 4% in fair or poor health.
Nationally, ear or hearing problems were experienced by 16,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (9%) in 2008, with similar rates reported in non-remote and remote areas. In 2008, an estimated 13,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (7%) had eye or sight problems.
Among the estimated 53,900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years in 2008, one in five (20%) were currently being breast-fed and 55% had previously been breast-fed. As well as having higher rates of breast-feeding, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote areas also tended to be breast-fed for longer than children in non-remote areas. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Dietary Guidelines recommend that people eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, including a high intake of plant food, such as fruit and vegetables. The number of serves of fruit and vegetables usually eaten was only collected for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in non-remote areas. As well as collecting information about physical activity, the 2008 NATSISS also measured the amount of time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years spent engaged in screen-based activities, such as watching television, videos or DVDs (as a proxy for time spent being inactive).
To decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), it is recommended that infants sleep on their backs. According to the 2008 NATSISS, an estimated 43,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years (23%) had experienced problems sleeping in the month before the survey (25% of those in non-remote areas compared with 13% in remote areas). In 2008, almost two-thirds (65%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years had experienced at least one stressor in the previous year (66% in non-remote areas compared with 60% in remote areas).
Nationally in 2008, 63% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years were living in a household with one or more current daily smokers (72% in remote areas and 61% in non-remote areas). In the 2008 NATSISS, information about the health of birth mothers was collected in relation to the estimated 53,900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years. Two adverse conditions that can arise in pregnancy are gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Insufficient folate intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in the unborn child. Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy pose significant risks to the health of the mother and unborn child. In 2008, almost half (45%) of birth mothers had sought advice or information about aspects of pregnancy or childbirth before the birth of their child.
Most (98%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years in 2008, had been born in a hospital.
The most recent information on self-assessed health for non-Indigenous people is from the 2007–08 National Health Survey. Nationally, 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had a disability or long-term health condition, including one in twelve (8%) with a profound or severe core activity limitation, meaning that they needed help with one or more activities of daily living some or all of the time. Using a modified version of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (the K5+), the 2008 NATSISS collected information on the levels of psychological distress experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in the four weeks before the survey. These data are consistent with the high proportion (58%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who reported having personally experienced one or more life stressors in the previous year. A person's health can be enhanced and improved by, for example, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in physical activity.
According to the 2004–05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), more than half (57%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were either overweight or obese (58% of males and 55% of females). The 2008 NATSISS collected information about participation in a range of sporting activities and social activities in the three months before the survey.
In 2008, just under half (45%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were current daily smokers, 20% were ex-smokers, and around one-third (33%) had never smoked. The most recent information on smoking for non-Indigenous people is from the 2007–08 National Health Survey.


Illicit substance use refers to the use of substances that are either illegal to possess (e.g.
Based on the 2001 National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Drinking Guidelines (NHMRC, 2001), two measures of risky drinking of alcohol were collected in the 2008 NATSISS. The 2008 NATSISS collected information about problems experienced in accessing health services such as those provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, dentists, doctors, other health workers, hospitals, mental health services and Medicare.
Nationally, an estimated 86,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (or 26%) reported problems accessing one or more health services. More information on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be found in chapter 11 HEALTH.
Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation.
This publication presents findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 Crime Victimisation Survey, which was conducted throughout Australia from July 2014 to June 2015.
The types of crime collected in the survey included both personal crimes and household crimes.
For the Crime Victimisation Survey, a victim is a person or household who has experienced at least one incident of a selected type of crime in the 12 months prior to interview in 2014–15. A victim may report multiple incidents of a type of crime within the reference period, however for this survey, a victim is only counted once for each type of crime experienced.
An incident is a single occurrence of a crime event, such as a break-in to a household or an assault of a person.
For instance, a person might confront someone breaking into their home and deliberately damaging property and subsequently be assaulted during that same incident. People and households may experience more than one criminal incident in the 12 months prior to interview, which may involve the same crime type or differing crime types. Data on multiple victimisation are presented in this publication as a categorical variable, based on the number of incidents of each crime type experienced by victims. HOW DOES THE CRIME VICTIMISATION SURVEY CONTRIBUTE TO UNDERSTANDING VICTIMISATION IN AUSTRALIA?
Estimates from the Crime Victimisation Survey provide important information for the community about the extent of crime in Australia. Data from the Crime Victimisation Survey are used by police, the justice sector, researchers and the wider Australian community to better understand the extent and nature of certain types of crime in Australia and the proportion of crime that is reported to the police. There is limited information available in this publication about family and domestic violence. Due to the relationships between victim and perpetrator, family and domestic violence is often repeated and ongoing and this aspect cannot be determined from the Crime Victimisation Survey. The statistics included in this publication are based on survey data obtained from a sample of the Australian population.
All comparisons between populations mentioned in the publication commentary have been tested for statistical significance, with a 95% level of confidence that there is a real difference between the two populations being compared. To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique called perturbation is used to randomly adjust cell values. Where the same statistic is published more than once in different tables, it is perturbed in the same way to ensure consistency across tables. Much of the focus has been on government debt, and government debt levels have been well publicised. Using national accounts data, a range of analytical measures have been used to provide a fuller picture of household debt in Australia.
This was higher than it had been at any time in the previous 25 years, even after making adjustments to remove the effect of general price inflation (thereby giving a 'real' comparison). After increasing at an average of 10% per year between mid 2001 and mid 2007, real household debt per person rose at the much slower average annual rate of 2% between mid 2007 and the end of 2013. Over the past 25 years, household debt has increased nearly twice as fast as the value of household assets.
Household debt increased more rapidly than household income from early in 1993 until the middle of 2007.
All other factors being equal, the higher the interest component the lesser the opportunity to reduce the loan principal and pay off the debt quickly. While this is currently higher than it has been during most of the past 50 years, it is clearly lower than what it had been at its highest point in 2008 (12%). Between June 1989 and March 1990, large bank lenders charged interest at an average of 17% per annum on their standard variable owner-occupied housing loans. For insight into why this trend has occurred see the Australian Social Trends 2007 article 'Purchasing power'. This was more than double what it had been at the end of 1990 ($141,000 in December 2013 dollars) and well above its post-GFC low of $281,000 (in December 2013 dollars) at the end of March 2009.
In real terms, this was 7.7% higher than it had been in the September quarter of 2012 ($500,700 in December quarter 2013 dollars). Non-performance rates on banks' credit card and other personal lending, which are inherently riskier and less likely to be secured than housing loans, declined slightly over the second half of 2013 to around 2%, following an upward trend over the previous five years.1Back to topHow many are ahead?
A country's debt levels can be monitored and analysed over time using data published within the national financial accounts. In this article, all original dollar values from earlier periods have been converted into latest period dollars by applying All Groups Consumer Price Index numbers for the two periods. Household sector debt and wealth aggregates are published in Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (ABS cat. Council also recommends that you consult your Veterinarian to establish if the barking may be caused by a medical condition.
It provides information about the composition of households and families, and the characteristics of people within them, to better understand how families are changing and how to provide support to them.
Just under three quarters (74%) were family households, 23% were lone person households, and 3% were group households (Table 1). The vast majority of families lived in households that contained only one family (96% of all family households in 2012-13) (Table 1). The proportion of lone person households was very similar to that in 2009-10, however it had decreased to 23% from 25% in 2006-07 (Table 1). There was a higher proportion of couples without children where the female partner was aged 25 to 34 years in 2012-13 than in 2006-07 (20% compared with 16%), and a lower proportion where the female partner was aged 45 to 54 years (13% in 2012-13 compared with 15% in 2006-07) (Tables 1 and 4).
The proportion of couple and one parent families stayed relatively stable since 2006-07 (Table 8).
Again, this proportion of lone mother and lone father families stayed relatively stable since 2006-07 (Table 8). Of families with children aged 0 to 17 years in which the youngest resident child was aged 0 to 4 years, most were intact couple families (81%). Of these children, 42% lived in families where their mother was employed full-time, compared with 58% in families where their mother was employed part-time (Table 7). Around 869,000 dependent children lived in lone mother families while 143,000 lived in lone father families. There were 562,000 dependent children (10% of all dependent children) living in a family where no one was employed (Table 7). Of these children, 75% lived in one parent families, 10% in step families and 12% in blended families. The pattern of regular contact that children had with their natural parent living elsewhere remained relatively stable over time, with just under half having contact at least once per fortnight (43% in 2006-07, 48% in 2009-10 and 45% in 2012-13). In 2012-13, 54% of children aged 0 to 9 years, 43% of children aged 10 to 14 years and 35% of children aged 15 to 17 years saw their natural parent living elsewhere at least once a fortnight (Graph 2 and Table 10).
The proportions were lower both for younger children aged 0 to 4 years (34%) and for older children aged 15 to 17 years (36%) (Table 10).
The proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with excellent or very good health did not vary significantly between non-remote and remote areas, nor between boys and girls. Just over two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (67%) had visited a dentist at some stage in their life, with 47% having seen a dentist in the previous year. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with ear or hearing problems, just over one-third (35%) had runny ears or glue ear (caused by middle ear infections) and 28% had hearing loss or partial deafness. Among children with eye or sight problems, 37% were long-sighted, 28% were short-sighted, and 61% wore glasses or contact lenses to correct their sight problems. Overall rates of breast-feeding (current and previous, combined) were higher in remote areas than in non-remote areas (85% compared with 73%). Among children who had previously been breast-fed, the median age at which breast-feeding stopped was 36 weeks (or 8–9 months) for those in remote areas, compared with 17 weeks (around 4 months) for children in non-remote areas. In 2008, more than half (59%) of the 179,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 1–14 years were reported to eat fruit every day, while 53% ate vegetables daily.
Among the 106,000 children aged 4–14 years in non-remote areas, younger children were more likely than older children to meet the NHMRC guidelines for daily intake of fruit and vegetables. In addition, a higher proportion of boys, than girls, were physically active (78% compared with 70%).
In 2008, this was the usual sleeping position for 61% (or 8,500) infants aged less than one year (66% in non-remote areas compared with 43% in remote areas).
Of these, 19% had difficulty sleeping due to over-excitement, 13% because of illness or pain, 12% due to nightmares and 12% due to fear of the dark. In 2008, a small proportion of birth mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years (8%), had diabetes or sugar problems, and 14% had high blood pressure during their pregnancy. In 2008, around half (51%) of birth mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years took folate supplements before or during their pregnancy.
In 2008, one in five birth mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years (20%) were reported to have drunk alcohol during pregnancy and 42% had smoked or chewed tobacco (although more than half (57%) of these tobacco users reported using less tobacco while pregnant). Information has the potential to influence the behaviours of prospective mothers in a positive way.
Reflecting differential access to various health professionals in non-remote and remote areas, regular pregnancy checkups with a doctor were more common in non-remote areas than in remote areas (68% compared with 46%), whereas checkups with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker were more common among birth mothers living in remote areas (16% compared with 6% in non-remote areas). For many birth mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote areas, this meant travelling a considerable distance from home to give birth. The proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with excellent or very good health did not vary significantly between non-remote and remote areas. The proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability or long-term health condition were similar for males and females, and for those living in remote and non-remote areas. The most commonly reported stressors were Death of a family member or close friend (26%), Serious illness (13%), Inability to get a job (11%), Overcrowding at home (7%), Mental illness (7%) and Alcohol-related problems (7%).
Conversely, health may be adversely affected by behaviours such as risky levels of alcohol consumption, drug-taking and tobacco use. One-quarter (25%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had taken part in sporting or physical activities, with participation rates higher for males than for females (32% compared with 19%).
For both males and females, smoking was more prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people in every age group. The first measure was designed to identify long-term or chronic risk and the second measure was designed to identify acute risk (or binge) drinking. A further 50% were low risk drinkers and just over one-third (35%) reported that they had not drunk alcohol in the last 12 months (or had never consumed alcohol). Problems most commonly experienced were in relation to accessing dentists (20%), doctors (10%) and hospitals (7%). In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. If so, information on the name of highest qualification obtained, field of study, the name of institution and the year obtained was collected.
These questions include unpaid domestic work, unpaid care due to a disability, long term illness or old age, unpaid child care and voluntary work. It included caravans in caravan parks, boats in marinas, manufactured home estates and self-care units in accommodation for the retired or aged, all of which were enumerated using household forms.


This is the seventh annual national survey of crime victimisation in Australia, with the first Crime Victimisation Survey conducted in 2008–09. While state and territory legislative definitions of these crime types differ, the survey questions focused on specific actions and events to ensure consistency in definitions and responses across jurisdictions. In any particular incident, a number of different types of crimes may be committed against a person or household. In this example, the person would be counted once for break-in (as a household victim), once for malicious property damage (as a household victim) and once for physical assault (as a person victim) (as demonstrated in Diagram 1). For the Crime Victimisation Survey, 'multiple victimisation' refers to victims who experienced more than one instance of the same crime type within the 12 months prior to interview.
This includes not only incidents that are reported to the police, but also those that are not brought to the attention of the police. This knowledge contributes to a range of community, police and public policy initiatives, such as operational planning, evaluation of services, education programs and prevention policies. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects information about experiences of personal violence and the relationship between the victim and offender, however, this information alone is not sufficient to reliably measure the number of people who have experienced family and domestic violence.
Further information about defining and measuring family and domestic violence is available in Defining the Data Challenge for Family Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013 (cat. The figures contained in the tables are referred to as 'estimates,' and are calculated by adjusting results from a sample survey to produce an estimated result for the entire in-scope population.
Estimates with a RSE of less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes, and only these are referred to in the publication commentary. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released.
However, cell values may not add up to totals within the same table as a result of perturbation. Expressed as a percentage of the value of household assets, household debt increased from just under 11% at the end of September 1988 to nearly 21% at the end of 2011, before easing a little to below 20% at the end of 2013.
Since mid 2007 (and the GFC), household debt has tended to rise in line with household income.
For example, in 2012, Australia's household debt level was equivalent to 1.73 times Australia's 2012 gross disposable household income, whereas household debt in both Italy and Germany was less than a year's worth of gross disposable household income (at 82% and 93% respectively). When interest payments represent a high proportion of disposable income it may be difficult to reduce debt at all. In April 2014, large bank lenders were charging an average of just under 6% per annum on these loans, and even cheaper housing finance was available from other lenders.
Unincorporated businesses, whose activities are inextricably mixed with personal activities, are extensions of households.
For a detailed explanation of how this is done, complete with examples, see Consumer Price Index: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2011 (ABS cat. There were 2.8 million families with at least one child aged 0 to 17 years (41% of all families) (Table 1). The proportion of couple families both with and without children of any age remained relatively stable since 2006-07 (Tables 8 and 1).
The highest proportion of one parent families comprised those where the youngest resident child was aged 25 years and over (23%), compared with 9% of couple families for the same age group (Table 4). Of the dependent children in these one parent families, just over half (54%) had an employed parent (Table 7). Children were more likely to live with their mother than their father after parents separated.
The proportion of children who rarely had contact with their natural parent living elsewhere (less than once per year or never) remained relatively stable over time as well (28% in 2006-07, 24% in 2009-10 and 26% in 2012-13) (Table 10). A further 14,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (8%) needed dental care in the previous year, but had not been to a dentist. In non-remote areas, more than half (55%) of children had experienced ear or hearing problems for more than two years, compared with 40% of those who were living in remote areas. In remote areas, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants aged less than six months who were currently being breast-fed was more than one-and-a-half times the corresponding rate in non-remote areas (77% compared with 45%). Similarly, children living in remote areas were almost twice as likely as those in non-remote areas to have been breast-fed for the first 1–2 years of life (24% compared with 13%).
Around six in ten children aged 4–7 years (62%) exceeded the recommended daily single serve of fruit and 60% met or exceeded the recommended two serves of vegetables. Almost half (47%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had played organised sport in the previous year, with participation rates higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (49% compared with 40%).
The proportion of children aged 1–3 years who usually slept on their back was considerably lower, at 40%. Reflecting higher rates of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were exposed to passive smoking (indoors) at three times the rate of non-Indigenous children (21% compared with 7%).
A small proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years (5%) had birth mothers who had used illicit drugs during their pregnancy. For example, birth mothers who had sought advice or information about aspects of pregnancy or childbirth were more likely to have taken folate than those who had not sought advice (63% compared with 45%), and were less likely to have smoked or chewed tobacco during pregnancy (36% compared with 47%). While more than half (59%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote areas were born in a hospital at least 100 kilometres from their home, a similar proportion (52%) of children in non-remote areas were born less than 10 kilometres from their home. Apart from alcohol-related problems, the proportions of people reporting each of these stressors were significantly different in non-remote and remote areas (graph 3.18). These can increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries occurring in the short term, and contribute to the development of chronic diseases over the life course.
While the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females within the healthy weight range was the same (38%), females were more likely than males, to be underweight (7% compared with 4%) or obese (31% compared with 26%), while males were more likely than females to be overweight (32% compared with 23%). Overall smoking rates were also higher in remote areas than in non-remote areas (49% compared with 43%). After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be current daily smokers.
People living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have encountered problems accessing one or more health services (36% compared with 23%). In 1986 and 1991, caravans in caravan parks and boats in marinas were included in the Non-Private Dwelling classification. The publication presents estimates of the extent of victimisation experienced by Australians aged 15 years and over for selected types of crime, and whether or not the most recent incident of each crime type was reported to police.
For example, a respondent was counted as a victim of physical assault if they reported they had experienced 'physical force or violence' against their person. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects each relevant type of crime within an incident separately. For example, a person who reports experiencing assault on three separate occasions within the reference period is considered, for the purposes of the survey, as having experienced multiple victimisation for assault. This differs from available administrative data sourced from state and territory police, which capture only those incidents that are reported to and recorded by police.
The Crime Victimisation Survey collects incident characteristics information, including relationship to the offender, only for the most recent incident of each type of personal crime experienced in the 12 months prior to interview. The difference between the result obtained from surveying a sample of persons rather than the entire in-scope population is referred to as sampling error.
Due to the relatively small numbers of persons experiencing certain types of crime, some of the estimates provided in the data cubes are subject to high sampling error; these are indicated by footnotes when presented in the publication commentary and through the use of cell comments in data cubes. At the end of 2013, the amount that households owed was nearly 1.8 times the amount of disposable income households received during 2013. For example, the average interest rate charged by large mortgage managers on their basic variable owner-occupied housing loans in April 2014 was 5% per annum. Looking ahead to 2014-15, in December 2013 the Australian Government's MYEFO forecast subdued wage growth.3 Looking further ahead, in November 2013 both the Australian Treasury5 and the Productivity Commission6 forecast lower rates of income growth over the next decade.
For a detailed explanation and quantification of the main differences, see Appendix 4 of Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2011-12 (ABS cat.
Of these children who had a natural parent living elsewhere, almost four in five (79%) had a father living elsewhere (Table 9). In comparison, an estimated one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12–14 years (21%) ate the recommended three serves of fruit and 19% ate the recommended four serves of vegetables. More than half (62%) were reported to have been on a holiday or trip away in the previous year, and 58% had received an award, prize or some other form of positive recognition. An expectant mother’s health status and associated behaviours may also influence whether or not she seeks advice.
According to the 2008 NATSISS, one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (20%) reported having recently used an illicit substance (i.e. The survey also collects information about selected characteristics of incidents of victimisation (such as the location of the incident and the victim’s relationship to the offender) and socio-demographic details of persons who experienced crime (such as age, sex and education). Responses therefore reflect individual respondents' subjective understanding of the survey questions and their own interpretation of their experiences. More information about the differences between administrative data and survey data when measuring victims of crime can be found in the ABS information paper Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey Data, June 2011 (cat. This means that not all experiences of personal violence by each relationship type - including current and previous partners - are captured in the survey. 4529.0 and related publications) and statistics are available in Personal Safety, Australia, 2012 (cat. Estimates with a RSE of between 25% and 49% are considered to be of lower accuracy, and users are advised to use these with caution. Some smaller lenders and online banks were offering housing loan interest rates below 5% per annum in early May 2014.
Three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (75%) were reported to be brushing their teeth at least once a day, with higher rates of daily brushing in non-remote areas than in remote areas (80% compared with 60%). Birth mothers with high blood pressure were more likely to have sought advice (57%) than those without high blood pressure (43%).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to have reported that waiting times were too long or that a service was not available when needed (55% compared with 33%) or that the cost of the service was a barrier (38% compared with 16%) (graph 3.21). The data referred to within this commentary are available to download as data cubes from the Download tab within this publication.
In addition, as interviews are conducted by telephone in the respondent’s home there is no requirement for a private interview setting for the Crime Victimisation Survey (as is the case for the Personal Safety Survey). This means sampling error is likely to be higher for estimates relating to smaller subpopulations and low-prevalence experiences.
Where estimates have a RSE of 50% or more, the RSE value is not available for publication and users are advised that these estimates are considered too unreliable for general use. 6554.0) and Appendix 6 of Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011-12 (ABS cat.
Similarly, birth mothers who had used tobacco during pregnancy were less likely to have sought advice about aspects of pregnancy or childbirth (38%) than those who had not used tobacco during pregnancy (49%). Recent illicit substance use was reported by a higher proportion of males than females (25% compared with 16%) and by young people (25% of those aged 15–34 years compared with 15% of people aged 35 years and over). This non-private setting means respondents may be less likely to disclose any experiences of violence by their partner if their partner is present in the home at the time of interview.
Overall rates of recent substance use were also higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in non-remote areas than in remote areas (22% compared with 16%). As a result, the statistics on relationship type available in this publication should be interpreted with caution and cannot be used to draw conclusions about the prevalence of family and domestic violence in Australia.



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