The scale and composition of Indigenous housing need, 2001–06

23 Dec 2008

This paper sets out to document the scale of Indigenous housing need as recorded in the most recent (2006) Census at a regional level and how this level of need changed between 2001 and 2006. What the results show is that the issue of Indigenous housing presents two challenges for government: catch-up and keep-up. Regarding ‘catch-up’, using an internationally recognised occupancy standard, the Indigenous population is still experiencing substantial overcrowding with the percentage living in overcrowded households 4.8 times that of the non-Indigenous population. While the level of need is greatest in remote regions, to reduce the disparity between the two populations it is in capital city regions where the greatest number of houses would be required. There have been some improvements in absolute terms using a related measure since 2001, but the gap with non-Indigenous Australians is widening. Population growth presents the other dilemma in meeting Indigenous housing need -- that is, the challenge of keeping-up.

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