How is crowding in Indigenous households managed?

17 Nov 2014

Strategies to manage crowding in Indigenous households can reduce the negative effects for people living in those households, according to this report.

Key Points

  • Crowding in Indigenous households has structural causes, including the shortage of appropriately designed and affordable rental housing, and cultural causes, including visiting and sharing practices.
  • Housing design that caters for large families and visitors would offer the opportunity of fulfilling cultural obligations to house visitors, alleviating some issues of crowding.
  • While the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) is currently used to measure crowding, it does not distinguish between those situations where crowding causes little stress and those where it does have negative effects for residents.
  • Case studies revealed that the number of people living in the house was not the most significant trigger of stress but the lack of control over who stays and their behaviour.
  • Locational differences were identified; with those interviewed in the regional centre case study areas (Mt Isa and Carnarvon) less likely to indicate they considered crowding or stress to be a problem.
  • The most critical mediating factors for coping in large households are: firm administration of house rules by the householder, rules in organising sleeping space in large households and sharing visitors among other family households.
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