Australia is one of the wealthiest counties in the world, and yet most indigenous people live in third-world conditions. Today Crikey rummages through the statistics, and hopes that Sorry Day will not be the last thing Indigenous Australians get from the Rudd Government.

Indigenous Australians:

  • Made up 2.5% of the total Australian population in 2006. Most Indigenous people live in New South Wales, followed by Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (which has the highest percentage of Indigenous people as proportion to its total population). Victoria has the smallest Indigenous population. (Source)
  • Are more likely to be born to a young mother. More than 52 of every 100 Indigenous mothers are aged 24 years or younger, and more than 21 in 100 mothers are teenagers (as opposed to less than 4 in 100 non-indigenous mothers). (Source)
  • Have a higher infant mortality rate. The rate for Indigenous babies in the Northern territory is an alarming 16 deaths per 1000 births, more than triple the figure for non-indigenous Australians (source), the same rate as Panama, and only marginally better than that of Mexico and Sri Lanka. (Source)
  • Suffer from far worse health. Between 30% and 80% of Indigenous children experience permanent hearing loss from untreated middle ear infections. (Source)
  • Have death rates from diabetes between seven and 20 times as high as non-indigenous Australians. Mortality from self-harm is two to four times that of the non-indigenous population and hospitalisation for depressive and anxiety disorders are somewhere between one and three times the rate for non-indigenous people.
  • Live on average 18 years less than non-indigenous Australians.
  • Are less likely to receive a proper education – up to 30% of Indigenous children in some areas are never enrolled in school (source). In 1999 less than two thirds of indigenous students in grade three achieved the National Benchmark for reading.
  • Are only half as likely as non-indigenous people to have completed Year 12 and are absent from school two to three times more often than non-indigenous Australians. (Source)
  • Attend University less. The number of Indigenous people that attended university between 2000 and 2006 increased by a mere 193, despite massive increases in attendance for non-indigenous Australians and international students. (Source)
  • Are overrepresented in the low income percentiles. Seventy-six percent of Indigenous Australians live below the 50th income percentile.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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