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Adolescents and youth

15–24 years

Social and economic determinants

Social and economic circumstances are important determinants of health and wellbeing of a young person. This section outlines some of the main social and economic factors for Indigenous Australians aged 15–24.

Education

Increasing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (aged 20–24) attaining Year 12 or equivalent to 96%, by 2031, is one of the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

In 2016, among Indigenous Australians aged 20–24:

  • 63% had attained Year 12 or equivalent qualification (Certificate III or above).
  • Females (64%) were more likely to have Year 12 or equivalent qualification (Certificate III or above) than males (62%).
  • Year 12 or equivalent qualification (Certificate III or above) was highest for those living in Major cities (72%) and lowest for those living in Very remote areas (41%) (Figure AY 17a).
  • Year 12 or equivalent qualification (Certificate III or above) increased from 39% in 2001 to 63% in 2016 (Figure AY 17b).
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In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 24% (37,857) were attending secondary school.
  • 11% (16,274) were attending TAFE, technical college, business college or industry skills centre.
  • 7% (11,083) were studying at a university or other higher education institution (Figure AY 18).
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Employment

Labour force status classifications

In the labour force: Those who are currently employed, or unemployed but actively looking for and available to start working.

Not in the labour force: Those who are not actively looking for work, or are looking but unavailable to start working.

Employment rate: The percentage of the population who are employed.

Unemployment rate: The percentage of the labour force who are unemployed.

In 2016, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 51% (60,645) were in the labour force (Figure AY 19a).
  • 37% (44,159) were employed, with those living in Major cities more likely to be employed (44% or 21,152) than those living in Very remote areas (19% or 2,446) (Figure AY 19b).
  • The unemployment rate was 27% (16,484). The unemployment rate was higher in Very remote areas (43% or 1,833) and lowest in Major cities (24% or 6,537) (Figure AY 19c).
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Engaged in education, employment or training

Increasing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (aged 15–24) who are in employment, education or training to 67%, by 2031, is one of the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

In 2016, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 57% were engaged (full time or part time) in work, study or a combination of work and study.
  • Engagement was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (74%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (40%) (Figure AY 20).
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Household income

Equivalised household incomes are incomes that have been adjusted to make it possible to compare the incomes of households of different sizes and compositions. They reflect that larger households need more money to achieve the same standard of living than smaller households.

In 2016, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 40% (35,840) lived in households with total equivalised household income of $499 or less. 4% (3,890) lived in households with a total weekly equivalised income of $1,750 or over.
  • Those living in households in non-remote areas (5% or 3,489) were more likely to have a total weekly equivalised income of $1,750 or more, than those living in households in remote areas (3% or 400) (Figure AY 21).
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Housing

In 2016, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 33% (34,411) lived in a home that was owner occupied (owned outright or with a mortgage).
  • 30% (30,557) lived in social housing (homes rented through a state or territory housing authority or community housing).
  • 37% (38,089) lived in other homes being rented (Figure AY 22a).

On Census night in 2016, 4% (5,014) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 were homeless. Of this group:

  • 75% (3,733) lived in severely crowded homes (requiring 4 or more additional bedrooms).
  • 13% (670) lived in supported accommodation for the homeless (Figure AY 22c).
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Financial stress and food security

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 53% (75,500) lived in a household that, in an emergency, could not raise $2,000 in a week.
  • 41% (62,900) lived in a household that had days without money for basic living expenses in the last 2 weeks.
  • 27% (42,000) lived in households that ran out of food in the last 12 months and could not afford to buy more (Figure AY 23).
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