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Adolescents and youth

15–24 years

Wellbeing

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, good health is more than just the absence of disease or illness; it is a holistic concept. This section outlines some of the positive and negative factors that impact on the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24.

Happiness

In 2014–15, 76% (104,500) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 felt happy all or most of the time (Figure AY 3). 

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Culture

In 2014–15, 52% (71,400) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 identified with a cultural, tribal or language group (Figure AY 4).

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Overall, 63% (86,700) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 recognised homelands or country in 2014–15.

The majority of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 living in both remote areas (83% or 22,000) and in non-remote areas (58% or 64,600) recognised homelands or traditional country (Figure AY 5).

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Language

At the time of the 2016 Census, 51% (10,036) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 living in remote areas spoke an Indigenous Australian language at home compared to 2% (1,594) in non-remote areas (Figure AY 6).

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In 2014–15, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 14% (19,500) spoke an Indigenous language
  • 15% (20,600) understood an Indigenous language
  • 7% (9,300) were learning an Indigenous language (Figure AY 7).
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Psychological distress

The 2014–15 NATSISS estimated psychological distress using the Kessler-5 (K5) measure. More information about the K5 scale can be found on the ABS website.

In 2014–15, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 33% (44,700) experienced very high or high levels of psychological distress in the last 4 weeks.
  • Females (40% or 27,400) were more likely to experience very high or high levels of psychological distress than males in the last 4 weeks (25% or 17,100) (Figure AY 8).
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Stressors

In 2014–15, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24, 65% (89,500) had experienced 1 or more stressors in the last 12 months.

Not being able to get a job was the most common stressor experienced (26% or 35,900), followed by the death of family member or close friend (22% or 30,600) (Figure AY 9).

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Unfair treatment and racism

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

  • 24% (27,500) had experienced unfair treatment in the last 12 months because they were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
  • Those living in Major cities (31% or 13,400) were more likely to have experienced unfair treatment compared to those living in Very remote areas (15% or 1,800) (Figure AY 10).
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