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Housing circumstances and health

Health of those who have experienced homelessness

Self-reported health and long-term health conditions

In 2014–15, among Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over who lived in private dwellings, those who had experienced homelessness in the past (in this case, no permanent place to live due to hardship) were more likely to report their health as fair or poor (35%), than those who had never experienced homelessness (22%).

Additionally, among those who had previously experienced homelessness, 75% (97,200) had been diagnosed with a long-term health condition (Figure HH 11a). The most common conditions were:

  • depression or feeling depressed (36% or 45,800)
  • anxiety or feeling anxious or nervous (32% or 40,800)
  • back pain or back problems (30% or 38,800) (Figure HH 11b).
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Mental health conditions and psychological distress

In 2014–15, Indigenous Australians, aged 15 and over, who had previously experienced homelessness were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition (46% or 59,000) than those who had never experienced homelessness (23% or 71,200) (Figure HH 12a). 

Additionally, Indigenous Australians, aged 15 and over, who had previously experienced homelessness were more likely to report high or very high psychological distress (45%) than those who had never experienced homelessness (28%) (Figure HH 12b).

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Homelessness and disability

In 2014–15, Indigenous Australians, aged 15 and over, who had previously experienced homelessness were more likely to have a disability (58% or 74,800) than those who had never been homeless (40% or 124,900) (Figure HH 13a).

Similarly, those who had a disability in 2014–15 were more likely to have experienced homelessness (37%) than those without a disability (22%)—a pattern observed across all 10-year age groups (Figure HH 13b).