Selected social and economic indicators from the 1986 Census are presented to test the proposition that at an aggregate level Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people display differing socioeconomic status from one another. Although provision is made in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 for separate consideration of the Torres Strait Islander population in social and economic policy formulation, few data exist to indicate their variation from Aboriginal people. Examination of a range of census-based indicators reveal that in terms of overall socioeconomic status, Torres Strait Islanders occupy an intermediate position between the Aboriginal population and Australians in general. While the overall effect of combining data on Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in any statistical analysis is to ameliorate the low socioeconomic status observed for the Aboriginal population, this impact varies with the regional distribution of the Islander population.
ISBN: 0 7315 1496 3