Geographic variations in the economic status of Aboriginal people: A preliminary investigation

Author/editor: Tesfaghiorghis, H
Year published: 1991
Issue no.: 2


An exploratory analysis of the 1986 Census shows considerable heterogeneity in Aboriginal spatial distribution as well as in socio-economic status. While the majority of Aborigines reside in urban areas, a significant proportion, 34 per cent, still lived in rural areas, in contrast to 14 per cent for non-Aboriginal Australians. The analysis of Aboriginal spatial settlement shows that Aborigines live as a 'minority population' in most localities. Comparisons of socio-economic indicators calculated at State levels showed that overall, Aborigines in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Victoria enjoyed higher socio-economic status than in other States. On the other hand, Aborigines in the Northern Territory and Western Australia had lower status. Those in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia occupied an intermediate position.

With respect to section-of-State, Aborigines resident in major urban centres were better off than those in other urban areas who were generally better off than their rural counterparts. In general, this analysis shows that Aboriginal economic status is positively linked to the economic status of non-Aborigines in the State and section-of-State in which they live. The conclusion raises a range of policy issues in the overall context of the Federal Government's Aboriginal Employment Development Policy.

ISBN: 0 7315 1160 3

ISSN:1036 1774

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