This paper is the first of two that examine the participation and employment of Aborigines in the formal labour market using data from the 1986 Population Census. The labour force participation rate is a concept of interest because it is indicative of the degree of integration into the formal labour market. The paper begins by presenting the facts about the relationship between labour force participation and location of residence for both men and women. Aboriginal men and women had lower levels of participation in each of the three locations which we were able to distinguish; major urban, other urban and rural. They were particularly low in rural areas. The results of a formal analysis of the effects of Aboriginality on labour force participation are then presented using the unit record data available in the one per cent sample of the Census. They support the hypothesis that there is a statistically significant negative effect of Aboriginality on the participation probability once other factors such as age, education and marital status are taken into account. These preliminary results show that Aborigines living in rural locations had, other things equal, a particularly low probability of being included in the labour force. The lower participation rates of these people therefore do not just reflect their lower levels of human capital. The implications of these results for Aboriginal employment policy are considered in the conclusion.
ISBN: 0 7315 1247 2