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The economic status of Indigenous Australians

CollectionsANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Title: The economic status of Indigenous Australians
Author(s): Altman, Jon C
Keywords: Indigenous Australians
low economic status
Indigenous poverty
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Discussion Paper (Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), The Australian National University): No. 193
This paper examines the economic status of Indigenous Australians as a self-identifying group. It is an early version of an entry to the 2nd edition of the Encyclopedia of the Australian People, to be published in 2001. Indigenous Australians today face a diversity of economic circumstances. At one end of a spectrum are those residing in urban settings and engaging with the market economy, with varying degrees of success, like other Australians. At the other end are those who reside in remote parts of Australia and maintain important aspects of the Indigenous economy. Despite this heterogeneity, the vast majority of Indigenous people (73 per cent) reside either in towns or in cities, with the remaining 27 per cent residing in small Indigenous towns (so defined because the majority of the population is Indigenous), on pastoral stations or at outstations. It can be argued that nowhere are the differences between Indigenous institutions and those of the colonisers of Australia more marked than in the economic system. Measures of economic status are primarily statistical and based on the social indicator approach. The social indicators utilised in this paper provide data that differentiates Indigenous from non-Indigenous Australians in relation to employment, income, housing, education and health status. These measures of wellbeing show that, as a group, Indigenous people have the lowest economic status of all Australians, without any qualification.
ISSN: 1036-1774


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