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Indigenous Australians experience disproportionate levels of educational, employment and social disadvantage. Many Indigenous Australians also experience poorer health than other Australians, often dying at much younger ages. A healthy beginning in a nurturing environment, with protection from physical and mental abuse, and opportunities for personal development—such as education and employment—are all important for a long and happy life.
About 44% of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported their health status as fair/poor, and about 16% had profound or severe core activity limitations. A much higher proportion of Indigenous Australians with dementia were aged less than 75 years than non-Indigenous Australians in 2008–09.
Mortality rates for Indigenous Australians aged 50–74 years were more than double the non‑Indigenous rates in 2003–2007.
More than one-third of Indigenous users of specialist disability services had intellectual disability as their primary reason for activity limitations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability accessed support services at rates equivalent to those of non‑Indigenous Australians in 2008–09.
In 2008, Indigenous Australians with severe or profound core activity limitations encountered transport problems almost twice as often as those without disability, and had difficulty accessing health and community services.
Of all aged care residents on 30 June 2009, only 0.6% of permanent residents and 0.9% of respite residents were identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
Indigenous Australians aged under 65 years made proportionately higher use of residential aged care services than other Australians. At 30 June 2009, Indigenous Australians aged 60–64 years used residential aged care services at a rate of 6.7 per 1,000 population compared with 2.6 per 1,000 for other Australians.
At 30 June 2008, more than half (56%) of all Indigenous households were receiving housing assistance through various housing and rental programs.
Indigenous Australians accessed specialist homelessness services at relatively high rates, making up almost 1 in 5 of all users of services in 2008–09. Almost three-quarters of Indigenous clients were female.
Almost half of accompanying children aged 0–4 years presented to specialist homelessness services in 2008–09 were Indigenous.
In 2008–09, Indigenous couples, both with and without children, most often sought help due to accommodation problems including overcrowding.
The health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: an overview 2011 provides a comprehensive overview of Indigenous health and welfare. Topics covered in this report include demographic characteristics, determinants of health and welfare, health and functioning, mortality and life expectancy, health across the life stages, health care and other support services and health and welfare expenditure.