2076.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/02/2018   
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CHILD CARE, DOMESTIC WORK, VOLUNTEERING AND CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY

For the purposes of this article, unpaid work is defined as any domestic household work, unpaid child care, volunteering or unpaid care for those with a disability that is done without compensation.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians performing unpaid work has varied little over the past 10 years. Females are more likely than males to perform all types of unpaid work. The largest differences were in child care (38% of females, 25% of males) and domestic work (67% of females, 55% of males).

Graph Image for Unpaid Work by Sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016




CARING FOR CHILDREN

In the 2016 Census, 32 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over provided unpaid childcare, down from 33 per cent in 2011 and 2006. In contrast, 29 per cent of non-Indigenous people provided care.

Of those who provided care, 65 per cent cared only for their own children and 30 per cent cared for someone else’s children. In the non-Indigenous population, 72 per cent cared for their own children and 28 per cent for someone else's children.

DOMESTIC WORK

In 2016, 61 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over performed unpaid domestic work, compared to 60 per cent in 2011 and 58 per cent in 2006. Just under 4 in 10 (39%) did 5 or more hours of domestic work.

One third of males reported they do no domestic work (33%) compared to one quarter of females (25%). Almost half of females (49%) did 5 or more hours, with 13 per cent doing 30 hours or more. In contrast, less than one third (29%) of males did 5 or more hours, with 4 per cent doing 30 hours or more.

ASSISTANCE TO A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

In the 2016 Census, 14 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provided unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, a slight increase from 13 per cent in 2011 and 11 per cent in 2006. Rates for non-Indigenous people were similar at 12 per cent.

Females (17%) were more likely than males (11%) to provide unpaid assistance.

VOLUNTEERING

In the 2016 Census, 15 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did some kind of volunteer work, up from 13 per cent in 2011 and 2006. In comparison, one fifth (20%) of non-Indigenous people did some kind of voluntary work in the last 12 months.

Rates of volunteering for males (13%) and females (16%) were similar.

What is unpaid work?

Questions on unpaid work were first asked in the 2006 Census and then repeated in 2011 and 2016. Four questions were asked in the Census form to cover different forms of unpaid work undertaken by persons aged 15 years or older.

The questions asked if the respondent had spent time doing:

  • unpaid domestic work for their household in the last week
  • unpaid care, help or assistance to persons with a disability, a long-term illness or problems related to old age, in the last two weeks
  • unpaid care to their own or other people's children aged less than 15 years in the last two weeks
  • unpaid voluntary work through an organisation or group, in the last 12 months

COMBINED MEASURE OF UNPAID WORK

To examine overall participation in unpaid work, the four different types of unpaid work need to be examined together. This combined item shows how many types of unpaid work an individual reported being involved in. For the purposes of this analysis, people who did less than five hours of domestic work per week have been excluded.

Of the four types of unpaid work, only 2 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 1 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians reported that they participated in all four types of unpaid work. Just over 1 in 4 (26%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people undertook at least one type of unpaid work. 36 per cent did no unpaid work of any type.

Sex

Males were more likely to report doing no unpaid work (42%) than females (30%). A greater proportion of females than males reported they did one, two, three or all types of unpaid work. Females were almost twice as likely to be involved in two or more types of unpaid work than males (38% compared to 22%). This was predominately due to child care and domestic work.


Graph Image for Participation in Unpaid Work by Sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



More than half (56%) of males aged 15 to 24 years did no unpaid work, compared to 44 per cent of females in that age group.

The proportion of males who undertook two or more types of unpaid work increased to 29 per cent in the 25 to 44 year age group (from 11% for 15 to 24 year olds) and declined to 26 per cent for the 45 to 64 year age group. In contrast, 53 per cent of females in the 25 to 44 year age group undertook more than two types of unpaid work. 1 in 4 (39%) females 45 to 64 years reported they did two or more types of unpaid work.

States and Territories

The proportion of people who participated in unpaid work is similar across all States and Territories. The exception is the Northern Territory, which had the lowest rate of people who stated they did no unpaid work (29%). The Northern Territory and Western Australia had higher rates of non-response than the other states.

Graph Image for Participation in Unpaid Work, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



Employment Status

Of the working age population (15 to 64 years) who undertook all types of unpaid work, most (53%) were employed, while 32 per cent were not in the labour force. Only 14 per cent of the people who reported they did all four types of unpaid work were unemployed.

Graph Image for Unpaid Work by Labour Force Status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 15 to 64 years old, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



The distribution of unpaid work for unemployed persons was the same as for employed people. In contrast, working age people who were not in the labour force were less likely to do unpaid work, with almost 4 in 10 (39%) stating they did no unpaid work at all. This compares to 32 per cent of unemployed people and 34 per cent of those who were employed. The rate of females who said they did two or more types of unpaid work was much higher than that of males regardless of their labour force status.