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Homelessness: Homeless estimates - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons

Homeless estimates - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons

The Census of Population and Housing conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) presents estimates of the prevalence of homelessness, and the characteristics and living arrangements of those experiencing homelessness.

The Census aims to enumerate all persons in Australia on Census night (with the exception of foreign diplomats and their families). The Census is conducted every five years. In accordance with the ABS statistical definition, when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered to be experiencing homelessness if their current living arrangement: is in a dwelling that is inadequate; has no tenure, or their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

The Census was held on 10 August 2021, when states and territories in Australia were under varied COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions. Measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 included: restrictions to international travel and migration; border control measures for some states and territories; stay at home orders; limits on gatherings; and social distancing rules. A number of state and territory governments also worked with service providers to give temporary accommodation to people sleeping rough – or in crisis situations – to protect them, and the community, from the virus. The homelessness estimates presented reflect the unique accommodation circumstances of those experiencing homelessness at the time of the Census. For more information on state and territory government responses to the pandemic and how Census data was collected during the pandemic,

Census data on the characteristics, geographical distribution and living arrangements of those likely to be homeless or marginally housed are also used in the following dashboard menu options: Homeless estimates - personal characteristics, Homeless estimates - personal characteristics by operational group, Homeless estimates - main source of income by operational group, Homeless estimates - geography and People in other marginal housing.

See ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness ( for further information, including in-depth commentary and analysis, in particular the source data Quality Declaration. Source reference 2021 data: Data downloads, Census of Population and Housing: estimating homelessness, table 7.7.