Nature and Extent of Health Inequalities for Socioeconomically Challenged People

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Socioeconomically disadvantaged people are a population who lack sufficient income to obtain adequate health, food, housing and clothing that the rest of society can afford, find it difficult to ensure an adequate standard of living or are often unemployed and rely on social security and services. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders (ATSI) fall into this category and make up a large amount of the people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. A study by the ‘United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ in 1998 found that unemployment rates for Indigenous Australians is 23% while for non-Indigenous Australians it’s 9%. These high unemployment rates and therefore low income rates have caused this to be an inequality due to a lack of attention in these areas by governments and seclusion of these people.

Whilst a non-indigenous male born in 1997-1999 can expect to live for 77 years, an Indigenous Australian male born in the same period can expect to live only 56 years, a difference of 21 years. This is equivalent to a non indigenous Australian male born over 100 years ago. A non-indigenous female born in 1997-1999 can expect to live for 83 years, whilst an indigenous Australian female born in the same period can expect to live only 63 years. This is equivalent to a non-indigenous Australian female born in the 1920s. This reduced life expectancy can be down to the fact that living conditions in these areas are extremely poor and there also isn’t adequate access to healthcare facilities such as a general practitioner or a hospital. In the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Indigenous Australians living in the most disadvantaged areas were 1.4 times more likely to report their health as fair or poor compared with non-Indigenous Australians living in the most disadvantaged areas. Alternatively, of those living in the most disadvantaged areas Indigenous Australians were around half (0.6) as likely to...
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