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4123.1 - New South Wales' Young People, 1996  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/09/1998   
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INTRODUCTION

This publication provides a comprehensive range of statistics on young people aged 12-25 years in New South Wales, using data from the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. The report is one of a series produced for each Australian State and Territory, jointly published by the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). NYARS was established in 1985 as a cooperative funding arrangement between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to facilitate nationally based research into current social, political and economic factors affecting young people. NYARS is administered under the auspices of Youth Ministers through a working group of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. Research undertaken assists in the formulation, implementation and assessment of policy by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers for Youth.

A similar series, using 1991 Census data, was jointly published by the ABS and NYARS during 1992 and 1993.

The publication features summary tables of selected characteristics of young people at national and local government area levels. More detailed information is presented in five subject-based chapters: population, cultural diversity, living arrangements, education and working life.

Within these broad subject headings, the publication also considers young people in the context of age, sex, and cultural diversity. Comparative data from the 1986 and 1991 Censuses are also included in some tables to provide a time dimension.

Chapter 1

SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS

NATIONAL SUMMARY

On census night 1996, 3,636,900 12-25 year-olds were counted in Australia, representing over one-fifth (21%) of Australians of all ages.

In New South Wales, the most populous State, they numbered 1,201,779, representing one-third of Australia's young people. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of young people (24%).

Young males outnumbered young females in all States and Territories. Nationally, there were 48,800 more 12-25 year-old males than females.

Cultural diversity

Almost 3% (99,500) of Australia's young people were of Indigenous origin. In the Northern Territory, people who reported that they were of Indigenous origin comprised almost one-third (32%) of all 12-25 year-olds, but in Victoria, they made up fewer than 1% of young people.

Just over 14% of young people in Australia had been born overseas. For 5%, their country of birth had been one of the main English-speaking countries (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America). The other 9% had been born in other countries.

A high proportion of young people (15%) spoke languages other than English. More than 28% of the Northern Territory's 12-25 year-olds, and 20% of young people in Victoria, reported speaking a language other than English at home.

Living arrangements

Over 42% of young people in Australia were living with their parents as dependent children-either children aged 15 years or under, or dependent students aged 15-24 years. Another 20% lived with their parents as non-dependent children.

Almost one-quarter (24%) of young people had formed families or partnerships, or were living independently, alone or in group households.

Education

Over 87% of Australian 12-17 year-olds, and almost 30% of 18-25 year-olds, were attending schools or other educational institutions. The highest levels of educational participation were reported in the Australian Capital Territory (92% of 12-17 year-olds, and 43% of 18-25 year-olds), and the lowest, in the Northern Territory - 75% and 14% respectively.

New South Wales had the highest proportion (32%) of any State or Territory of young people (18-25 years) with post-school qualifications. Nationally, the proportion was 29%.

Working life

Almost one-half (48%) of Australian 15-19 year-olds, and 78% of 20-25 year-olds, were in the labour force, that is, they were employed, or looking for work.

Among young people aged 15-19 years, the highest proportion (23%) were working part-time, compared with 14% in full-time work. For 20-25 year-olds, these positions were reversed - 47% were working full-time, and 19% part-time.

Unemployment

Unemployment rates among young people were at 19% for 15-19 year-olds, and 13% for 20-25 year-olds.

Young people's labour force participation is often influenced by their continuing participation in education, and an alternative measure of unemployment levels is the percentage of unemployed in the whole age group. In 1996, this proportion was 9% for 15-19 year-olds, and 10% for 20-25 year-olds.

Income

The median weekly income for 15-25 year-olds in 1996 was $181.

Chapter 2

POPULATION

On census night (6 August 1996) 1,201,779 young people aged 12-25 years were counted, constituting 20% of all people in New South Wales.

1986 to 1996

Between 1986 and 1996, New South Wales' census count increased by 614,487 (11%) to 5,995,545. The number of young people fell by 25,305 or 2% over the same period.

Young people in New South Wales represent a declining proportion of the total, falling from 23% in 1986 to 21% in 1991, and then to 20% in 1996. This trend can be expected to continue, since the proportion aged 0-11 years has also declined, from 18% in 1986 to 17% in 1996.


Sex and age

There were slightly more males than females in the 12-25 years age group (609,908 compared with 591,871). Among people aged 26 years and over, the number of females (1,939,155) exceeded the number of males (1,825, 904).

Geographic distribution

In 1996, the highest number of young people were counted in the Statistical Division of Sydney (766,391), representing 64% of all young people in New South Wales. Sydney and Murrumbidgee Statistical Divisions had the highest proportion of 12-25 year-olds (both with 21%). They were closely followed by Central West, Northern, Hunter, and Illawarra Statistical Divisions (all 20%).

Only four Statistical Divisions registered increases in numbers of young people between 1991 and 1996 (Hunter, Illawarra, Richmond-Tweed and Mid-North Coast Statistical Divisions). The strongest growth was in the Richmond-Tweed Statistical Division, which increased by 12% (3,694).

Movement

Young people reported being more mobile than older people. Just over 40% of 12-25 year-olds reported living at a different address than five years previously, compared with only 33% of older people. A similar pattern was evident for residential movement within the previous twelve months, with 22% of young people and only 13% of older people at different address.

The greatest level of residential movement in both the last year and the last five years took place within the State of New South Wales. Among people who had moved within the previous five years, 90% of 12-25 year-olds, and 91% of older people, had moved within the State. Similarly, among those who had moved within the previous twelve months, 91% of young people and 92% of older people had moved within the State.

Young females in New South Wales were more likely to have moved than young males. In 1996, 43% of young women reported living at a different address from five years ago, compared with 37% of young men. For the older population, 32% of females and 34% of males were living at a different address from five years ago.


Chapter 3

CULTURAL DIVERSITY

Indigenous people

In the 1996 Census, 27,821 or 2.3% of young people in New South Wales identified as Indigenous people. This proportion was slightly lower than the national average among young people (2.7%). The 0-9 years age group had the highest proportion of Indigenous people (3.4%) while the proportion of Indigenous people in the older population (aged 26 years and over) was just 1%.

Overseas-born

Almost 16% (190,193) of young people in New South Wales were born overseas. This is one of the highest proportions among the States and Territories. Only Western Australia had a higher proportion (19%), and nationally, the proportion is 14%. In contrast, 30% of people in New South Wales aged 26 years and older were born overseas.

Countries of birth

One-quarter (25% or 47,873) of overseas-born people aged 12-25 years originated from the main English-speaking countries (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America). Among older people (aged 26 years and over), one-third (33% or 3,765,059) had been born in the main English-speaking countries.


Among young people in New South Wales who arrived in Australia prior to 1986, the highest proportion were born in the United Kingdom (16%), followed by those born in Viet Nam (10%). Among those who arrived between 1986 and 1990, the highest proportion were born in the Philippines, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Viet Nam (9% each).

Among those who arrived more recently (1991-1996), 12,045 were born in one of the main English-speaking countries, and 52,926 were born in other countries. However, the highest proportion (9%) were born in New Zealand, followed by 8% from Hong Kong.



Birthplace of parents

Of young people in New South Wales who were born in Australia, 644,753 or 66% had both an Australian-born mother and father. Another 317,082 (33%) had at least one parent who had been born overseas. Almost 21% (208,439) had at least one parent born in a non-main English-speaking country.

Languages spoken at home

Almost one-fifth (19%) of young people spoke a language other than English at home. Of these, 15% spoke a Chinese language, and another 15% spoke Arabic (including Lebanese). Among people aged 26 years and over, the most common languages spoken at home other than English were also Chinese languages (15%).

Proficiency in English

The majority (78%) of young people in New South Wales reported speaking English only. Of those young people who spoke another language, 92% reported that they spoke English very well or well.

Chapter 4

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

Marital status

Most 15-25 year-olds (76%) in New South Wales were not married. Almost 8% reported being in a registered marriage, and 6% in a de facto marriage. Young females were more likely than young males to be in a partnership (19% compared with 10%).

Living arrangements

Almost 43% of 12-25 year-olds were living with their parents as dependent children. Another 26% of young males, and 17% of young females, were living as non-dependent children with their parents. Young women were more likely than young men to have moved from the family home, forming partnerships and their own families (18% compared with 8% of young males).


Living arrangements varied between cultural groups. Almost 20% of young women from non-main English-speaking countries, and 26% of Indigenous young women, had formed partnerships, or their own families. High proportions (29%) of young people from non-main English-speaking countries were living with their parents as dependent students.

Type of dwelling

About 3% of 12-25 year-olds in New South Wales had spent census night in a non-private dwelling. The largest numbers of these young people were in boarding schools or residential colleges (18,031), or staying at hotels and motels (8,962). Another 4,692 young people reported having no usual address.

Type of tenure

A high proportion (59%) of young people occupied dwellings which were owned or being purchased, compared with 69% of people aged 26 years and over.
In comparison, more young people (33%) than older people (aged 26 years and over) (22%) lived in rented dwellings. Almost 64% of Indigenous young people, and 45% of those born overseas in non-main English-speaking countries, were in rented dwellings.

Chapter 5

EDUCATION

Attendance at educational institutions

Over half (55% or 664,049) of all 12-25 year-olds were attending an educational institution in 1996. This is an increase from 1991 (53%). The participation rate was the same for both males and females (55%). Most of these young people (63%) were attending secondary school, with a further 5% at primary school.

Between 1991 and 1996 the proportion of all young people who were attending school increased from 36% to 38%. Over the same period, the proportion of young people attending higher education institutions increased from 8% to 9%.



Given the legal age requirement for school attendance, education participation rates were highest for the younger age groups. Almost all (95%) of those in the 12-14 years age group reported that they were still at school, with the majority (166,029) attending government schools. Among 15-17 year-olds, educational participation was lower (81%), with 76% at school and 5% in post-secondary education.

In 1996 equal proportions of young males (8%) were attending University or tertiary institutions and Technical or further educational institutions. In contrast, a higher proportion of young females were attending University or tertiary institutions (10%) than were attending Technical or further education institutions (6%).

Non-main English-speaking birthplace

Two-thirds (67%) of young people in New South Wales who were born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country were attending an educational institution at the time of the 1996 Census. This is much higher than the general level of educational participation for young people (55%) and suggests the presence of an overseas student population. Almost 19% of young people born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country reported attending a University or tertiary institution, compared with only 9% of all young people in New South Wales.

Indigenous people

Among Indigenous young people in New South Wales, 12,275 (44%), were attending an educational institution. Participation was highest among the younger age groups with 91% of 12-14 year olds and 57% of 15-17 year olds in education. Lower levels of educational participation were reported for Indigenous people aged 20-25 years (12%), and just 3% of all Indigenous young people in New South Wales reported attending a University or other tertiary institution.

Education and labour force status

Many young people attending educational institutions were also employed. Among 15-25 year-olds who were attending a tertiary or other institution, 57% were employed either full-time or part-time. In 1996, 37% of young people attending a tertiary or other institution full-time were also working part-time. In 1991, only 29% of full-time students were working part-time, reflecting the general increase in part-time work.

Qualifications

New South Wales had the highest proportion (32%) of people aged 18-25 years with post-school qualifications of all States and Territories.

Also, young people in New South Wales were more highly qualified in 1996 than they were in 1991. The proportion of 15-25 year-olds with post-secondary qualifications increased from 21% to 24%. Among older persons (aged 26 years and over) the proportion increased from 36% to 39%.

Between 1991 and 1996, the proportion of young females holding a bachelor degree or higher increased from 4% to 8% and for young males, from 3% to 5%.

While similar proportions of young males and females held post-school qualifications (21% and 22% respectively), the level of qualification varied between the sexes. The most common qualification held by young males was skilled vocational (11%), followed by a bachelor degree (5%). For young females, the most common qualification was a bachelor degree (7%), followed by basic vocational (4%).


Chapter 6

WORKING LIFE

Labour force status

In New South Wales, at the time of the 1996 Census, there were 606,210 15-25 year-olds in the labour force; that is, they were either employed or looking for work. They made up 22% of the total labour force (2,806,544 people). The majority (83%) of these young people were employed.


Participation rates

The labour force participation rate for young people in 1996 was 64%. Participation among Indigenous young people was lower at 55%, and among young people born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country, the participation rate was 44%. This reflected the much higher level of educational participation by this group.

In 1996, fewer young women were in the labour force than young men (62% compared with 66%).

Full-time work

The proportion of young people employed in full-time work fell between 1991 and 1996 from 36% to 34%. This decrease was experienced equally by both young women and men and reflected the general move in the labour force from full-time to part-time work.

Part-time work

The proportions of both young and older people employed in part-time work have increased. Between 1991 and 1996, the proportion of young people in New South Wales who were employed part-time increased from 15% to 20%.

Among the 15-25 year-olds who were employed, 43% of young women, and 28% of young men, were employed part-time.

Unemployment

In 1996, the unemployment rate for young people in New South Wales was 14% - that is, 14% of 15-25 year-olds in the labour force reported that they were looking for work. Among young males, the rate was 16%, compared with 13% for young females.

Another measure of unemployment among young people, which takes account of the varying labour force participation between age groups, is the proportion of the total population in the age group who were unemployed. In New South Wales in 1996, fewer than 6% of 15-17 year-olds were looking for work. Among other age groups, this proportion was almost 13% for those aged 18-19 years, 10% for 20-24 year-olds, and 8% for 25 year-olds. In the total population of 15-25 year-olds, 9% were unemployed.

Industry

In 1996, the largest proportions of young people were employed in Retail trade (25% or 132,084); Manufacturing (11%); and Property and business services (9%). Retail trade employed the highest proportions of both young men and women (23% and 28% respectively). For young men, the next highest were Manufacturing (15%) and Construction (11%). Property and business services, and Health and community services were the next largest employers of young women, each employing 11%.


Occupation

In 1996, 20% (105,402) of employed young people in New South Wales were employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers. The largest proportion (20%) of older people were employed as Professionals. For young men, the most common occupations were Tradespersons and related workers (29%), and Labourers and related workers (14%). Young women were most commonly employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (30%) and Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (26%).

Income

A high proportion (16%) of young people reported receiving no income at all. In general, there were proportionally more young women at lower income levels and fewer at higher income levels. A partial explanation for this is women's higher participation in part-time work.


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