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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1997  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/06/1997   
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MEDIA RELEASE

June 19, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
78/1997

Australian social trends 1997

The fourth edition of Australian Social Trends was released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The publication provides statistics and informed commentary on a diverse range of social issues, explaining how circumstances have changed over time and, on some issues, how Australia compares with other countries.

Australian Social Trends 1997 presents figures which show that:
  • our population is growing but its structure is changing. There are fewer children, more older people, and more people who were born overseas. People from Asian countries represent a growing segment of our population, reflecting our changing links with Europe and Asia.
  • the family unit is under pressure; the number of one-parent families continues to increase and while an increasing number of families have two incomes and are faced with long hours of work, an increasing number also have neither partner employed in paid work.
  • we perceive ourselves as being healthy and continue to take actions to improve our health. Tobacco and alcohol consumption have been declining as has our consumption of fats which have helped to increase our life expectancy. Deaths due to infectious diseases have declined greatly over the last century. Deaths from AIDS have recently decreased. The need to protect our children from whooping cough and other serious childhood diseases remain issues of concern.
  • more students are attending non-government schools and the number of students attending universities and other tertiary institutions has never been higher. The numbers of students per teacher in primary and secondary schools have remained fairly stable over the last decade but the number of male school teachers has continued to fall.
  • changes in the economy have had a large impact on the jobs people do and the industries they work in. High levels of unemployment have increased job competitiveness. Manufacturing industries have been in decline but there has been a large growth in jobs in the services sector, with small business contributing to this growth. Trends to more part-time work continue.
  • Police statistics show that crime rates vary between the States and Territories. Murder/manslaughter rates appear to have declined over recent years. Statistics on levels of assault and violence against women reveal those groups most at risk of violence are young and single, especially divorced or separated.

Other issues examined include: how we contribute our time in voluntary work, our level of contribution to charities, trends in government assistance for housing, changes in the distribution of incomes, how expenditure patterns on recreation are changing and our levels of overseas aid.

Australian Social Trends, 1997 (cat. no. 4102.0) is available at ABS bookshops.

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