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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2005   
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MEDIA RELEASE

July 12, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
80/2005

Australian Social Trends outlined...

In the last twenty-five years women's earnings have significantly closed the gap with men's, the number of children dying from injuries has halved, but our twenty year-olds are more likely to be living at home.

These trends and other ways in which life in Australia has changed are examined in Australian Social Trends 2005, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Key highlights from the publication include:

Population

The number of people living alone is projected to increase from 1.8 million in 2001 to between 2.8 million and 3.7 million in 2026. This is related to the ageing population, delayed marriage and increases in divorce and separation.

The social circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved since 1994 with increases in educational attainment, employment and home ownership. The proportion of Indigenous people with a non-school qualification (such as a certificate, diploma or bachelor degree) was 29% in 2002, up from 19% in 1994. Nevertheless, when compared with non-Indigenous Australians, Indigenous people remain disadvantaged across a range of areas.

What a difference a generation makes - life for people in their twenties in 2001 has changed since 1976. Twentysomethings in 2001 were more likely to be living with their parents than in 1976 (30% compared to 21% respectively). The chances of twentysomethings having their own family with children is half what it used to be (20% compared to 41%).

However, twentysomethings were almost twice as likely to be studying (23% compared to 12%) and to have gained a non-school qualification (45% compared to 31%). Labour force participation has increased from 75% to 81% over this period, with this increase being driven by increased participation for women (up from 57% in 1976 to 75%) and a slight decrease for men (92% to 87%).

Babies born to women aged 30 years or more accounted for half (51%) of Australia's total fertility rate in 2003, a substantial increase from 41% ten years earlier. The median age of mothers at birth has also increased slightly (30.5 years up from 28.9 years). Australia's total fertility rate fell from 1.86 to 1.76 between 1993 and 1998, but remained relatively stable between 1998 and 2003 - varying between 1.73 and 1.76.

Family and community

Many grandparents play a caring role for their grandchildren. In a typical week one in five children (aged 11 and under) had spent some time in the care of grandparents in 2002, and grandparents provided almost a third of the total hours of child care. There were 22,500 families in which a grandparent (or grandparents) were the primary carers of their grandchildren aged 0-17 years in 2003.

Health and Education

Over the past two decades the number of children (aged 1-14 years) who died as a result of injury has halved, from 553 deaths in 1983 to 231 in 2003. However, injuries (such as transport accidents and drownings) remain the leading cause of death for children of this age.

Australian 15 year old school students have high levels of mathematical and scientific literacy. In 2003, their average scores in an international assessment survey placed them among the top third of 41 OECD and other participating countries.

Work, Economic resources

Casual employment has increased over the last decade with over one-quarter (26%) of employees casual in 2003, up from 22% in 1993. Casual employees were most likely to be women (58%), aged 15-24 years (40%) and employed in lower skilled occupations in 2003. Most casual employees worked part-time (70%) compared with 16% of ongoing employees.

On average, women earn less from employment than men. Women earned 92% of the average (hourly ordinary-time) earnings of men in May 2004 (calculation based on full-time adult non-managerial employees). Thirty years ago women were earning 78% of male earnings. Factors affecting the gap between female and male earnings include industry and occupation of job, employment experience and age. However, the gender wage gap in Australia is considerably less than in most other OECD countries.

Other areas of social concern

Household water use accounted for almost one-tenth (9%) of all water consumed in Australia in 2000-01. The vast majority (90%) of households in 2002 reported conserving water by using a water saving device (such as a dual flush toilet) and/or by using a conservation practice such as taking shorter showers. Between 1994 and 2004, the proportion of households with reduced flow shower heads and dual flush toilets almost doubled (from 22% to 44% and 39% to 74% respectively).

More detail including other articles, state/territory summary data on key social indicators and some international comparisons appear in Australian Social Trends, 2005 (cat. no. 4102.0).


AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL TRENDS - STATE/TERRITORY SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

The following table provides some state/territory specific information related to highlights in the national Australian Social Trends media release.

NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Australia

Percentage of households that were lone person households in 2001 (a)
23.9
24.4
23.8
28.0
24.7
27.7
21.3
23.8
24.5
Household projections - percentage increase in number of households between 2001 and 2026 (Series B ll)(b)
34.9
37.0
67.7
20.2
53.0
16.3
43.5
34.1
41.7
Total fertility rate (per female), 2003 (c)
1.80
1.67
1.78
1.72
1.74
1.89
2.38
1.60
1.76
Births to mothers aged 35 and over - percent of all births in 2003 (d)
19.5
21.2
16.5
20.1
18.2
14.6
15.4
20.0
19.1
Percentage of male earnings earned by females in May 2004, in terms of mean hourly ordinary-time earnings of full-time adult non-managerial employees (e)
91
89
91
95
88
94
99
94
92
Employees without leave entitlements (casual employees) in 2003 - percent of all employees (f)
23.9
22.6
30.3
29.6
26.4
28.5
20.8
21.1
25.5
Household water use per capita - kL in 2000-01 (g)
101
102
137
123
132
130
212
117
115


(a) P. 33, Family and community indicators (b) P.11, Future living arrangements article (c) P. 34, Family and community indicators
(d) P. 34, Family and community indicators (e) ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (f) ABS Labour Force Survey and ABS Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (g) PP. 182-3. Household water use and conservation article

Media note: while most of the articles in Australian Social Trends 2005 present a national picture, state/territory tables for a range of social indicators are contained at the start of each chapter.


AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL TRENDS 2005: LIST OF CONTENTS - CHAPTERS AND ARTICLES


1. Population
5. Work
Future living arrangements - uses population projections to discuss future living arrangements.

Social circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - examines changes since 1994 in areas such as health and disability, education, work, income and housing.

People in their 20s: then and now - compares the characteristics and experiences of people in their 20s in 1976 and 2001.

Recent fertility trends - looks at Australian fertility trends over the ten years 1993-2003.

Labour force transitions - focuses on people who change labour force status from one month to the next.

Nursing workers - looks at the characteristics of nursing workers and changes over time.

Casual employees - presents the age, sex, industry, occupation, earnings and other characteristics of casual employees.

Labour force characteristics of people with a disability - explores characteristics such as labour force participation, employment arrangements and unemployment of people with a disability.


2. Family and community
6. Economic resources
Carers - looks at caring over the lifecycle, characteristics of primary carers and support for carers.

Grandparents raising their grandchildren - compares families where grandparents are the primary carers of their grandchildren with other families.

Informal care provided by grandparents - examines the amount and patterns of use of child care provided by grandparents.

Social and sporting activities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - looks at Indigenous peoples’ participation in selected social interaction activities.

Sources of personal income across Australia - presents a case study of four local government areas selected for their different changes in income patterns and population over a 5 year period.

Female/male earnings - examines trends in and influences on the gender wage gap.


3. Health
7. Housing
Colorectal cancer - presents information on incidence, mortality, survival and risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Older people with disabilities - explores the prevalence of disability among older people, their living arrangements and need for assistance.

Children's accidents and injuries - looks at recent injuries sustained by children as well as deaths as a result of injury in children.

Supply of housing - explores changes in housing supply, particularly the location and type of new residential construction.

Housing for older Australians - looks at the household and housing characteristics of older Australians.


4. Education and training
8. Other areas of social concern
Young people at risk in the transition from education to work - explores the extent of engagement of young people in education and work.

Multiple qualification holders - examines the characteristics of Australians with more than one non-school qualification and the qualifications they hold.

School students' mathematics and science literacy - summarises Australian results in the 2003 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment.

Higher criminal court outcomes - focuses on the characteristics of defendants in the Higher criminal courts.

Household water use and conservation - summarises water use and conservation by households.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: contact with the law - examines contact with law enforcement authorities and exposure to family and personal violence


Each of the chapters also include a set of national and state/territory summary tables which present key social indicators.

The last chapter provides international comparisons in the areas of population, health, education and work.

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