4105.0 - Children and Youth News, Jan 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Children aged 0-17 years with a natural parent living elsewhere

The 2003 Survey of Family Characteristics collected information on the composition of families and households. A selection of this information is presented here.

There were 1.1 million children aged 0-17 years in 2003 (23% of all children in this age group) who had a natural parent living elsewhere. Of these children, 76% lived in one parent families, 13% in step families and 9% in blended families. Children were more likely to live with their mother than their father after parents separate. The survey found that in 84% of cases it was the father who was the natural parent living elsewhere.

Of the children aged 0-17 years with a natural parent living elsewhere, 50% (or 543,500) saw their non-resident parent frequently (at least once per fortnight), while 31% (339,000) only saw their other natural parent either rarely (once per year, or less often) or never. Of the 283,000 children who saw their non-resident natural parent less than once a year or never saw them, 64,300 (23%) had some indirect contact with their parent (e.g. via phone, email or letter).

The proportion of children whose mother or father lived elsewhere who saw their other parent frequently increased from 44% in 1997 to 50% in 2003.

CHILDREN SEEING ANOTHER NATURAL PARENT, Proportion of children seeing other natural parent frequently/rarely
GRAPH - Children seeing another natural parent, proportion of  children seeing another parent frequently/rarely
(a) Frequently is defined as at least once per fortnight.
(b) Rarely is defined as at most once per year.

Younger children were likely to see their other natural parent more frequently than were older children. Of children aged 0-2 years, 66% saw their other natural parent frequently while 23% saw them rarely or never. The corresponding proportions for children aged 15-17 years were 38% and 36% respectively.

On average, 50% of children with a parent living elsewhere in 2003 had overnight stays with the other natural parent, compared with 46% in 1997. The proportion of children staying an average of two nights per week with the non-resident parent was higher in 2003 (6%) compared with 3% in 1997.

Further information is available in Family Characteristics, Australia, 2003 (cat. no. 4442.0).

Underemployed youth

The Underemployed Workers Survey was conducted throughout Australia in September 2003 as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey. The survey provides information on visible underemployment. A selection of this data in relation to youth aged 15-24 years is presented here with a focus on part time workers.

Underemployed workers are employed persons who want, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have. There were 1,737,800 employed persons aged 15-24 years in September 2003. Of these 210,800 (12%) usually worked parttime and wanted to work more hours and 196,600 (11%) were underemployed workers, including:

• 189,500 who usually worked part-time and wanted more hours and were available to start work with more hours in the
reference week, or within four weeks of interview.

• 7,100 who usually worked full-time but worked part-time hours in the reference week due to economic reasons (being stood down, on short time, or having insufficient work).

There were more part-time underemployed females (106,500) than males (82,900), this being representative of the higher proportion of females who participate in part-time work1. Conversely, there are more full-time underemployed males (5,700) than females (1,400).

It has been suggested that the high rate of underemployment mainly among part-time workers is attributable to the high proportion of youth who work in the retail trade industry (where part time casual staff are less costly to employers2), a decline in the availability of full time jobs2, and also as part time work provides the opportunity for young people to combine work and study3.

Of youth part-time workers who were looking for or available to start work with more hours, most wanted to work an extra 10-19 hours (41%), with only 12% wanting to work an extra 30 hours or more. Of these workers the main difficulty in finding more hours was ‘no vacancies in line of work’ (22%), followed by ‘insufficient work experience’ (12%) and ‘lacked necessary skills or education’ (10%). This reflects some of the difficulties young people face in the long process of transition from school to full time employment4.

In an analysis of HILDA data it was found that the adverse affects of being underemployed were greater for those employed part-time than those for those employed full-time. The detrimental effects of underemployment, such as low life satisfaction were found to be similar for those part-time underemployed and unemployed5. Further information is available in Underemployed Workers, September, 2003 (cat. no. 6265.0).

End Notes
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Australia’s Youth, cat. no. 2059.0, ABS, Canberra.
2 Kruger, T 2000, Underemployment and overwork, Research Note 27 1999-2000, Parliament of Australia, Statistics Group, Parliamentary Library, Canberra.
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Australian Social Trends: Combining study and work, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Australian Social Trends: Pathways from school to work, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.
5 Wilkins, R 2004, The extent and consequences of underemployment in Australia, Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 16/04, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Melbourne.