4105.0 - Children and Youth News, Apr 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2004   
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A new ABS publication, Census of Population and Housing: Australia's Youth, 2001 provides an updated snapshot of youth (15–24 year olds) across a range of areas of social concern, such as Indigenous and cultural background, family relationships, participation in education and the labour force, income levels, use of computers and migration.

Australia's 2.6 million young people accounted for 14% of the total population in 2001. Around 15% of young people were born overseas, with most of these born in non-main English speaking countries (71%). Australia's youth collectively spoke over 200 languages, with 21% speaking a language other than English at home. The most commonly spoken languages, other than English, were Cantonese and Arabic, including Lebanese (both 10%), Mandarin, Vietnamese, Italian and Greek (all 7%).

Young people were more likely to be living in the parental home (59%) than in the past, reflecting, among other things, the increase in education participation and the delay of marriage. In 2001, 10% of young people were married, with de facto marriages comprising 63% of these marriages.

The participation of youth in education increased between 1996 and 2001, with over half of all young people (53%) attending an educational institution in 2001. Of these young people attending an educational institution, 49% were also participating in the labour force, compared with 84% of those not attending an educational institution. The median weekly income of youth not attending an educational institution ($377) was similar to that of part-time students ($332), while the figure for full-time students was considerably lower ($53).

Young people were one of the most mobile population groups within Australia, with over half moving residence between 1996 and 2001. The movement of youth was similar to that of the total population, with people moving northward, away from south-eastern Australia.

Persons aged 15-24 years, 1996-2001
Map of Australia showing MAIN NET INTERSTATE MIGRATION FLOWS OF PERSONS AGED 15-24 YEARS, 1996 to 2001
(a) The line thickness equates to population movements. The thicker the line the greater the number of people moving interstate.
Excludes net flows of less than 250 people.

Further information is available in Census of Population and Housing: Australia's Youth, 2001 (cat. no. 2059.0). Other recently produced profiles of young people have been produced by the Foundation for Young Australians and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Australia's Young People: Their Health and Wellbeing).


The 2003 Survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities collected information on participation by Australian children aged 5–14 years in selected organised cultural activities and organised sports outside of school hours.

Of the 2.6 million children, the survey estimates that in the 12 months prior to April 2003:
  • Almost all (99.8%) participated in at least one of the selected leisure activities surveyed; the most frequent activities reported were watching television or videos, reading for pleasure and playing electronic or computer games
  • 62% participated in organised sport
  • 29% were involved in selected organised cultural activities
  • 29% did not participate in either organised sport or selected organised cultural activities.

Further information is available in Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003 (cat. no. 4901.0).