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1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Sep 2005  
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Feature Article - Youth in Regional Western Australia

(This article is published in the September Quarter 2005 issue of Western Australian Statistical Indicators, ABS Catalogue Number 1367.5)


INTRODUCTION

For most young people, the ages between 15 and 24 years represent a period of transition, moving from a situation of dependence on parents and family to living independent lives. During these years many young people engage in further education, enter the workforce, form relationships or leave home for the first time. These experiences can influence the choices of young people later in life in terms of employment, family formation and living arrangements. Young people living outside capital cities face challenges not encountered by other community members or by young people living in more urban areas - including geographical isolation, limited access to services such as post-school education and training, and lack of employment opportunities.


This article provides a statistical snapshot of youth in Western Australia at the time of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. It draws attention to the differing circumstances of young people by comparing youth residing in metropolitan Perth to those in other regional areas. In particular it focuses on key characteristics of population, education, employment, living arrangements and cultural diversity of young people.



METHODOLOGY

DATA SOURCE

Statistics in this article are taken from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing and are presented on the basis of where people usually live or ‘usual residence' counts, rather than where they were located on census night. 'Usual residence' is that address at which the person lived or intended to live for a total of 6 months or more in 2001.


GEOGRAPHICAL CLASSIFICATION

This study used the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). Ten Local Government Areas (LGAs) have been selected, covering 11% of the state's total youth population and all nine Department of Local Government and Regional Development 2005 Development Commission Regions (DCRs) in Western Australia. LGAs are legally designated areas over which incorporated local governments have responsibility.


For comparative purposes data for Perth Statistical Division (SD) and Western Australia have been included. The Perth SD encompasses all LGAs in the Perth capital city area from Wanneroo and Swan in the north to Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Rockingham in the south and Mundaring, Kalamunda and Armadale to the east. The Perth SD is referred to as Perth in the article.


The selected regions are:

  • City of Albany (DCR of Great Southern);
  • Shire of Broome (DCR of Kimberley);
  • City of Bunbury (DCR of South West);
  • Shire of Busselton (DCR of South West);
  • Shire of Carnarvon (DCR of Gascoyne);
  • City of Geraldton (DCR of Mid West);
  • City of Kalgoorlie/Boulder (DCR of Goldfields-Esperance);
  • City of Mandurah (DCR of Peel);
  • Town of Northam (DCR of Wheatbelt); and
  • Town of Port Hedland (DCR of Pilbara).

For more information on these geographic areas refer to Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC), 2001 (ABS cat. no. 1216.0) available on the ABS web site at <www.abs.gov.au>.


TERMINOLOGY

'Youth' and 'young people' are used interchangeably throughout the article to describe persons aged between 15 and 24 years inclusive.



POPULATION

In 2001 there were 260,600 young people living in Western Australia - 14% of the state's total population. While most young people lived in Perth (77%), one in four lived elsewhere in the state. The differences in the proportion of youth living in each of the selected regional areas was small, ranging from 11% in Mandurah to 15% in Bunbury. The proportion of young people in the Perth population was 15%. However, across LGAs that weren't selected for this study there was greater variability. For instance, in the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, the LGA outside of Perth with the highest proportion of young people, nearly a fifth of its total population was aged between 15-24 years. In comparison, Shire of Wyalkatchem had the lowest proportion of youth outside of Perth, with 6% of its population between the ages of 15-24 years.

POPULATION - 15-24 year olds

Males
Females
Persons
Proportion of statistical area
Proportion of Western Australia
Statistical area
no.
no.
no.
%
%

Albany
1 910
1 810
3 720
12.5
1.4
Broome
945
934
1 879
14.8
0.7
Bunbury
2 209
2 177
4 386
15.2
1.7
Busselton
1 349
1 190
2 539
11.6
1.0
Carnarvon
371
378
749
11.7
0.3
Geraldton
1 361
1 339
2 700
14.2
1.0
Kalgoorlie/Boulder
2 124
1 892
4 016
14.2
1.5
Mandurah
2 748
2 582
5 330
11.5
2.0
Northam
439
446
885
14.3
0.3
Port Hedland
892
763
1 655
13.7
0.6
Perth SD
101 105
98 637
199 742
14.9
76.6
Western Australia
133 397
127 234
260 631
14.3
100.0

ABS data available on request, 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


SEX RATIO

Recently there has been considerable interest in the perceived imbalance in the ratio of men to women outside of Perth, where there is thought to be a ‘shortage’ of women in the younger age groups. In both Perth and a number of the selected regional areas, there were more male than female youth, although the difference was not greater than would be expected in the wider population (ABS 2001a). In Perth there were 102.5 young males for every 100 young females and for the total youth population in Western Australia there were 104.8 males for every 100 females. Ratios for Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton and Mandurah were similar to the state's sex ratio for youth, ranging from 101.2 young males for every 100 young females in Broome to 106.4 young males for every 100 young females in Mandurah.


In Busselton, Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Port Hedland there were considerably more male than female youth. Of these, Port Hedland had the greatest imbalance with 116.9 males for every 100 females aged 15-24 years, reflecting the influence of the male dominated industry of mining in the area where there were 79 young men employed in mining compared to 30 young women. The Port Hedland Detention/Immigration Centre is also likely to affect the sex ratio in this area as there were significantly more men (108) than women (8) of the same age living in a prison, corrective or detention institution. In two of the selected regional areas there were more young females than males: Carnarvon had 98.1 young males for every 100 young females and Northam 98.4 young males for every 100 young females.

Sex ratio, Number of males per 100 females - 15-24 year olds
Graph: Sex ratio, Number of males per 100 females—15–24 year olds




PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION

Students living outside major cities often have lower rates of participation in education. The range of subjects, levels of study and access to technology can limit participation. Restricted employment opportunities outside of Perth can be a further disincentive to study beyond compulsory schooling. However, residential colleges or boarding schools and post-compulsory (from the beginning of the year in which a person reaches the age of 16) educational facilities in the regions offer important educational opportunities for youth living outside of Perth.


In 2001 more than half of all young people in Perth were participating in education (53%). Across the selected regional areas, the proportion was considerably lower. Carnarvon (23%) and Broome (23%) had the lowest proportions of young people participating in education, followed by Port Hedland (27%) and Kalgoorlie/Boulder (30%). Of the remaining selected regional areas the proportion participating in education ranged from 37% in Geraldton to 42% in Albany and Northam.

Participation in education, Proportion - 15-24 year olds
Graph: Participation in education, Proportion—15–24 year olds



As would be expected, there were higher participation rates among 15-19 year olds compared to 20-24 year olds across the selected regional areas and Perth, reflecting youth in compulsory schooling. The proportion of 15-19 year olds participating in education in the selected regional areas was lower when compared to Perth (71%). For the selected LGAs less than half of all young people aged 15-19 years living in Broome and Carnarvon were participating in education whilst Albany, Busselton, Mandurah and Northam had around two thirds of youth in this age group participating in education.


Participation in education at the older age group of 20-24 years is likely to reflect access to post-compulsory schooling. In Perth, where there are considerably more post-compulsory education options, 35% of those aged 20-24 years were participating in education. Across the selected regional areas the proportions were lower. Port Hedland (27%) had the highest proportion of students (20-24 years) among the selected regional areas. In Bunbury, Broome and Kalgoorlie/Boulder around one fifth of 20-24 year olds were participating in education. Geraldton (14%) and Carnarvon (15%) had the lowest proportion of youth in this age group who were students.


EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES

Education facilities such as universities and technical and further education facilities are important for youth wanting to study beyond compulsory schooling. Access to post-compulsory educational facilities, especially universities, is often limited outside Perth. This is reflected by the higher participation of youth attending universities or tertiary institutions in Perth (19%) than in the selected regional areas. Proportions ranged from less than 1% in Port Hedland to 6% in Bunbury and Kalgoorlie/Boulder. The higher proportions of youth attending a university or tertiary institution in Bunbury and Kalgoorlie/Boulder is likely to reflect the existence of the South West campus of Edith Cowan University in Bunbury and the Kalgoorlie Campus of Curtin University of Technology, specifically the WA School of Mines.


Technical or further education institutions (including TAFE colleges) are important for youth in regional areas as they provide skills relevant to the local area or may be their only available post-compulsory schooling option. There was a higher proportion of youth attending a technical or further educational institution in Albany (12%), Bunbury (11%), Northam (11%), Busselton, Geraldton and Mandurah (all 10%) than youth living in Perth (9%). In the other selected regional areas the proportions ranged from 5% in Broome to 8% in Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Carnarvon.


RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES AND BOARDING SCHOOLS

Residential colleges and boarding schools allow youth across Western Australia to undertake study while living away from home. In a number of the selected regional areas there were considerably higher proportions of youth living in residential colleges, halls of residence and boarding schools than youth in Perth. In Perth around 2% of youth were living in a residential college, hall of residence or boarding school. Among the selected regional areas Northam and Geraldton had the highest proportion of youth living in such facilities (both 4%). The other selected regional areas had proportions similar to Perth (ranging from 1% to 2% of youth).



PARTICIPATION IN EMPLOYMENT

Many people enter the work force for the first time between the ages of 15 and 24 years. There are a variety of different pathways in the transition from education to a career. Some young people combine employment with ongoing study, some spend time seeking employment or working in a variety of temporary jobs, while others settle into an initial career path quite quickly. Importantly, employment for young people provides the opportunity to develop work and social skills (ABS 2004a). There were a number of similar characteristics of youth employment in Perth and in the selected regional areas, including that youth employment often begins with part-time work, is frequently in the retail industry and is characterised by jobs that require less experience or skill.


In 2001 the proportion of youth employed in the selected regional areas varied considerably. Geraldton had the lowest proportion of youth employed (49%). Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Busselton had around two thirds (62%) of youth employed, the highest proportion of the selected regional areas. In Perth, 56% of youth were employed.


HOURS OF WORK

Part-time employment (employment less than 35 hours a week) is a feature of the youth labour market (ABS 2004a). Young people increasingly combine part-time work with full-time study, either while still at school or in further education. It is often not until they reach the upper end of the youth age range that they take their first full-time job (ABS 2003). However, there may be less opportunities for part-time employment in regional areas or part-time employment may represent limited availability of full-time work or underemployment. Full-time work for youth outside of Perth may be associated with movement to areas that offer suitable employment.


There was a higher proportion of 15-19 year olds working part-time than full-time in both Perth and most of the selected regional areas, reflecting the tendency for younger age groups to combine work and study. However, the proportion working part-time was lower among the selected regional areas than it was in Perth. Among those aged 15-19 years and living in the selected regional areas Mandurah had the highest proportion working part-time with nearly two thirds employed on a part-time basis (63%). In Perth the proportion was 64%. Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Carnarvon had more than half of employed 15-19 year olds working full-time (both 52%). This was significantly higher than in Perth where around a third of those employed were employed on a full-time basis (31%).


There were higher proportions of 20-24 year olds working full-time than part-time in both Perth and the selected regional areas although the proportion working full-time was higher in the selected regional areas. Albany had the highest proportion working part-time among the selected regional areas (35%). This was similar to the proportion of youth employed part-time in Perth (37%). Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Northam and Port Hedland had the highest proportions of those employed working full-time (76%, 73% and 73% respectively). The proportion working full-time in Perth was 60%.

HOURS WORKED, By employed 15-24 year olds

15-19 year olds
20-24 year olds
Part-time
Full-time
Employed(a)
Part-time
Full-time
Employed(a)
Statistical area
%
%
no.
%
%
no.

Albany
58.6
37.1
1 032
34.5
62.2
965
Broome
55.1
35.6
405
31.3
62.0
721
Bunbury
55.0
39.8
1 110
29.6
67.3
1 427
Busselton
59.4
36.5
789
32.4
62.7
778
Carnarvon
38.7
51.8
168
30.3
62.4
271
Geraldton
55.6
38.7
602
28.2
68.5
714
Kalgoorlie/Boulder
42.4
52.2
951
20.4
75.6
1 524
Mandurah
62.5
32.5
1 491
33.8
62.9
1 321
Northam
52.0
41.3
223
24.3
73.0
263
Port Hedland
48.1
44.8
368
23.9
72.7
528
Perth SD
64.1
30.9
46 636
37.0
59.9
64 801
Western Australia
61.6
33.3
61 546
35.3
61.5
83 210

(a) Includes employed persons aged 15-24 who did not state the number of hours worked.
ABS data available on request, 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


OCCUPATION

In Perth and regional areas the occupations in which young people are employed reflect lower levels of educational attainment and work experience and were generally less skilled and hence less well paid than those of older employed people (ABS 2004a).


The occupation of elementary clerical sales and service workers includes office trainees, sales assistants, checkout operators and trolley collectors. This was the most common occupation for around a quarter of young people employed in Mandurah (28%), Albany (26%), Geraldton (25%), Busselton (24%), Northam and Bunbury (both 23%). In Perth 25% of employed youth were in this group.


In Broome and Carnarvon the most common occupation group of employed youth was labourers and related workers (21% and 20% respectively). This was almost twice the proportion than in Perth (11%) and includes young people employed in the occupations of cleaner, hand packer, construction assistant, general farm hand, garden labourer and fast food cook.


Tradespersons and related workers was the most common occupation group for employed youth in Kalgoorlie/Boulder (25%) and Port Hedland (21%). In Perth it was the second most common employing occupation group for youth (14%). This group includes fitters, welders, motor mechanics, electricians, shearers and dressmakers.


INDUSTRY

A familiar feature of youth employment in both Perth and the selected regional areas was the influence of the retail trade industry. The retail trade industry, which includes work in supermarkets, grocery and department stores, often provides part-time work for young people while they are still at school or studying or to those with limited experience in the labour force.


Retail trade was the most common industry of those employed in both Perth and the selected regional areas. The proportion of employed youth in this industry varied across the selected regional areas from 18% in Broome to 40% in Mandurah. In Perth, a third of employed youth were in the Retail industry (33%).


Youth in regional areas may encounter limited employment opportunities. Regional towns built around specific industries may not offer the variety of job opportunities available in urban areas (ABS 2001b). Conversely, some youth may be drawn to regional areas in search of employment in specific industries. As such, youth employment often reflects the major industries located within different regional areas of Western Australia.


In Broome, 17% of employed youth were in government administration and defence, primarily local government administration, compared to 2% in Perth. Most of these young people were in a Community Development Employment Program (CDEP), a program specifically aimed at employing Indigenous people in their local community. In Carnarvon 14% of employed young people were in the agriculture, forestry or fishing industries. This includes horticulture, fruit growing and marine fishing. In Perth less than 1% of employed youth were in these industries. Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Port Hedland had more than a tenth of their employed youth in the mining industry (13% and 12% respectively). This was markedly higher than in Perth where less than 1% of employed young people were in the mining industry. In Busselton and Broome around a tenth of employed youth (13% and 12% respectively) were in the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industries, reflecting tourism to the area. This was similar to the proportion of employed youth in Perth in these industries (10%). Northam and Busselton had around a tenth of employed young people in the construction industry (12% and 11% respectively) compared to 6% in Perth. Bunbury, Mandurah and Busselton had around a tenth of employed youth in manufacturing. In Bunbury this included a variety of manufacturing industries but in Mandurah it related mainly to employment in alumina production and ship/boat building and in Busselton to wine manufacturing. In Perth 9% of employed youth were in the manufacturing industry.



NON-PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION AND WORK

Satisfying and rewarding work or education can contribute to a young persons sense of purpose, identity and self worth. Engagement in such activities enables youth to achieve defined goals, and is a means by which they can contribute to their community. Youth that are not in education and are unemployed, or not in the labour force, can be thought of as ‘disengaged’ from work and education. They may face barriers as a result of a lack of social participation or limited financial means. Youth in the selected regional areas had a greater proportion of disengagement from education and work than youth in Perth. This may reflect limited access to education, the limited availability of jobs or the earlier starting of families.


Young people aged 15-19 years in the selected regional areas had higher rates of disengagement from education or work than those in Perth of the same age. In Perth, 8% of 15-19 years old were not participating in education, employment or the labour force. Across all of the selected regional areas the corresponding proportions were higher. In Broome, 17% of 15-19 years olds were not in education, and were either unemployed or not in the labour force. This was similar to the proportion in Carnarvon (16%) and Geraldton (16%). Among the selected regional areas, Busselton had the lowest proportion of disengaged 15-19 year olds (10%).


Of 20-24 year olds, the proportion who were not engaged in education, employment or the labour force was higher than those in the younger age group. This reflects the absence of compulsory schooling. Of 20-24 year olds in Perth, 14% were not participating in education or the labour force or were unemployed. This was lower than the corresponding proportion in the selected regional areas. In Geraldton the proportion was more than twice as high with 32% of 20-24 year olds being disengaged. Among the other selected regional areas the proportion ranged from 16% in Kalgoorlie/Boulder to 27% in Mandurah.

NON-PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION AND WORK - 15-24 year olds

15-19 year olds not attending an educational institution
20-24 year olds not attending an educational institution
Unemployed
Not in the labour force
Unemployed or not in the labour force
Unemployed
Not in the labour force
Unemployed or not in the labour force
Statistical area
%
%
%
%
%
%

Albany
6.4
5.4
11.8
10.9
14.7
25.5
Broome
4.1
12.6
16.7
5.2
12.6
17.7
Bunbury
8.2
5.1
13.3
9.7
12.4
22.1
Busselton
5.8
3.8
9.6
7.9
10.3
18.3
Carnarvon
6.1
10.2
16.3
6.4
14.8
21.2
Geraldton
8.9
7.2
16.1
13.6
18.6
32.1
Kalgoorlie/Boulder
6.0
7.0
13.0
5.4
11.0
16.4
Mandurah
9.0
6.1
15.1
12.4
14.5
26.9
Northam
6.3
6.0
12.3
7.7
12.9
20.6
Port Hedland
5.1
8.3
13.4
5.8
12.0
17.7
Perth SD
4.4
3.7
8.1
6.6
7.8
14.4
Western Australia
4.8
4.5
9.3
7.0
9.3
16.3

ABS data available on request, 2001 Census of Population and Housing.



LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

Economic resources including access to affordable and appropriate accommodation, proximity to jobs, education and other facilities as well as lifestyle choices can affect the living arrangements of young people (ABS 1997). Living arrangements also provide indicators of the transition to independence and the starting of families for young people (ABS 2000).


LIVING WITH PARENTS

Across Perth and the selected regional areas most youth were living with parents, either as dependent students or non-dependent children. Perth (60%) had a higher proportion of young people living in the parental home than in the selected regional areas. Broome had the lowest proportion of young people living in households as dependent students or children (32%).


As would be expected those at younger ages were more likely to be living in the parental home than older youth, however this varied by region. Perth (77%), Mandurah (77%), Albany (75%) and Busselton (74%) had the highest proportions of 15-19 year olds living with parents either as dependent students or non-dependent children. In contrast just over half of those aged 15-19 years living in Broome (52%) and Carnarvon (56%) had this living arrangement.


The proportion of young adults living in the parental home, particularly in the 20-24 years age group, can be attributable in part to the deferral of leaving home until completion of study, first marriage or achievement of financial independence (ABS 2000). Of 20-24 year olds, 41% in Perth were living in the parental home as a dependent student or non-dependent child. This was higher than youth of these ages in the selected regional areas where the proportion ranged between 14% in Port Hedland and 30% in Mandurah. The main reason for this difference was the significantly higher proportion of 20-24 year olds in Perth who were living at home as dependent students, 12% compared with less than 4% in the selected regional areas.


GROUP HOUSEHOLDS

For many young adults, sharing a group house represents a period of transition between living with parents and the formation of a partnership. Similar proportions of youth in Perth and the selected regional areas lived in group households, although the reason for group living may be different. The proportion of youth living in a group household ranged from around a tenth of youth in Broome, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie/Boulder to 5% in Mandurah. In Perth 9% of youth were living in a group household.


For youth in Perth, group households were a more common living arrangement of students than in the selected regional areas. In Perth 47% of those in a group household were students. In the selected regional areas the proportions were lower, ranging from 12% in Carnarvon to 37% in Northam.


Higher proportions of youth in most of the selected regional areas were employed and living in a group household. In Perth 63% of those living in a group household were employed. In the selected regional areas this ranged from 61% in Northam to 87% in Port Hedland.


OTHER RELATED INDIVIDUAL

Among the selected regional areas, Broome had the highest proportion of youth living as an other related individual (10%). This includes as a brother/sister, cousin, nephew/niece or grandchild. Carnarvon had the next highest proportion (7%) of young people with this living arrangement, followed by Perth (5%). The high proportion of youth living as an other related individual in Broome reflects the high Indigenous youth population. More than three quarters (82%) of youth in Broome living as an other related individual were Indigenous. In Perth and the selected regional areas, the proportions were lower, ranging from 3% in Perth to 61% in Port Hedland.


LIVING WITH PARTNERS

Across all of the selected regional areas the proportion of youth living as a husband, wife or partner was greater than in Perth. This may reflect the greater proportion of youth living with children in the selected regional areas. Kalgoorlie/Boulder (21%), Carnarvon (20%) and Port Hedland (18%) had the highest proportions of youth living as a husband, wife or partner, approximately double the proportion of youth in Perth (10%) with this living arrangement. The proportion of 20-24 year olds living with a husband, wife or partner ranged from 25% in Broome to 33% in Kalgoorlie compared to 18% in Perth. In all selected regions, these young people were more likely to be female than male.


Living with children may be related to the proportion living as a husband, wife or partner in the selected regional areas. Youth living as a husband, wife or partner were equally or more likely to be living with children in the selected regional areas than in Perth. In Perth almost a third of those living as a husband, wife or partner were living with children (29%). In the selected regional areas the corresponding proportions ranged from 29% in Kalgoorlie/Boulder to 43% in both Albany and Geraldton.


LONE PARENTS

Across all of the selected regional areas there were higher proportions of youth living as lone parents than youth in Perth. In Perth 1% of youth were lone parents. In the selected regional areas, Geraldton had almost four times the proportion of young people who were lone parents (4%) than in Perth. This was the highest proportion of the selected regional areas. Busselton had the lowest proportion of youth living as lone parents (2%).

RELATIONSHIP IN HOUSEHOLD - 15-24 year olds

Husband, wife or partner
Lone parent
Dependent student
Non-dependent child
Other related individual
Unrelated individual living in family household
Group household member
Lone person
Statistical area
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Albany
13.1
2.3
29.3
26.8
3.7
3.1
6.7
3.5
Broome
15.4
3.2
11.9
19.8
10.3
6.0
10.4
3.6
Bunbury
14.5
2.6
24.7
25.3
4.7
2.8
10.9
4.8
Busselton
13.9
1.8
29.8
24.2
3.1
3.0
9.1
4.1
Carnarvon
19.8
2.1
12.6
25.4
6.8
3.6
8.0
4.3
Geraldton
15.1
3.9
22.2
21.7
4.8
3.3
9.2
5.9
Kalgoorlie/Boulder
20.9
2.3
16.2
22.2
4.8
3.0
10.4
5.2
Mandurah
12.9
2.7
29.9
28.3
3.6
2.9
5.1
3.6
Northam
14.1
3.2
23.6
24.3
4.5
2.6
8.5
4.5
Port Hedland
18.1
2.8
17.7
21.2
5.0
2.7
7.0
5.0
Perth SD
9.7
1.4
34.3
25.7
5.3
2.3
8.6
3.9
Western Australia
10.9
1.7
31.5
25.3
5.2
2.4
8.1
4.0

ABS data available on request, 2001 Census of Population and Housing.



CULTURAL DIVERSITY OF YOUTH

Cultural diversity can be recognised through a number of attributes including Indigenous status, religious affiliation, country of birth, the use and range of local and foreign languages and more generally ancestry. It is useful to describe the size of the populations that make up these groups in regional areas given that they may have different experiences when seeking to gain life opportunities such as employment or education. Culture may also have a range of benefits particularly important for young people across all of the state, including the ability to foster self esteem, improve communication and encourage social participation (ABS 2001b).


ANCESTRY

In the 2001 Census of Population and Housing people were asked to report the ancestries they most commonly identified with as far back as three generations. Ancestry reflects an individuals own assessment of their cultural and ethnic background. As up to two ancestries were recorded per person, some people were counted in more than one category.


Youth living in Perth reported a greater number of ancestries (182 separate ancestries) than youth in the selected regional areas (ranging from 26 in Northam to 59 in Bunbury). However, Australian and English were the most common ancestries for youth in Perth and the selected regional areas. In Perth 74% reported an Australian or English ancestry. Among the selected regional areas this ranged from 63% in Broome to 93% in Mandurah. An Irish ancestry was also common, ranging from 6% of youth in Port Hedland to 10% in Bunbury. In Perth 9% reported an Irish ancestry.


Among the selected regional areas Bunbury reported the highest proportion with an Italian ancestry (7%), this compared to 6% in Perth. In Albany 4% of youth reported a German and 4% a Dutch ancestry. This was the highest proportion of the selected regional areas. In Perth 3% reported a German ancestry and 2% a Dutch ancestry.


INDIGENOUS STATUS

When examining the distribution of Indigenous youth across the selected regional areas there were marked differences when compared to Indigenous youth in Perth. More than a third (35%) of all Indigenous youth lived in Perth. A lower proportion of the state's Indigenous youth lived in the selected regional areas ranging from less than 1% in Busselton to 8% in Broome.


There were considerable differences in the proportion of Indigenous youth within the selected regional areas and Perth. In Perth 2% of youth stated they were Indigenous. In Broome nearly half (43%) of all youth were Indigenous. Around a fifth of youth in Carnarvon (23%) and Port Hedland (19%) were Indigenous. Of the selected regional areas Busselton had the lowest proportion of Indigenous youth (2%).

Indigenous status, Proportion within LGA - 15-24 year olds
Graph: Indigenous status, Proportion within LGA—15–24 year olds



OVERSEAS BORN

The proportion of youth born overseas was higher in Perth (23%) than in the selected regional areas. Of these, the proportion varied from 3% of youth in Northam to 17% in Port Hedland. This higher proportion of overseas born living in Perth rather than in regional areas reflects the preference for migrants to live in the location of family members or people of the same ethnic background, the point of entry into the country, the economic attractiveness of the destination in terms of employment opportunities and particularly for young migrants, the existence of educational facilities (ABS 2004b).


New Zealand was the most common country of birth of overseas born youth in Kalgoorlie/Boulder (56%), Geraldton (43%), Northam (41%), Broome (35%), Bunbury (23%) and Carnarvon (22%). This was not the case for youth in Perth, Mandurah or Albany where England was the most common country of youth born overseas (53%, 42% and 28% respectively). In Port Hedland, Afghanistan was the most common country of birth of overseas born youth (22%).


Other features of overseas born youth in the selected regional areas include; in Carnarvon where there was a high proportion of overseas born youth from Vietnam and Portugal (both 17%), whereas in Perth 3% of overseas born youth were from Vietnam and less than 1% from Portugal; and Port Hedland where 22% were from Afghanistan (compared to less than 1% in Perth). This may reflect youth who were living in the Port Hedland Detention/Immigration Centre. In Northam, one in ten overseas born youth were from Vietnam and the Netherlands. In Perth, 3% of overseas born youth were from Vietnam and less than 1% from the Netherlands.


LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT HOME

There was greater diversity in the languages spoken by youth in Perth than in the selected regional areas. In Perth there were 131 languages spoken by youth. Among the selected regional areas this ranged from 6 languages in Northam to 25 in Broome. In Perth, 14% of youth indicated they spoke a language other than English at home. Among the selected regional areas the corresponding proportions were lower, ranging from 1% in Mandurah to 9% in Carnarvon and Port Hedland.

Language (other than English) spoken at home, Proportion - 15-24 year olds
Graph: Language (other than English) spoken at home, Proportion—15–24 year olds



Of those who spoke a language other than English at home in Perth 12% spoke Mandarin, 11% Cantonese, 9% Indonesian, 8% Italian and 7% spoke Vietnamese. Among those who spoke a language other than English at home in the selected regions, common languages included:
  • Italian (27%) and Persian (19%) in Albany;
  • Australian Indigenous Languages (64%), including Bardi (15%) and Yulparija (8%), and Thai (5%) in Broome;
  • Italian (27%) and Polish (12%) in Bunbury;
  • German (13%), Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian (all 9%) in Busselton;
  • Portuguese (23%) and Vietnamese (20%) in Carnarvon;
  • Malay (35%), Italian and Vietnamese (both 11%) in Geraldton;
  • Australian Indigenous Languages (26%) and Italian (12%) in Kalgoorlie;
  • Italian (13%), Thai (10%) and Japanese (9%) in Mandurah;
  • South Slavic n.f.d. and Vietnamese (both 20%) in Northam; and
  • Malay (34%) and Australian Indigenous Languages (21%) in Port Hedland.


RELIGION

Religious affiliation is defined as the religious beliefs and practices to which a person adheres or the religious group to which a person belongs. Although youth in Perth reported a greater variety of religions Christianity was still the most commonly reported religion among youth in Perth (56%) and in the selected regional areas. Northam reported the highest affiliation to Christianity among youth (60%) and Port Hedland the lowest (43%).


Small proportions of youth reported affiliations to other religions in the selected regional areas. In Carnarvon and Port Hedland 1% of youth were affiliated with Buddhism (2.9% of youth in the Perth). Double the proportion of youth were affiliated with Islam in Port Hedland (4%) than in Perth (2%). Around the same proportion of youth in Broome and Perth reported an affiliation to ‘Other religions’, including Australian Aboriginal Traditional religions (less than 1%).


There were differences between the selected regional areas in the proportions of youth that reported they had no religion. While a third of youth in Busselton (33%) reported they had no religion, just over a fifth in Broome stated they had no religion (22%). In Perth, just under a quarter of youth had no religion (24%).



CONCLUSION

This article has drawn attention to the differing characteristics of young people residing in metropolitan Perth to those in ten selected regional areas. The article has covered aspects of population, education, employment, living arrangements and cultural diversity. Youth in the selected regional areas shared a number of characteristics with youth in Perth. These similarities include that they worked mainly in the retail industry, commonly lived with parents, were associated with a variety of ancestries, spoke a diverse range of languages and were mostly Christian. Among the selected regional areas youth had lower rates of participation in education, were more often employed in the major industries located within their areas, and had a higher proportion disengaged or not in education or work, than youth in Perth.



REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1997, Article: Youth Housing, Australian Social Trends 1997, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2000, Article: Young Adults in the Parental Home, Australian Social Trends 2000, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001a, Australia's Youth 2001, cat. no. 2059.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001b, Measuring Well-being, 2001, cat. no. 4160.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Article: From School to Work, Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004a, Article: Young People in Employment, Australian Social Trends 2004, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004b, Article: Where do the overseas-born population live? Australian Social Trends 2004, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra.


Department of Local Government and Regional Development 2005, viewed 12 August 2005, <www.dlgrd.wa.gov.au/statisticInfo/regionMaps.asp>


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