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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/06/2001   
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MEDIA RELEASE

June 06, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
64/2001

ABS Releases Australian Social Trends

The annual snapshot of Australian society, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today, presents a detailed and wide ranging picture of the way we were in the 20th century, the way we are today and possible directions for social change into the 21st century.

Australian Social Trends 2001 reports that:

Australian women are having children later in life: almost half the babies born in 1999 were to women aged 30 years or over, compared with almost a quarter 20 years earlier.

More children are in some form of child care: In 1999, just over half the children aged under 12 years spent some time in child care (up from 38 per cent in 1984). 24 per cent of children used formal care and 37 per cent used informal care, including 10 per cent who used both.

The difference between the employment rates of men and women narrowed between 1980 and 2000. The employment rate for men dropped from 82 per cent to 77 per cent, while the rate for women rose from 47 per cent to 61 per cent.

Women are receiving a greater proportion of all income. Between 1982 and 1999-2000, the share of income received by women rose from 33 per cent to 38 per cent, due mainly to the increase in the proportion of women working.

The value of unpaid work performed by Australians in 1997 was estimated at $261 billion. The majority of unpaid work performed (91 per cent) was household work.

In 1999, 2.3 million households were repaying one or more mortgages, which consumed an average of 15 per cent of their income. Almost half of all home owners had a mortgage.

The proportion of people of workforce-age receiving income support increased from 4 per cent in 1969 to 21 per cent in 1999, largely due to declines in full-time employment, increased levels of unemployment, a greater proportion of people without partners and increased levels of participation in education.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households are more likely to be renting than non-Indigenous households, 60% compared with 27% in 1999.

More people are covered by private health insurance than in the 1990s, following a rapid rise from 32 per cent to 46 per cent between the March and September quarters 2000. This followed the introduction of Lifetime Health Cover in July 2000.

Death rates decreased through the 20th century, from 1857 per 100,000 to 737 per 100,000 for men and 1485 per 100,000 to 460 per 100,000 for women, between 1909 and 1999, and life expectancy rose by over 20 years.

The drug-related death rate for males increased between 1979 and 1999 from 5 deaths per 100,000 to 14 deaths per 100,000, while the rate for females remained at around 5 deaths per 100,000 over the period. In 1999, the highest rates occurred among young adults aged 25-29 years old.


ATTENTION: Feature Editors, Program Producers

SOCIAL TRENDS HAS LOTS OF GOOD STORIES

TOPICS INCLUDE:

POPULATION:
    Populations of Australia and New Zealand: a comparison
    Asian-born Australians
    Coming to Australia
    Leaving Australia
    Population projections for the 21st century

FAMILY:
    Child care arrangements
    Caring in the community
    Future living arrangements
    Older mothers

HEALTH:
    Mortality in the 20th century
    Drug-related deaths
    Disability among adults
    Private health insurance
    Private hospitals

EDUCATION:
    Trends in completing school
    Time spent studying
    Field of study and employment
    Combining study and work

WORK:
    Changes experienced at work
    Changing employer or business
    Trends in employment population ratios
    Unemployment trends and patterns
    Time spent on unpaid household work

INCOME AND EXPENDITURE:
    Women's incomes
    Expenditure in low-income households
    Value of unpaid work
    Income support among people of workforce-age

HOUSING:
    Housing experience through life-cycle stages
    Household amenities
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing in non-remote areas
    Housing finance

There are 14 national and State summary tables which present over 300 social indicators which show trends over time and comparisons between States and Territories over a range of different social issues. Also presented is a set of international tables, showing where Australia stands in relation to our nearest neighbours and trading partners.

Further details are in Australian Social Trends 2001 (cat. no.4102.0) available from ABS Bookshops in capital cities. To assist your coverage, ABS has arranged a number of expert commentators for many of these subject areas. ABS is also available for interviews etc about the data. Contact us if you wish to talk to these commentators.

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