AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL TRENDS
Across editions, Australian Social Trends addresses a wide range of current and enduring social issues, enabling a better understanding of key social issues in our community while also providing important information for policy development and review.
The articles in the March 2011 edition are:
Life expectancy trends - Australia
Examines the substantial increase in life expectancy in Australia over the past 125 years, some of the reasons for the increase, and some of the challenges posed by living longer.
Life expectancy, a good indicator of population health at the national level, shows that the health of Australians overall continues to improve. Life expectancy at birth has increased by over 30 years for Australian boys and girls over the last 125 years.
For 2007-2009, girls born in the Australian Capital Territory, along with New South Wales, had the highest life expectancy of all the states and territories (both 84.3 years), above the national life expectancy for girls of 83.9 years. The differences for boys was a lot bigger. For the same period, boys born in the ACT had the highest national life expectancy at birth (80.5 years), compared with the national life expectancy (79.3 years).
Health services: Use and patient experience
Considers people's reported use of selected services including GPs, pathology testing, imaging and medication use, and whether they were able to access appropriate services when they were required.
In 2009, people living in outer regional/remote areas of Australia were more likely than those living in major cities to have reported that they had waited longer than they felt was acceptable for a GP appointment (23% compared with 16%) and more likely to have gone to an emergency department because the waiting time for a GP appointment was too long (12% compared with 2%).
Health outside major cities
Compares the health of people living outside Major Cities with that of those living in Major Cities, looking at self-assessed health, chronic diseases, health risk factors and mortality rates.
Health outcomes differ between those living outside major cities and those living within them. In 2008, people who lived outside major cities were three times as likely to die from transport accidents, almost twice as likely to die from high blood pressure, 1.7 times as likely to die from heart failure and 1.6 times as likely to die from diabetes.
Contributing to poorer levels of health, people living outside major cities were more likely to be daily smokers (1.3 times as likely as their major city counterparts) or risky drinkers (1.3 times as likely). On the other side of the coin, they were also more likely than people in major cities to eat their fruit and veggies (1.5 times as likely to have met the national guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption).
Year 12 attainment
Looks at recent trends in Year 12 attainment for young adults (aged 20-24 years) and the influence of Year 12 on further education, income and employment outcomes across the life course.
Australia's level of educational attainment is improving. Over the past decade, the proportion of young adults (aged 20-24 years) who had attained Year 12 increased from 71% (in 2001) to 78% (in 2010). In 2010, 86% of 20-24 year olds living in the ACT had attained Year 12.
There are some Australians whose level of attainment may not be as high. In 2010, Year 12 attainment rates were lower for young adults living in regional (67%) and remote (64%) areas, for young adults for whom neither parent had attained Year 12 (68%) and for young adults with a disability or restrictive long-term health condition (62%).
Education and Indigenous wellbeing
Examines how educational attainment is associated with health, employment and housing, and explores differences between outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across different levels of attainment.
The educational attainment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (aged 18 years and over) has improved. In 2008, 71% had at least a Year 10 or basic vocational qualification, up from 48% in 1994; and the proportion of those with at least Year 12 or a skilled vocational qualification had more than doubled, from 16% to 37% over the same period.