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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/07/2008   
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MEDIA RELEASE


July 23, 2008
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
74/2008

Broadband, complementary health therapies and mortgages all on the up: ABS

Australians are now more likely to have broadband or consult a complementary health therapist, and are taking on bigger mortgages as house values rise, according to figures released today in Australian Social Trends, the annual snapshot of society from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Internet connections in Australia
In the eight years to 2006-07, internet connections jumped fourfold - from 16% to 64% - in Australian homes.

Very remote areas had lower levels of internet connection, with under half (42%) connected compared with two-thirds (66%) of homes in the major cities.

Broadband connections became more common than dial-up for the first time in 2006-07, and twice as many households now have broadband as have a dial-up connection. In the two years to 2006-07, there was an increase in people aged 65-74 years using the internet at home, from 20% to 28%; this was still well below the 77% of 15-24 year olds.

Australia's health
The number of people visiting a complementary health professional (most commonly a chiropractor, naturopath or acupuncturist) increased by 51% in the ten years to 2005. Almost 750,000 people had visited this type of practitioner in a two week period.

The number of people working as complementary health professionals nearly doubled from 4,800 to 8,600 in the ten years to 2006.

About one in five (19%) young men and one in six (16%) young women (aged 18-24 years) regularly drank risky amounts of alcohol in 2007.

While few young people drank enough to be admitted to hospital (about 1 in 1,000), hospitalisation rates were up by 62% for young men and doubled for young women in the seven years to 2005-06.

Housing in Australia
The average amount owing on mortgages for first home buyers doubled - to $213,000 per household - in the ten years to 2005-06, consistent with the rise in the average value of these homes, to $310,000.

First home buyers were also less likely to buy a newly built home (14%, down from 23%) and more likely to buy townhouses or apartments (27%, up from 15%).

In the ten years to 2005-06 the proportion of households renting rose slightly from 27% to 29%. The largest increase was for people aged 35-44 years (from 27% to 32%).

Volunteers

In 2006, there were 3.1 million regular volunteers in Australia, with women more likely to volunteer than men (22% compared with 19%). The highest rates were among parents with children under 15, while the most time was given by people aged 55 and over.

Education, work and income in Australia

In 2006, just over half of Australians had adequate or better prose and document literacy skills, about the same as in 1996.

More of us have qualifications such as a degree, diploma or certificate (up from 46% in 1990 to almost 60% in 2006). The proportion of Indigenous Australians with qualifications almost doubled in the ten years to 2006, from 15% to 29%.

Over the ten years to 2006, labour force participation rates among people aged 55-64 years increased for women (from 31% to 48%) and men (from 61% to 68%). Labour force participation also increased among mothers with children aged 0-14 years in couple families (from 61% to 66%) and one-parent families (from 50% to 59%).

Women's share of the total income increased from 31% to 38% between 1982 and 2005-06, with virtually all of the increase occurring prior to 1995-96.

Public transport

In 2006 about one in five adults (19%) in capital cities (excluding Darwin) used public transport to get to work or education, up from 16% in 1996. Three-quarters used cars as their main form of transport, with another 5% either walking or cycling. Sydney had the highest level of public transport use at just over one-quarter (26%) while Canberra had the lowest (8%).


More details are in Australian Social Trends, 2008 (cat. no. 4102.0) , available for free download from the ABS website < www.abs.gov.au >.

Media note: While most of the articles in Australian Social Trends, 2008 present a national picture, some include state/territory information. State and territory information for a range of social indicators is provided in tables, graphs and commentary at the start of each chapter and a 10 year time series of the indicators is available on the ABS website.





Australian Social Trends 2008 - selected state/territory information

NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT(a)
ACT
Aust.
Regular volunteers - women, 2006 (%)
21.4
21.4
25.2
21.2
23.0
22.5
25.6
24.1
22.4
Regular volunteers - men, 2006 (%)
19.4
17.9
18.0
18.6
18.8
19.3
18.6
19.7
18.6
People with adequate or better prose literacy skills, 2006 (%)
53.9
51.3
53.6
54.8
56.4
51.0
53.2
68.0
53.6
People aged 25-64 years with a non-school educational qualification - of all people aged 25-64 years(b), 2007(%)
61.4
59.3
57.6
55.3
59.7
54.1
55.5
71.0
59.4
Men aged 55-64, labour force participation rate, 2006 (%)
66.7
69.5
67.2
65.8
72.6
61.0
71.0
71.2
67.9
Women aged 55-64, labour force participation rate, 2006 (%)
47.1
48.2
47.7
47.6
51.1
43.7
58.7
57.9
48.1
Women's share of total gross personal weekly income, 2005-06 (%)
38.5
38.1
37.5
38.4
35.0
43.4
35.7
41.1
38.0
Risky drinkers(c) - of people aged 18-24 years(d), 2004-05 (%)
11.3
15.6
18.7
15.4
19.3
19.8
n.p.
16.6
15.3
First home buyers - average mortgage(e), 2005-06 ($'000)
248.8
199.5
215.7
165.6
176.9
147.1
196.2
248.8
212.7
Renter households, 2005-06 (%)
29.4
25.9
31.2
28.8
26.9
24.7
40.4
29.3
28.5
Households connected to the Internet, 2006-07 (%)
64
63
65
57
66
56
67
73
64
Households with Broadband connection - of all households with Internet access, 2006-07 (%)
69
72
68
58
70
58
64
79
69

(a) Estimates for NT generally refer to urban areas only.
(b) Recognised qualifications such as certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and post-graduate degrees.
(c) Drinking regularly at levels considered risky/high risk over the short term - 'risky drinking' is seven or more standard drinks in one day for males and five or more for females, and 'high risk drinking' is eleven or more standard drinks in one day for males and seven or more for females.
(d) Data source is different from that used in the Australian Social Trends 2008 article 'Risk taking by young people'.
(e) Data include owner-occupied housing only.

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