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Topics @ a Glance - Children and Youth Statistics
Using Children and Youth Statistics



The term 'child' is commonly used to denote a relationship, or a person in the earlier stages of their life. Youth is the transitional phase between childhood and adulthood.

Children and Youth are commonly described in terms of their age. Age is used as an indicator of their developmental stage and level of dependence. Age ranges used to describe children and youth can vary and there is no universally accepted standard. The reason for the use of different age ranges is that age chosen depends on the issue under analysis. When analysing crime and justice statistics, for example, the choice of age ranges used may be influenced by legal definitions. However, when analysing education data the age ranges used may be more influenced by levels of education such as primary or secondary school.

The United Nations General Assembly defines ‘youth’, as those persons falling between the ages of 15 and 24 years inclusive. This definition was made for International Youth Year, held around the world in 1985. All United Nations statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.

The ABS commonly uses the age group 0-14 years for children and 15-24 years for youth although this does not necessarily apply to all output.


The ABS publishes and produces a range of statistics relevant to Children and Youth statistics which can be obtained in a number of ways. For information on how to access ABS statistics in general, follow these links:

How to Navigate to Statistics
How to Use the Statistics Product Pages
About Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) Microdata


A number of statistical sources exist through which individuals, the community and governments come to understand children and youth. To make an informed decision, the statistics need to be well understood. All ABS statistical publications contain a range of information that can provide users with knowledge about the origin and limitations of statistics. This information is often listed in footnotes to data, Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and Appendices.


The Directory of Statistical Sources is a useful tool to identify and access reference information about ABS statistical collections. The Directory provides access to data through links to current outputs from these collections. A Statistical Source describes how an organisation like the ABS collects statistical information and the detail of the statistics collected. Information for a Statistical Source includes reference material about the collection, such as purpose, scope and coverage, and summary information about the various data items. There are three ways to access this information - by topic, by geographic level and by source organisation. This is a useful way to search collections relevant to specific areas of interest.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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