4111.0 - Youth, Australia: A Social Report, 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/1997   
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December 16, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Report on Australian youth

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released today Youth Australia: A Social Report which highlights changes and trends in Australia's 15 to 24 year-old population group, including living arrangements and housing, health, education, working life, income, social participation, crime and safety.

In 1997, people aged 15-24 years made up 14 per cent (2,667,700) of the total population but this is projected to fall to about 12 per cent by mid next century as the population ages. Some features of Australia's youth highlighted in the report include:
  • In 1996, 88 per cent of 15-19 year-olds and 46 per cent of 20-24 year-olds were still living with their parents.
  • Among 20-24 year-olds, 20 per cent were in a partnership and 50 per cent of these were de facto relationships.
  • Over the last 10 years retention rates in schools to year 12 have risen from 49 per cent to 71 per cent and participation in tertiary education has risen to 29 per cent of the 20-24 age group.
  • In August 1997 the youth unemployment rate was 16 per cent compared with 8 per cent for all persons and unemployed young people accounted for 37 per cent of all unemployed persons.
  • Youth incomes were generally low as a result of their delayed entry to the full-time work force and over the last ten years full-time earnings of young people have declined relative to those of people aged over 25 years.
  • Young people spent more of their leisure time on social life and entertainment, 2.3 hours per day compared with 1.5 hours per day for persons 25 and over. Young people play more sport and attend more sporting events than older people, with males more involved than females.
  • Deaths of young males outnumber those of young females by a factor of 3:1 and the leading cause of death in 1996 was motor vehicle accidents followed by suicide.
  • Young people are over-represented in the criminal justice system and they made up 29 per cent of the prison population in 1995, although this is down from 39 per cent in 1985.
  • Young women are more at risk of violence than older women and in 1996, 16 per cent of women aged 18-24 years had experienced incidents of violence in the previous 12 months compared with 5 per cent of women 25 years and over.

Further details are in Youth Australia: A Social Report (cat. no. 4111.0) available in ABS bookshops in all capital cities.