More parents work full-time


The proportion of families with children younger than five where both parents were working full time increased 7 percentage points over the last decade, according to latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Acting Program Manager of Labour Statistics at the ABS Katherine Keenan said “the proportion of families with children younger than five where both parents worked full-time rose, from 14 to 21 per cent over the last decade.”

“In couple families with children younger than five, mothers who worked full-time increased to 24 per cent in 2019, up from 17 per cent in 2009,” Ms Keenan said.

“Over the last decade there was a decline in the proportion of jobless families with children under 15, from 13 per cent down to 11 per cent in 2019.”

The information also showed:

  • The proportion of families with children under 15 where just one parent was working fell from 33 per cent in 2009 to 28 per cent in 2019. In 14 per cent of these families, fathers were the parent without a job, up from 12 per cent in 2009.
  • The most common family type in 2019 were opposite-sex couple families, at 82 per cent, down from 84 per cent in 2009.
  • One parent families increased from 14 to 15 per cent between 2009 and 2019.
  • There has been little change in the proportion of families without any couples or children, such as siblings living together.
  • Same-sex couples was 1 per cent of all families in 2019, up from 0.4 per cent ten years ago.


Further details can be found in Labour Force and Other Characteristics of Families, Australia (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001) available for free download from

Media note

  • For statistical purposes, the ABS defines a family as two or more related people who live in the same household. Family members who usually live in different households are not included.
  • The primary relationships that define family units are couple relationships and parent-child relationships. Multi-generational households or households with many family members may be split into smaller family units.
  • Jobless families occur when none of the family members aged 15 years and over in the same family unit are employed. Some jobless families are supported by other family units in a multi-family household.
  • The proportion of jobless families is a different concept to the unemployment rate. Jobless persons include those who are Unemployed as well as those who are Not in the labour force (such as retirees).
  • Not all fathers without jobs are “stay-at-home dads”, some may have been unemployed or not in the labour force during June 2019
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 or (8.30am - 5pm Monday - Friday AEST).

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