Three in four parents kept children home due to COVID-19


New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows three in four parents (76 per cent) kept their children home from school or childcare due to COVID-19.

The fourth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey found that many of these parents made changes to their work arrangements to care for their children, including working from home (38 per cent*), reducing or changing working hours (22 per cent), and taking leave from work (13 per cent).

ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt, said women were almost three times as likely to have stayed at home to look after their children on their own than men (46 per cent* compared with 17 per cent*).

“Parents also reported difficulties experienced by their children while learning from home. These included difficulties concentrating (58 per cent*), feeling lonely (49 per cent*) and feelings of anxiety (33 per cent*).

“One in seven parents (15 per cent) said a lack of access to a stable internet connection was impeding their children’s ability to undertake their schooling from home,” added Ms. Marquardt.

The survey also found that one in eight Australian adults (13 per cent) provided unpaid care to a vulnerable person outside their household because of COVID-19. Around three in five people provided this care on at least a weekly basis (61 per cent).

“Family members were the most common recipients of this unpaid care (80 per cent) and shopping was the most common activity for which assistance was provided (80 per cent),” said Ms Marquardt.

“A further 23 per cent* of Australian adults said they needed to increase the level of unpaid care for a vulnerable person within their household because of COVID-19.”

The ABS would like to thank those Australian households that contributed to these survey results. The ABS plans to release additional information about the impacts of COVID-19 on these households over the next few months.

Media notes

  • The fourth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted throughout Australia between the 12th and 15th of May 2020.
  • A vulnerable person includes those aged 65 years or over, and those aged under 65 years with a disability or long-term health condition.
  • Proportions marked with an asterisk (*) have a margin of error >10 percentage points which should be considered when using this information.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team
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