1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Dec 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2009   
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Men At Work
Spotlight on the Pilbara

The Pilbara is probably the most talked about region in the nation. But is it more than simply a gigantic hole in the ground? So what exactly makes the Pilbara so interesting?

More Males
It should come as no surprise that males in the Pilbara largely outnumber females. Data from the 2006 Census shows the sex ratio for the Pilbara as 145 males per 100 females.

Nearly two-thirds of males were between the prime working ages of 20 to 59. Not only have these guys been drawn to the big bucks up north, they have also been lured by the big trucks, yellow hard hats and steel capped boots. In 2006, 44% of employed people were working in the mining or construction industries and, of those, 86% were male. Perhaps all this rough and tough macho-man work accounts for demographer Bernard Salt’s term “sheila shortage”, in the Pilbara.

High Incomes, Long Hours
What is all this hard yakka worth when they pick up their pay cheque? Of all regions in Western Australia, the Pilbara had the highest percentage of households with a gross weekly income over $2,500 in 2006. High incomes were accompanied by long hours though, with 43% of all employed people in the Pilbara working 49 or more hours per week.

So what we essentially have in the Pilbara is a ute-load of blokes who have high incomes and limited spare time.

Pilbara (Photo courtesy of Tourism WA)
Pilbara (Photo courtesy of Tourism WA)

What do these rugged types do in their spare time? It is well known that drinking and mateship is considered a big part of the Aussie culture, and the Pilbara men are obviously doing their best to reinforce this way of life.

According to the Department of Health, alcohol consumption in the Pilbara region has generally increased from 17 litres per person (over 15 years of age) in 2000-01 to 22 litres per person in 2004-05.

And let’s face it, we all know what a bunch of rowdy blokes are like when they get together for a few drinks. From 2001-02 to 2007-08, the number of reported crimes in the Pilbara increased by 13%. Property damage accounted for the largest increase of all reported crimes (up by 464, 45%) during this period, while domestic non-aggravated assault showed the largest increase for reported crimes against the person (up by 137, 88%). This may or may not be an indicator of the number of males requiring some female guidance up north.

These high earning, lonely males can also be seen to be moving with the times. In 2006, the Pilbara had a higher proportion of dwellings connected to the Internet than the state as a whole (71% compared with 63%). This was also the case in the use of a broadband connection (76% compared with 64%). One can only suspect that internet dating sites are benefiting from this high level of web traffic.

The number of boats per capita is indicative of another popular pastime in the Pilbara, increasing significantly from an average of 30 boats per 1,000 people in 1991 to 85 boats in 2008. This may be due to a greater number of boating enthusiasts taking advantage of the excellent fishing or perhaps romantic boat cruises?

So if you’re female, single and on the hunt, you might head to the Pilbara where there are a truckload of high earning blokes who require some serious taming.

For more information see Spotlight on the Pilbara <http://www.regionalspotlights.com.au>.

Dr.Misty Lawrie (left) and Ms. Andrea Attwell
Article by:
Dr.Misty Lawrie (left) and
Ms. Andrea Attwell,
self proclaimed experts on men.