4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/06/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


June 15, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australian Social Snapshot Against a Backdrop of Change

The evolution of Australian lifestyles over the decades was examined in today's release of Australian Social Trends 2004 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

... Australia's children

The effect of the 1950s baby boom on births and fertility was barely discernible in 2002, due to four decades of declining fertility. There has been no discernible peak in births of grandchildren to baby boomers, unlike the distinct peak which occurred in 1971 with births of children to baby boomers.

In 2002, the total fertility rate for Australia (1.75) was around half of what it was at the height of the post-war baby boom, and under one in five (18%) of all births were to women aged 35 years or over.

Close to half of women with children under five are now in the labour force, and in 2002, 45% of children aged under five years spent some time in formal child care - including long day care, family day care, occasional care or preschool.

In 2001, over 350,000 families with children aged under 15 years had no employed parent living with them. Almost two-thirds of these families were one-parent families.

... Australia's youth

Over the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Year 7/8 to Year 12 apparent school retention rates increased, as did participation in non-school education, mostly at university or TAFE. At the same time, there have been changes in the working arrangements of young people.

The proportion of employed young people (15-24 years) working part-time has more than doubled over the twenty years to 2003 (from 18% to 47%). Of part-time workers aged 15-19 years, 79% were studying full-time. Over half (55%) of part-time workers aged 20-24 years were studying full-time.

About one in five (21%) people aged 25-29 years held a higher education qualification in 2001. This contributed to the substantial increase over the last thirty years in the proportion of Australians with a higher education qualification (16% of 20-64 year olds in 2001, up from 3% in 1971).

In 2002, almost four out of five HECS-liable university students in Australia deferred their payment. The remainder paid up-front, receiving a discount.

The proportion of young people who stated that they were concerned about environmental problems declined over the 1990s. In 2001, after retirement-aged people, 18-24 year olds were the age group least likely to state that they have such concerns.

... families and older Australians

In 2003, about one-third of the labour force was aged 45-64 years; up from one-quarter twenty years earlier. This reflected the ageing of the population, as well as the increased proportion of women in the labour force, many of whom work part-time.

In addition to the support provided by family members they live with, four out of five people (80%) with disabilities, in 2002, nominated family members living elsewhere as a source of support in time of crisis.

Coinciding with the trend for greater home-based care, the number of people employed in non-residential care services (e.g. emergency housekeeping) increased by about 18,000 to 80,600 over the five years to 2001. This industry also relied on a large number of volunteers - 211,700 in June 2000.

Around three-quarters (74%) of adults aged 18 years and over reported an affiliation with a religion in 2001, following a fairly steady decline over the previous three decades. In 2002, almost one-quarter (23%) reported participating in church or religious activities over a three month period.

By 2051, Australia's population is projected to reach 26 million, assuming medium level fertility and migration. People aged 65 years and over are projected to make up more than one-quarter of the population (27%) in 2051, compared with 13% in 2002.

... our homes and where we live

Contrary to stereotypes of city people retiring to the coast, almost four out of five new residents of fast growing coastal areas were aged under 50 years, and two-thirds had moved from country areas or large population centres rather than from capital cities.

The overall rate of home ownership in Australia has been steady since the 1960s, with about 70% of occupied private dwellings being owned outright or being purchased. However, the age profile of home owners and purchasers has shifted over the last twenty years, with a decline in home ownership among younger adults.
    Seven in ten Australian households reported they owned or were purchasing their home out of Australia's 7.5 million households in 2002. Of all households, 16% had less than $100,000 equity in their home, and at the other end of the range, 10% had $400,000 or more equity in their home.

    There were an estimated 99,900 homeless people on census night 2001. Over 2002-03, about 97,600 people were assisted by the refuges, shelters and other agencies in the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.

    More analysis, including national and state summary data appear in Australian Social Trends, 2004 (cat. no. 4102.0) available in the "Australia Now" section on the home page of the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au>.

    See Also:
    New South Wales Snapshot
    Victorian Snapshot
    Queensland Snapshot
    South Australian Snapshot
    Western Australian Snapshot
    Tasmanian Snapshop
    Northern Territory Snapshot
    Australian capital Territoy Snapshot
    Australian Social Trends - Story Listing to Assist Specialised Reporting

    Population Chapter
    Family and Community Chapter

    Health Chapter

      Living with asthma - examines the prevalence of asthma and how people manage their asthma.

      Cancer trends - presents trends in the incidence of cancer, survival rates, and mortality, focusing on the National Health Priority Areas framework.

      How women care for their health - focuses on women having pap smears, mammograms and the prevalence of smoking and other risk behaviours among women.

    Education and Training Chapter
    Work Chapter Economic resources Chapter
    Housing Chapter

      Homelessness - the number of homeless people, their use of supported accommodation services, and their situations before and after accessing these services.

      Home ownership - trends in home ownership, house prices and the relationship between the size of first home loans and average earnings.

      High rise living - compares socio-demographic characteristics of high rise residents to residents in separate houses, and looks at how the high rise residential population changed over the last two decades.

    Other areas of social concern

      Overseas travel and recent world events - looks at the characteristics of people travelling to and from Australia, as well as travel patterns in the months following recent world events.

      Environmental concerns and related activities - looks at people's changing level of environmental concern and household participation in the environmentally-friendly activities over ten years to 2001.

      Religious affiliation and activity - presents trends as reported in censuses since 1933, plus the relationship between religious affiliation, religious activity and unpaid voluntary work.

      Women in prison - presents trends in women's imprisonment and the characteristics of women prisoners.