4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Dec 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2009   
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December 9, 2009
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEDT)
Australians smoke less but weigh more: ABS
Australians may be smoking less, but more people are obese according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly snapshot of society.

The ABS also found that more of us are living alone, and there has been a fall in the number of jobless families.

Smoking, risky drinking and obesity

The last two decades have seen fewer Australians taking up smoking and more quitting. The largest fall in smoking rates occurred in the 18–24 age group, with 23% now smoking compared with 36% in 1990.

However, obesity has increased with more than two thirds of Australian men and over half of all women now considered overweight or obese; a 29% increase since 1995.

Levels of risky alcohol consumption remained unchanged over the last few years, with one in seven men and one in nine women drinking alcohol at risky levels.

Living alone

More Australians are living alone, with around two million people (or 12% of the population) now living on their own, up from 9% in the 1980s. When asked, the majority (71%) of people who lived alone did not have any preference to socialise more. For people aged 65 and over, more than one in ten did not spend any time at all with another person on a typical day.

Jobless families

There are over half a million children who lived in a family where no-one has a job. However, there are fewer jobless families now than there were ten years ago; the majority are still one-parent families, most often headed by a mother with her youngest child is under the age of ten.

More details of these and articles on Patterns in work, Preschool attendance and International comparisons are in the December quarter edition of Australian Social Trends, 2009 (cat. no. 4102.0) , available for free download from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.

Media Note: When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source