4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, March 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2009   
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March 25, 2009Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEDT)
16/2009 (National)

More de facto relationships, women still do most housework, more energy use at home: ABS

Australians are more likely to live together before marriage, have 'his and her' household chores and use more energy in their homes, according to figures released today in Australian Social Trends, the now quarterly snapshot of society from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Couples in Australia
People are now more likely to be in a de facto relationship than in the past. Around three-quarters of people who married in the new millennium lived together beforehand. In contrast, just 3% of people who married in the 1960s (and are still married) lived together first.

Trends in household work
In 2006, women did two-thirds of all household work while men did two-thirds of paid work. The total workload was even, each sex spending 50 hours a week on paid and household work. While men are doing more household work than in the past, in 2006 women still did nearly twice as much as men.

Women do most indoor tasks and men do most outdoor tasks, although these roles have become less rigid in recent years. In 2006, men spent more time on indoor activities (e.g. cooking) than in 1992, and less time on outdoor activities like mowing the lawn.

Households and renewable energy
Energy use by households is increasing (up 49% in the last 20 years).

Around one-third of households who were aware of GreenPower were willing to pay extra for electricity generated from renewable sources, but not all of them were using it, with around 10% of households paying for GreenPower electricity.

The ageing population, retirement and superannuation
Australia's population is projected to grow to between 30.9 million and 42.5 million people in 2056. The ageing of the population is also set to continue. One in four Australians will be aged 65 years or over in 50 years, compared with one in eight in 2007.

In 2007, 43% of retirees had benefited from superannuation at some point. Over three-quarters of those receiving a lump sum between 2003 and 2007 got less than $60,000. Most of these retirees spent this money rather than investing it.

Mental health
In 2007, women were more likely than men to have a mental disorder (22% and 18% respectively). One in five Australians (aged 16-85 years) had a mental disorder in 2007.

More details, including an article on household debt, are in the March edition of Australian Social Trends, 2009, available free from the ABS website on https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4102.0

When reporting on ABS data, please attribute either the Australian Bureau of Statistics or ABS as the source.