4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Sep 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/2009   
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September 24, 2009
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Too much work makes Australia's parents pressed for time: ABS

Extra hours, multiple jobs and weekend work are all cutting into Australian family life, while one-quarter of our children are overweight or obese, according to the latest Australian Social Trends released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Work and family balance

There are over one and a half million two-parent families with children in Australia, with most of these families having both parents working. In the majority (80%) of these working families, at least one of the parents said they were often or always pressed for time.

The main reason parents gave for feeling time pressured was trying to achieve a balance between work and family. Over half (58%) of all working couple families had at least one parent who usually worked extra hours and a similar proportion regularly working in the evenings.

Most parents said they worked extra hours simply to get their work done. Many parents also worked weekday and weekend combinations, with over half of the working couple families reporting this pattern.

People with more than one job

In 2007, over 600,000 Australians had more than one job, with just over half working two part-time jobs. Around one-quarter of all second jobs were in retail or health care, and two-fifths of people were self-employed in their second job.

Multiple job holders were more likely to work long hours; 18% said they usually worked more than 55 hours per week (compared with 8% of single job holders) and 56% of them said they were often or always pressed for time.

Despite this, over half the multiple job holders were happy to be working in more than one job.

Children who are overweight or obese

The trend towards obesity in children has increased with the 2007–08 National Health Survey showing that one in four Australian children aged 5–17 were overweight or obese, up from one in five in 1995.

In particular, boys are moving towards the heavier end of the weight range with rates of obesity doubling over the past 13 years.

Expanding links with China and India

Also in this issue of Australian Social Trends, the ABS shows that Australia's links with China and India have grown through recent increases in migration, education, travel and trade.

More details on these topics are available in the September edition of Australian Social Trends, 2009 (cat.no. 4102.0), available for free download from the ABS web site.

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