4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/07/2000   
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July 04, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS releases latest social trends in Australia

The annual snapshot of Australian society, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today, presents a complex and revealing picture of the way we are and how we are set for on-going social change into the 21st century.

Australian Social Trends 2000 reports that:

Most people living in areas of low socio-economic status live in major urban centres, but such groups tend to be over-represented in smaller towns and geographically isolated locations.

The decline in trade union membership has accelerated: In 1999, 26 per cent of employees were trade-union members, compared to 40 per cent in 1992.

Employment arrangements continued to change: In 1998, 27 per cent of employees were in casual work, up from 19 per cent in 1988. New work arrangements, which are generally less secure, have been evolving.

Long-term unemployment has become less a youth issue and more a mature persons' issue: In 1999 the majority (58 per cent) of long-term unemployed were 35 and over (up from 46 per cent in 1989).

The earnings gap widened: the difference in earnings between low and high income earners in full-time jobs has been increasing with those at the very top moving ahead at a much faster rate.

Women's hourly earnings fell as a proportion of men's hourly earnings between 1994 and 1998.

Indigenous people are a disadvantaged group compared to the general population on a range of indicators, including health, education and employment. Also, we present results from a stocktake of housing in remote Indigenous communities focusing on the condition of dwellings and the availability of water, electricity and sewerage systems.

Tertiary students are an older and more qualified group — the boom in tertiary education has also seen other changes in the profile of students. There are more women, more studying part-time and more working part-time.

Marriages were more culturally diverse: In 1998, over half (52 per cent) of all marriages were between people from different birthplace groups (compared to 39 per cent in 1974).

More people under 55 were living without a partner: for example, in the age group 35-44 years 23 per cent were without a partner in 1996 compared to 17 per cent in 1986.

More young adults aged in their twenties are staying at home with mum and dad. Between 1986 and 1999 the proportion increased from 27 per cent to 31 per cent.

Smoking is less common: by the mid 1990s, 24 per cent of the population smoked, compared to 37 per cent in 1977.

Suicide death rates among men have been climbing over recent decades and the years of potential life lost from suicide, compared to those lost from other deaths, has been rising.

Fewer people lived in caravan parks: censuses show that in 1996 there were 32 per cent fewer caravan park residents than in 1991. Residents tended to be older, have lower incomes and were less likely to be in the labour force, than the general population.

Australian Social Trends publication is available in ABS bookshops ($42.00).

ATTENTION: Feature Editors, Program Producers



    20th century: beginning and end
    Regional populations: growth and decline
    Socio-economic disadvantage across urban, rural and remote areas
    Social conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    Children with parents with a disability
    Young adults living in the parental home
    People without partners
    Formal respite care
    Cultural diversity within marriages

    Accidental drowning
    Trends in smoking
    Cancer screening

    Disability and schooling
    Beyond compulsory schooling
    Mature age people in education and training
    Developments in contracted training: apprentices and trainees

    Employment arrangements in the late 1990s
    Long-term unemployment
    Retrenchment and redundancy
    Retirement and retirement intentions
    Trade union members

    Trends in earnings distribution
    Female/male earnings
    Interstate income inequality
    Income support for children

    Housing costs
    Housing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
    Caravan park residents
    Home fire safety
There are also 14 national and State summary tables which present over 300 social indicators to show trends over time and comparisons between States and Territories over a range of different social issues. Also presented is a set of International tables, showing where Australia stands in relation to our nearest neighbours and trading partners.

Further details are in Australian Social Trends 2000 (cat. no.4102.0) available from ABS bookshops in capital cities.To assist your coverage, ABS has arranged a number of expert commentators for many of these subject areas. ABS is also available for interviews etc about the data. Contact us if you wish to talk to these commentators.