4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Jun 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2010   
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30 June, 2010
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Migration drives growth in population: ABS

Australia's recent population growth has mainly been driven by migration, more people are underemployed than are unemployed, the proportion of children in formal child care has increased, and young adults are the least likely to recycle, according to the latest report on Australian Social Trends released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Population growth

There were 22.2 million people resident in Australia in December 2009, with 432,600 people added in the year to December 2009. Despite recent increases in the fertility rate, nearly two-thirds of the gain was from net overseas migration. In the year to June 2008, there was a doubling in the net gain of people on student visas (to 109,000). ABS projections show, depending on assumptions about migration and fertility, that Australia's population may be between 34 and 40 million in 2051.

Environmental concerns
More than eight out of ten Australian adults were concerned about at least one environmental problem, with seven out of ten concerned about climate change. While people aged 65 and over were less likely to be concerned about climate change, young adults (aged 18 - 24) were the least likely to have taken steps to reduce their electricity consumption or sort their garbage for recyclable waste.

The recent economic downturn resulting from the GFC saw a rise in the number of underemployed people from 5.9% to 7.8% of the labour force. Although this has declined since the peak of the GFC to 7.2% in May 2010, this still meant there were 837,000 people who wanted to work more hours and were available to do so, exceeding the number of people who were unemployed (610,000). Underemployment is highest amongst women and younger people.

Child care
The proportion of children who attend formal child care (such as long day care or after school care) has increased from 17% to 22% over the decade as more mothers join the workforce. Overall, grandparents were the most commonly used form of child care, but children spent less time on average in the care of grandparents than in formal child care.

Men's health
Life expectancy for Australian males has increased to over 79 years, yet remains more than four years less than for women as men have higher death rates for nearly all major causes. Men's general health risk profile was also poorer than that of women, with men more likely to be smokers, overweight and drink at dangerous levels.

Feelings of safety
One in four adults (or four million Australians) felt unsafe or avoided being in certain situations alone such as using public transport at night or walking after dark in their neighbourhood. Most said they avoided being alone in these situations because they thought it was unsafe. Feeling unsafe was highest among adults who had recently been a victim of crime, and also amongst women and adults living in more disadvantaged areas.

More details on these topics are available in the June edition of Australian Social Trends, 2010 (cat.no. 4102.0), available at www.abs.gov.au/socialtrends

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