4442.0 - Family Characteristics, Australia, 2009-10  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2011   
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27 May 2011
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

More mothers employed

The percentage of families where mothers are employed has generally increased for both couple and lone mother families, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2009-10, in couple families with dependent children, 66% of the mothers were employed compared to 59% in 1997. In lone mother families with dependent children, 60% of the mothers were employed in 2009-10, compared to 46% in 1997. The increased employment rates were more marked in families with older children. In couple families where the youngest child was a dependent student aged 15- 24 years, 81% of the mothers were employed in 2009-10 compared to 71% in 1997. Of lone mothers whose youngest child was a dependent student aged 15-24 years, 83% were employed in 2009-10, compared to 69% in 1997.

In families where the youngest dependent child was aged 0-4, mothers in couple families were more likely to be employed (51%) than were lone mothers with young children (28%). Employed lone mothers with dependent children were more likely to work full-time (54%) than employed mothers of dependent children in couple families (42%).

The report also looked at how much contact children were having with their grandparents and, in cases where one of the natural parents did not live with the child, how much contact the children had with that parent living elsewhere.

Most children (75% to 80%, depending on family type) saw their grandparents at least once a year. A higher proportion of children in lone mother families saw their maternal grandparents at least once a week (61%) compared to children in couple families (48%).

In general the patterns of contact between children and their natural parent living elsewhere have remained fairly stable over time. However, the proportion of children who see that parent either less than once a year or never has fallen from 30% in 1997 to 24% in 2009-10.

The majority of Australians in private dwellings lived in family households (88%) in 2009-10. The rest of the population either lived alone (9%) or in group households (3%).
2009-10 saw a levelling of the previous trend towards an increasing proportion of families being couple families without children. The proportion of families who were couples without dependent children remained at 48%, in line with 2006-07 and compared to 44% in 1997.

The proportion of families that were couple families with dependent children also remained fairly stable between 2009-10 (36%) and 2006-07 (37%) down from 1997 (40%).

Results can be found in Family Characteristics, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4442.0)

Media note: when reporting ABS statistics, you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.