4123.6 - Tasmania's Young People, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/10/1998   
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This publication provides a comprehensive range of statistics on young people aged 12-25 years in Tasmania, using data from the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. The report is one of a series produced for each Australian State and Territory, jointly published by the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). NYARS was established in 1985 as a cooperative funding arrangement between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to facilitate nationally based research into current social, political and economic factors affecting young people. NYARS is administered under the auspices of Youth Ministers through a working group of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. Research undertaken assists in the formulation, implementation and assessment of policy by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers for Youth.

A similar series, using 1991 Census data, was jointly published by the ABS and NYARS during 1992 and 1993.

The publication features summary tables of selected characteristics of young people at national and local government area levels. More detailed information is presented in five subject-based chapters: population, cultural diversity, living arrangements, education and working life.

Within these broad subject headings, the publication also considers young people in the context of age, sex, and cultural diversity. Comparative data from the 1986 and 1991 Censuses are also included in some tables to provide a time dimension.




On census night 1996, 3,636,900 12-25 year-olds were counted in Australia, representing over one-fifth (21%) of Australians of all ages. In New South Wales, the most populous State, they numbered 1,201,800, representing one-third of Australia's young people. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of young people (24%).

Young males outnumbered young females in all States and Territories. Nationally, there were 48,800 more 12-25 year-old males than females.

Cultural diversity

Almost 3% (99,500) of Australia's young people were of Indigenous origin. In the Northern Territory, people who reported that they were of Indigenous origin comprised almost one-third (32%) of all 12-25 year-olds, but in Victoria, they made up fewer than 1% of young people.

Just over 14% of young people in Australia had been born overseas. For 5%, their country of birth had been one of the main English-speaking countries (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America). The other 9% had been born in other countries.

A high proportion of young people (15%) spoke languages other than English. More than 28% of the Northern Territory's 12-25 year-olds, and 20% of young people in Victoria, reported speaking a language other than English at home.

Living arrangements

Over 42% of young people in Australia were living with their parents as dependent children-either children aged 15 years or under, or dependent students aged 15-24 years. Another 20% lived with their parents as non-dependent children.

Almost one-quarter (24%) of young people had formed families or partnerships, or were living independently, alone or in group households.


Over 87% of Australian 12-17 year-olds, and almost 30% of 18-25 year-olds, were attending schools or other educational institutions. The highest levels of educational participation were reported in the Australian Capital Territory (92% of 12-17 year-olds, and 43% of 18-25 year-olds), and the lowest, in the Northern Territory - 75% and 14% respectively.

New South Wales had the highest proportion (32%) of any State or Territory of young people (18-25 years) with post-school qualifications. Nationally, the proportion was 29%.

Working life

Almost one-half (48%) of Australian 15-19 year-olds, and 78% of 20-25 year-olds, were in the labour force, that is, they were employed, or looking for work.

Among young people aged 15-19 years, the highest proportion (23%) were working part-time, compared with 14% in full-time work. For 20-25 year-olds, these positions were reversed - 47% were working full-time, and 19% part-time.


Unemployment rates among young people were at 19% for 15-19 year-olds, and 13% for 20-25 year-olds.

Young people's labour force participation is often influenced by their continuing participation in education, and an alternative measure of unemployment levels is the percentage of unemployed in the whole age group. In 1996, this proportion was 9% for 15-19 year-olds, and 10% for 20-25 year-olds.


The median weekly income for 15-25 year-olds in 1996 was $181.



On census night (6 August 1996) 92,465 young people aged 12-25 years were counted, constituting 20% of all people in Tasmania. 1986 to 1996

Between 1986 and 1996, Tasmania's census count increased by nearly 23,000 (5%) to 458,594. The number of young people fell by 10,742 or 10% over the same period.

As a result, young Tasmanians represent a declining proportion of the total, falling from 24% in 1986 to 21% in 1991, and then to 20% in 1996. This trend can be expected to continue, since the proportion aged 0-11 years has also declined, from 19% in 1986 to 18% in 1996.

Sex and age

There were slightly more males than females in the 12-25 years age group (46,673 compared with 45,792). Males slightly outnumbered females at all ages up to 22 years, after which the number of females began to exceed the number of males. Among all people counted in Tasmania, females outnumbered males by 6,918.


In 1996, the highest numbers of young people were in the largely urban Statistical Subdivisions of Greater Hobart (39,941), Greater Launceston (20,552) and Burnie-Devonport (14,734). The areas with the highest concentrations of young people were also the Greater Hobart and Greater Launceston Statistical Subdivisions, where they represented 21% of all persons.


Young people reported being more mobile than older people. Almost 48% of 12-25 year-olds reported living at a different address than five years previously, compared with only 35% of older people. A similar pattern was evident for residential movement within the previous twelve months, with 26% of young people and only 13% of older people being at a different address.

Most of this movement had taken place within Tasmania. Among people who had moved within the previous five years, 88% of 12-25 year-olds, and 84% of older people, had moved within the State.

Young females were more likely to have moved than young males. Just over half of young women reported living at a different address five years ago, compared with 45% of young men. For the older population, 36% of males and 35% of females were living at a different address from five years ago.



Indigenous people

In the 1996 Census, 4,102 or 4% of young Tasmanians reported that they were of Indigenous origin. This proportion is higher than any State or Territory other than the Northern Territory (32%), and higher than the national average among young people (2.7%). The 15-17 years age group had the highest proportion of Indigenous people (5%) while the proportion of Indigenous people in the older population (aged 26 years and over) was only 2%.


Tasmania had the lowest proportion of young people born overseas of any State or Territory. Just under 5% (4,484) of 12-25 year-olds were born overseas, compared with 19% in Western Australia. In comparison, 14% (40,847) of older people (aged 26 years and over) were born overseas. Fewer than 3% of young Tasmanians had been born in non-main English-speaking countries, the lowest proportion among any of the States and Territories.

Countries of birth

Nearly half (48% or 2,161) of overseas-born people aged 12-25 years originated from the main English-speaking countries (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America ). Among older people (aged 26 years and over) 63% (25,901) were born in the main English-speaking countries.

For those young Tasmanians who arrived in Australia prior to 1986, the highest proportion of young people were born in the United Kingdom. Among young people who arrived between 1986 and 1990, the highest proportion were born in New Zealand (20%), closely followed by the United Kingdom (19%). Of those who arrived more recently (1991-96), 18% had migrated from Malaysia, 11% from New Zealand and 7% from both the United Kingdom and Singapore. The number of young Tasmanians who had arrived from a non-main English-speaking country increased from 722 prior to 1986 to 1,028 between 1991 and 1996.

Birthplace of parents

Of 12-25 year-olds born in Australia, 68,853 or 81% had both an Australian-born mother and father. Another 6,158 (7%) of young Tasmanians born in Australia had at least one parent born in a country other than the main English-speaking countries. Only 2% (1,558) of young Tasmanians born in Australia had both parents born in a non-main English-speaking country.

Languages spoken at home

Just over 3% of young Tasmanians spoke a language other than English at home. Of these young people, almost 18% spoke a Chinese language. Another 11% spoke Greek. Among people aged 26 years and over, the most common language spoken at home other than English was German (15%).

Proficiency in English

The majority (95%) of young Tasmanians reported speaking English only. Of those young people who spoke another language, 89% reported that they spoke English very well or well.



Marital status

Almost 18% of 15-25 year-olds in Tasmania were married - 8% in a registered marriage, and 9% in a de facto marriage. Young females were more likely than young males to be in a partnership (22% compared with 13%).

Living arrangements

Over 41% of 12-25 year-olds were living with their parents as dependent children. Another 23% of young males, and 14% of young females, were living as non-dependent children with their parents. Young women were more likely than young men to have moved from the family home, forming partnerships and their own families (21% compared with 10% of young males).

Among Indigenous young people, higher proportions (24% of females and 12% of males) had formed partnerships, or their own families.

For young people born in non-main English-speaking countries, about 46% were living as dependent children with their parents. A high proportion (18%) were living in group households, perhaps reflecting the high numbers of overseas students in this population.

Type of dwelling

About 3% of 12-25 year-olds in Tasmania had spent census night in a non-private dwelling. Large numbers of these young people were in boarding schools or residential colleges (1,541), or staying at hotels and motels (575). Another 345 young people reported having no usual address.

Type of tenure

About 61 % of young people occupied dwellings which were owned or being purchased, compared with almost three-quarters (74%) of people aged 26 years and over. Almost one-third (32%) of young people were living in rented dwellings, compared with fewer than 18% of older people (aged 26 years and over). In comparison, 47% of Indigenous young people, and 50% of those born overseas in non-main English-speaking countries, were in rented dwellings.



Attendance at educational institutions

More than half (52% or 48,470) of all 12-25 year-olds were attending an educational institution in 1996. This compares with 48% in 1991. There was a similar overall participation rate for both males (52%) and females (53%).

The proportions of young people who were attending schools (37%) and technical or further educational institutions (7%) were slightly higher than in 1991 (34% and 6% respectively).

Education participation rates were highest for the younger age groups. Schooling is compulsory to the age of 16 years in Tasmania, so almost all (95%) of those in the 12-14 years age group were still at school, with the majority (14,702) attending government schools. Among 15-17 year-olds, educational participation was lower, with 61% at school and 13% attending a technical or further education institution.

Education participation continued to decline with age, with 40% of 18-19 year-olds and just over one-fifth (20%) of 20-25 year-olds remaining in education.

Non-main English-speaking birthplace

Participation in education was very high among young people born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country. More than three-quarters (77%) of them were attending an educational institution. Much of this participation was among older youth (67% of 20-25 year-olds), many of whom were overseas students.

Indigenous people

Among Indigenous youth aged 12-25 years, 2,067 (50%) were attending an educational institution in 1996. However, most of the participation was in the younger age groups, with 94% of 12-14 year-olds and 66% of 15-17 year-olds in education. Just 12% of 20-25 year-olds remained in education.

Education and labour force status

Many young people attending educational institutions were also employed. Among 15-25 year-olds who were still at school or attending a tertiary or other institution full-time in 1996, 26% were working part-time or seeking part-time employment (21% of males and 31% of females). In 1991, 21% of 15-25 year-olds were working part-time or seeking part-time work.

Part-time tertiary students aged 15-25 years were more likely to be employed full-time, although this has declined since 1991, reflecting the trend toward part-time work. In 1996, 68% of these were employed full-time or looking for full-time work, compared with 75% in 1991.


In the five years from 1991 to 1996, the proportion of 15-25 year-olds with post-secondary qualifications increased from 14% to 16%. Among persons aged 26 years and over, the proportion increased from 27% to 29% over the same period.

Young Tasmanians were also more highly qualified in 1996 than five years earlier. Among those young people holding post-school qualifications, the proportions who had attained a bachelor degree or higher increased from 20% to 29%.

Among all 15-25 year-olds in 1996, a higher proportion of males than females held post-school qualifications (18% compared with 15%). The qualifications most commonly held by young males were skilled vocational qualifications (11%), followed by bachelor degrees (3%). For young females, the most common qualifications were bachelor degrees (5%), and basic vocational qualifications (4%).



Labour force status

In 1996 there were 44,653 young Tasmanians in the labour force, that is, either employed
or looking for work. They made up 22% of the total labour force (204,676 people). The
majority (81%) of these young people were employed.

Participation rates

The labour force participation rate for young people in 1996 was 63%. Participation among Indigenous young people was slightly lower at 60%. However, among young people born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country, the participation rate was 33%. This reflected the much higher level of educational participation by this group.

In 1996, fewer young women were in the labour force than young men (59% compared with 67%).

Full-time work

The proportion of young people employed in full-time work fell between 1991 and 1996 from 34% to 31%. This decrease was experienced equally by both young women and men and reflected the general move in the labour force from full-time to part-time work. Over the same period the proportion of older people (aged 26 years and older) who were employed full-time fell by one percentage point to 34%.

Part-time work

The proportions of both young and older people employed in part-time work have increased. Between 1991 and 1996, the proportion of young Tasmanians who were employed part-time increased from 14% to 19%. The percentage point increase for older people was slightly lower (2%). Young women were more likely to be employed part-time than young men (47% compared with 29%).


In 1996, Tasmania's unemployment rate for young people (19%) was the highest of any State or Territory. The age group with the highest rate of unemployment (24%) was 18-19 year-olds. The rate was slightly lower for 15-17 year-olds (22%) and among 20-24 year-olds it was 17%. Among all young Tasmanians, 12% were unemployed.


In 1996, the largest proportions of young people were employed in Retail trade (27% or 9,684); Manufacturing (13%); and Accommodation, cafes and restaurants (7%). For older people, the largest industries of employment were Health and community services (12%); Manufacturing (12%); and Retail trade (10%).


In 1996, 7,022 or 19% of young Tasmanians were employed as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers. The largest proportion (18%) of older people were employed as Professionals. For young men, the most common occupations were Tradespersons and related workers (29%), Labourers and related workers (17%), and Intermediate production and transport workers (13%). Young women were most commonly employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (30%), Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (28%), and Professionals (10%).


While 13% of young people reported receiving no income at all, 12% reported receiving $200-$299 per week. In general, there were proportionally more young women at lower income levels and fewer at higher income levels. A partial explanation for this is women's higher participation in part-time work.