4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Dec 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2012   
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11 December 2012
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Social Trends:
Farming; women in leadership; people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease; older carers; leaving Australia forever

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released the December Australian Social Trends (AST) which showed the number of farmers in Australia has fallen by 40% in the last 30 years, women are still under-represented in positions of leadership, most older carers have a disability themselves, and an increased proportion of people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease are living in private households.

Australian farming and farmers

ABS Director of Social and Progress Reporting Jane Griffin-Warwicke said the ABS wanted to include an article on our farmers to coincide with the Australian Year of the Farmer.

“Using 2011 Census data we discovered the number of farmers in Australia fell by more than 100,000 between 1981 and 2011, which is a 40 per cent decrease over the last 30 years.

"Half of Australia’s farmers work 49 hours or more a week which are long hours considering the median age of farmers is now 53 and nearly one in four farmers is aged 65 or more," she said.

Women in leadership

“While women make up just over half of Australia's population, only 3.5 per cent of ASX200 companies have a female CEO, and only 12 per cent of positions on boards of directors are women,” Ms Griffin-Warwicke said.

“Women only make up 29 per cent of our federal parliamentarians and 30 per cent of state and territory parliamentarians.”

However the public sector is a different story. “Women make up 39 per cent of positions in the Australian Public Service Senior Executive Service and 47 per cent of Executive Level (middle management) positions,” Ms Griffin-Warwicke said.

Older carers

“Australian Social Trends found that there were over half a million people aged 65 or more who provided care for another person. This was usually their partner.”

"Over half of older carers had some form of disability themselves,” Ms Griffin-Warwicke said.

People with dementia or Alzheimer's disease

“The vast majority of people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease (96 per cent) are aged 65 or more with most living in a health establishment such as a nursing home. However the proportion living in a private home has increased, from 26% in 2003 to 38% in 2009.”

“Dementia and Alzheimer's disease is the third leading underlying cause of death in Australia,” she said.

Leaving Australia forever

On the topic of people leaving Australia Ms Griffin-Warwicke said “We’re still calling Australia home. We found that out of the 84,000 Australian residents who stated they were departing Australia permanently, 80 per cent of them returned within a year of their departure.”

Further information can be found in Australian Social Trends, Dec 2012 (4102.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media note
When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.