Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
2059.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Australia's Youth, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/05/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

INTRODUCTION

The publication Census of Population and Housing: Australia's Youth (cat. no. 2059.0) highlights the characteristics of Australian youth aged 15 to 24 years (using 2001 Census data) from their population characteristics, mobility patterns, cultural diversity and living arrangements to their educational achievements, aspects of working life, income levels, and Internet and computer use. The format is a mix of tables, commentary, graphs and maps with some state/territory and time series analysis.

In conjunction with this publication an electronic table of regional indicators for youth is available, featuring key statistics from the publication and presented at the Statistical Division level for all states and territories. To access this data follow the links to Data Cubes at the bottom of this document.


POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS

The 2001 Census counted 2.6 million people aged 15-24 years in Australia (excluding overseas visitors). This equated to 14% of the total population, a similar proportion to five years ago and slightly lower than the 16% recorded in 1991. Compared with 1991, the number of people aged 15-19 years had increased by 1%, while the number aged 20-24 years had decreased by 7%. These differences are largely a reflection of fertility patterns in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2001, there were more males than females in the youth population, with 103.6 young males for every 100 young females. The greater number of males to females in the children and youth population is not a pattern that is reflected in the population as a whole, as greater life expectancy for females compared with males results in relatively more females in the older ages. The sex ratio for the total population was 97.5 males per 100 females.


PROFILE OF AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION (a) - 1991
PROFILE OF AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION (a) - 2001
 POPULATION PYRAMID: showing the profile of Australia's population in 1991.
 POPULATION PYRAMID: showing the profile of Australia's population in 2001.



While the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory had the lowest shares of the youth population, they had the greatest proportions of people aged 15-24 years in their total population (16% and 15% respectively). New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania had the lowest proportions (each with 13%). For further information on the proportion of 15-24 year olds in each state/territory by statistical local area see the following maps:

MAPS

NEW SOUTH WALESWESTERN AUSTRALIA
VICTORIATASMANIA
QUEENSLANDNORTHERN TERRITORY
SOUTH AUSTRALIAAUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY


As youth move from their teenage years into their twenties they are more likely to be living in the larger towns and cities. Whilst 63% of 15 year olds were counted in Major Cities in 2001, this compared to 72% for those aged 20-24 years, with the proportion increasing markedly at 18 and 19 years.

Young people are typically one of the most mobile population groups, with around half moving residence between censuses since 1966. When examining the population who move, there are differences in the age profile of males and females. In 2001, the mobility rate for females was higher than that for males from age five years to around 30-34 years, with the largest differences observed in the early twenties.
PERSONS WHO MOVED IN THE FIVE YEARS TO 2001
GRAPH: showing persons who moved in the five years to 2001.


Young people usually resident in Queensland in 2001 had the highest mobility rate among all states/territories (59%), while the two largest states (New South Wales and Victoria) had mobility rates well below the national average (46% and 44% respectively).

In 2001, the mobility rates for young people who were living in the parental home (i.e. as either dependent or non-dependent children) was 11%, compared with 74% for those in group households, 53% for lone persons and 54% for partners in couples (see Glossary for further information on Family Type and Relationship in household). Among those living as a partner in a couple at the time of the census, those in de facto couples were more likely to have moved in the last year (61%), than those who were in a registered marriage (42%). This is partly related to the growing trend for young people to cohabit before entering registered marriage (as those who were already cohabiting before marrying would be more likely to maintain the same address upon marrying) (ABS 2003a).


CULTURAL DIVERSITY

In 2001, 15% of 15-24 year olds (or 390,300 persons) were born overseas. Of these overseas born youth, 29% were born in a main English speaking country. In comparison, 22% of the total population were born overseas, with 39% of these born in main English speaking countries.

Australia's youth collectively speak in excess of 200 different languages. In 2001, nearly 16% (417,300) of young people indicated that they spoke a language other than English at home. Of the 528,100 young persons who reported speaking a language other than English in the home, 60% indicated that they spoke English 'very well' and 16% spoke English 'well'. Young people who spoke a European language rated their proficiency in English more highly than did those who spoke an Asian or Aboriginal language.

LANGUAGE (OTHER THAN ENGLISH) SPOKEN AT HOME
GRAPH: showing number who spoke languages other than English at home, 2001.


In the 2001 census, 75,200 (3%) 15-24 year olds stated that they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. Almost four-fifths (79%)of Indigenous youth spoke English at home, and 14% (10,200) spoke an Australian Indigenous language. This compared with 12% of the total Indigenous population.

In 2001, 68% of all young people reported a religious affiliation (see Glossary for further information on Religious affiliation), 19% reported they had no religion and a further 10% did not state an affiliation with any religion. Christianity was the most commonly reported religion among youth (62% of all youth who reported an affiliation) and the population as a whole (91%). Small proportions of youth reported an affiliation with Buddhism and Islam (both 2%).

For those youth with at least one parent born in Australia, Australian, English and Irish were the three most reported ancestries (see Glossary for further information on Ancestry). Among young people who had both parents born overseas, 19% nominated English as their ancestry, 16% Chinese and 5% Italian.


LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

In 2001, 59% of all youth (1,518,200 persons) were living with parents either as dependent students or non-dependent children, with a further 31% of youth living outside the parental home (see Glossary for further information on Dependent student and Non-dependent children). The household relationship of the remaining 10% of youth was not available.

The proportion of young adults living in the parental home, particularly in the 20-24 years age group, has increased since the 1980s - attributable in part to a deferral of leaving home until completion of study, first marriage or achievement of financial independence (ABS 1994, 2000a). Young females, at each age, were less likely than young males to be living in the parental home, with the largest difference being in the 20-24 years age group (45% of males and 34% of females). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth were more likely to be living outside of the parental home than all youth (43% compared with 31%, respectively).

Over three-quarters of both the total youth population and Indigenous youth lived with at least one family member (76% and 77%, respectively). Overseas-born youth from non-main English speaking countries were less likely to be living with family members (72%).

Recent trends indicate that men and women are marrying later in life (ABS 2000b, 2002a). In 2001, 10% of all youth were married, with the majority of these (63%) in de facto marriages. A higher proportion of young married females were in a registered marriage than married males (40% compared with 32%).


EDUCATION

In 2001, 53% (or 1,357,700) of all young people (15-24 year olds) were attending an educational institution on either a full-time or part-time basis. Nearly half (48%) of these were attending secondary school, 17% were attending Technical and Further Education Institutions (TAFE) and 30% were attending Higher education institutions. Youth participation in education increased between 1996 and 2001, across all education types. The largest increase was in Higher education, where participation was up by four percentage points since 1996 (13% to 17%).

Of those attending secondary school, 63% attended government schools, 21% attended Catholic secondary schools and 16% attended other non-government schools.

ATTENDANCE AT AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, 1996 and 2001: 15-24 year olds
GRAPH: Attendance at an Educational Institution, 1996 and 2001, 15-24 year olds.

In 2001, almost three-quarters (72%) of youth born in non-main English speaking countries attended an educational institution. Youth born in non-main English speaking countries were more likely to be participating in university education than the total youth population (34% compared with 28%). This difference may reflect the fact that overseas students attending Australian universities and other tertiary institutions form part of this group.

In 2001, 49% of young people attending an educational institution were also participating in the labour force, compared with 84% of those not attending an educational institution.

Males were more likely than females to have completed school to Year 10 (22% of young males and 17% of young females), while females were more likely to have completed to Year 12 (64% of young females and 54% of young males).


WORKING LIFE AND INCOME

In 2001, based on responses to the census questions, there were 1.6 million young people aged 15-24 years in the labour force (that is, employed or unemployed), constituting just over 18% of the total Australian labour force of nearly 9 million persons aged 15 years and over. This represents a youth labour force participation rate of 63%, compared with 60% for the total population (see Glossary for further information on Labour force and Labour force participation rate).

Half of all employed youth were in part-time employment, with 15-17 year olds more likely to be employed in this capacity (84% of all employed 15-17 year olds) than other young people. This is related to the fact that many of those in the younger age brackets are combining part-time work with study commitments (ABS 2003d). Full time students working part-time were commonly still at school or were continuing with study after completing compulsory schooling. Most employed persons aged 20-24 years were in full-time jobs (69%), similar to the total population (72%).

Youth aged 20-24 years were slightly more likely to be unemployed than those aged 15-19 years (unemployment to population ratio of 9% and 8% respectively), although both of these groups tend to remain unemployed for shorter periods than other age groups. This reflects the fact that young people are more likely to stay in the labour force for short term periods, with many looking for employment during breaks in education or holidays (ABS, 2003e). Most unemployed 15-17 year olds were looking for part-time work (61%), with the majority of these (88%) engaged in full-time study.

In 2001, the main industry of employment among 15-24 year olds was Retail trade. There were 434,400 young people employed in this industry, making up 31% of all employed youth and 36% of all persons employed in Retail trade. Accommodation, cafes and restaurants employed 10% of all employed youth and Property and business services 9%. The most common occupational groups among employed young people were Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (24% of all employed youth), Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (20%), and Tradespersons and related workers (15%).

The median income of young people increased with age, from $16 per week for 15-17 year olds, to $162 among 18-19 year olds and $375 for those aged 20-24 years (see Glossary for further information on Individual income). Young men, regardless of cultural background, had higher median incomes than young women.


COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE

In 2001, 1,502,700 young people aged 15-24 years had used a computer at home in the week preceding the census (see Glossary for further information on Computer use). This figure equates to almost three in five young people (59%), the highest proportion of any age group.

In the week preceding the 2001 census, 37% of the Australian population accessed the Internet (see Glossary for further information on Internet use). This proportion was 60% among 15-24 year olds, the highest proportion of any age group. Young females were more likely to have accessed the Internet than young males (62% compared with 58%). Conversely, at older age groups men were more likely to use the Internet than women. Youth born in non-main English speaking countries were more likely to access the Internet (75%) than the total population of young people (60%).

Full-time students were more likely than others to have used the Internet - 80% of full-time students aged 15-24 years had accessed the Internet compared with 61% of part-time students. Of those not attending educational institutions, 43% had accessed this technology.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information on the publication or to purchase a copy please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. Alternatively, this product can be purchased on-line - use the link to Publications at the bottom of this document.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 1994, 'Changes in living arrangements', Australian Social Trends, 1994, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 35-39.

ABS 1997, 'One-parent families', Australian Social Trends, 1997, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 34-38.

ABS 1999a, 'Information technology in the home', Australian Social Trends, 1999, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 189-193.

ABS 2000a, 'Young adults living in the parental home', Australian Social Trends, 2000, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 39-42.

ABS 2000b, 'People without partners', Australian Social Trends, 2000, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 43-46.

ABS 2000c, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2000, cat. no. 8146.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2001a, 'Future living arrangements', Australian Social Trends, 2001, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 51-54.

ABS 2001b, 'Combining study and work', Australian Social Trends, 2001, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 113-115.

ABS 2002a, 'Changes across Australian generations', Australian Social Trends, 2002, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 46-51.

ABS 2002b, 'Overseas students', Australian Social Trends, 2002, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 103-108.

ABS 2002c, 'Work: Looking more closely', Measuring Australia's Progress, cat. no. 1370.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 64-65.

ABS 2003a, 'Youth migration within Australia', Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 22-25.

ABS 2003b, 'Regional differences in education and outcomes', Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 91-95.

ABS 2003c, 'Pathways from school to work', Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 96-100.

ABS 2003d, 'Changes in labour force participation across generations', Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 134-138.

ABS 2003e, Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2003, cat. no. 6105.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2003f, 'Household use of computers and the Internet', Australian Social Trends, 2003, cat. no. 4102.0, ABS, Canberra, pp. 194–197.

Bell, M & Hugo, G 2000, Internal Migration in Australia, 1991 to 1996: Overview and the Overseas-Born, Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Canberra.

Hugo, G 2002, 'Australia's Changing Non-metropolitan Population', The New Rural Health, Oxford University Press, Oxford.



Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.