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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/05/2004   
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MEDIA RELEASE

May 10, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
70/2004
Mother's Day 2004 and National Families Week: ABS

To assist your Mother's Day 2004 and National Families Week (9 - 15 May) coverage the following information has been drawn from different Australian Bureau of Statistics sources.

The most common family type is projected to change - The proportion of families with children declined from 65% to 60% over the decade to 2003, largely due to the ageing of the population creating 'empty nesters', but also because of trends towards childlessness, according to Measures of Australia's Progress 2004 (cat. no.1370.0).

Assuming current trends continue, by 2021 the most common family type will change from couples with children to couples without children.

More people are living together before marriage and getting married later - In 2002, 73% of couples cohabited before entering a registered marriage, compared with 30% twenty years ago, according to Marriages and Divorces 2002 (cat. no. 3310.0). Since 1982 the median age of men marrying for the first time increased by four years to 29 years in 2002, while the median age of women increased from 22 years to 27 years.

Age of women giving birth highest on record - In 2002 the median age of all women giving birth was 30.2 years according to Births Australia 2002 (cat. no. 3301.0). This was the highest median age for mothers giving birth in any year on record. The median age of fathers was 32.5 years.

Employed mothers make greater use of flexible working arrangements - Some 70% of employed mothers, with children aged under 12 years, made use of flexible working arrangements to assist with the care of their children compared with 30% of employed fathers, according to the 2002 Child Care Survey.

Employed mothers most frequently used flexible working hours (39%) and permanent part-time work (35%) to help them care for their children, while employed fathers used flexible working hours (22%) and working from home (9%).

Grandparents as informal childcarers - Grandparents provided at least some informal child care to over half a million children (591,600) aged under 12 years in the reference week for the 2002 Child Care survey. This represented 19% of children aged under 12.

More information is available from this website including:
  • Measures of Australia's Progress 2004 (cat. no.1370.0) contains analysis of aspects of Family, community and social cohesion.
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0). Linked on the home page.
  • Statistics on Family and Community; Children and Youth; Ageing; and Disability, Ageing and Carers. Select Themes on the home page and then the relevant links.

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