Snapshot of Australian Families - New Report
19 May 2011 at 12:41 pm
Australian families are sticking together in good times and bad, and are finding support in times of need from their relatives, neighbours and communities, according to a new report.
The report, Families in Australia 2011: Sticking together in good and tough times, has been released as part of National Families Week and draws on recent statistics from a range of sources to provide a picture of Australian families.
Social Inclusion Minister Tanya Plibersek says the report finds that Australian families have been able to adapt to change and bounce back from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
She says although family life is far more complex today than in the past, the majority of Australians are confident that if they need help they'd be able to seek it from family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues among others.
Australian Institute of Family Studies director Professor Alan Hayes said the report looked at how families engage in paid work and found that in 2010 there were more couple parents with a full-time and part-time job (36 per cent) than with only one full-time job between them (30 per cent), while in around one quarter of cases, both parents worked full-time.
The report found that most Australians across all age groups report being highly satisfied with their lives, especially older people and 15 to 24 year olds.
Professor Hayes said the report also highlighted that young Australians, especially young women, are remaining in formal education for longer. In 1981 only 56 per cent of Australians between 15 and 19 years old were enrolled in education, but by 2010 that number had climbed to 78 per cent.
He says the report also focuses on participation in voluntary work and caring for adult relatives, expectations of support in times of need, sense of neighbourhood support, and government assistance to families and individuals.
He says engaging in community activities and the wider social environment beyond the home contributes to life satisfaction and wellbeing, and participation contributes to, and is fuelled by, gaining a sense of belonging, recognition and inclusion.
Based on the available data, the report shows that across all age groups, volunteering was a far more common activity in a typical week than was caring for an elderly or disabled adult relative.
The Report for National Families Week 2011 can be downloaded at: Families in Australia 2011: Sticking together in good and tough times