Electorate Rankings


Current Issues Brief Index 2002-03

Current Issues Brief no.4 2003-04

Labour Force Status of Families: Electorate Rankings

Tony Kryger
Statistics Group
1 December 2003

Contents

Introduction

Main Features

Couple families with children aged under 15 years

1 Couple families in which both spouses are employed

2 Couple families in which neither spouse is employed

3 Unemployed couple families

Single parent families with children aged under 15 years

4 Single parent families in which the parent is not employed

5 Unemployed single parent families

Children aged under 15 years

6 Children living in families in which no parent is employed

7 Children living in families in which one parent is unemployed and the other parent (if present) is either unemployed or not in the labour force

Unemployed Women

8 Unemployed women with no children aged under 15 years

9 Unemployed women with children aged under 15 years

10 Unemployed wives with unemployed husbands

11 Unemployed wives with employed husbands

Introduction

This paper provides an analysis by Commonwealth Electoral Division of certain labour force characteristics of families from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. The paper seeks to measure the extent of labour market disadvantage experienced by families by providing a basis on which to make comparisons between electorates.

Data for each labour force characteristic has been presented in two tables. The first table lists each electoral division alphabetically and shows the value of the characteristic. The second table ranks each electoral division on the relative value of the characteristic, usually expressed as a percentage of total.

While it is the case that electorates ranked poorly on one characteristic tend also to be ranked poorly on other characteristics, this is not always the case. For example, a high unemployment rate for couple families is not always associated with a high unemployment rate for single parent families. Similarly, a high unemployment rate for women with children doesnt always correspond to a high unemployment rate for women without children. By comparing electorate rankings across a range of different characteristics, it is therefore possible to gain a better perspective on the degree and type of labour market disadvantage experienced in each electorate.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a family as 'two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship.' In this paper, only family types that satisfy the first two descriptions are considered. Insufficient information is available on the other family type to allow an analysis of its labour force characteristics. There is also insufficient information on the labour force status of same sex couples which are excluded here from the definition of couple families.

The electoral boundaries used in the paper are those applicable at the 2001 Federal Election. The political party holding each division is that applicable as at 1 January 2003.

Main Features

Some of the more interesting features of each table are summarised below.

Table 1Couple families with children aged under 15 years in which both spouses are employed

Ranked on the number of couple families with children in which both the husband and wife are employed, expressed as a proportion of all couple families with children.

The electorate with the highest proportion of both husbands and wives who are employed is Canberra (ACT) (68.2 per cent), followed by Mackellar (NSW) (67.7 per cent), Cook (NSW) (67.2 per cent) and Mitchell (NSW) (66.8 per cent). Fowler (NSW) has the lowest proportion (33.8 per cent) and is significantly behind the next lowest electorate of Reid (NSW) (37.3 per cent).

The Australian average is 56.5 per cent.

Table 2Couple families with children aged under 15 years in which neither spouse is employed

Ranked on the number of couple families with children in which neither the husband nor the wife is employed, expressed as a proportion of all couple families with children.

The electorate with the highest proportion of cases in which neither the husband nor wife is employed is Fowler (NSW) at 25.8 per cent. High proportions were also recorded in the electorates of Lingiari (NT) (21.9 per cent), Reid (NSW) (21.7 per cent) and Blaxland (NSW) (20.0 per cent). At the other end of the rankings scale, the electorate with the lowest proportion is Mackellar (NSW) at 2.5 per cent.

The Australian average is 8.5 per cent.

Table 3Unemployed couple families with children aged under 15 years

An unemployed couple family is one in which one spouse is unemployed and the other spouse is either unemployed or not in the labour force. The unemployment rate for a couple family with children is defined as the number of unemployed couple families with children, expressed as a proportion of the total number of couple families with children in which at least one spouse is in the labour force.

The unemployment rate for couple families with children ranges from one per cent or less in Mackellar (NSW), Hughes (NSW), Mitchell (NSW) and Cook (NSW) to 8.8 per cent in Cowper (NSW), 8.9 per cent in Reid (NSW) and rising abruptly to 11.4 per cent in Fowler (NSW).

The Australian average is 3.6 per cent.

Table 4Single parent families with children aged under 15 years in which the parent is not employed

Ranked on the number of not employed single parents with children, expressed as a proportion of all single parents with children.

There are 103 (out of 150) electorates in which more than half the single parents with children in the electorate are not employed. The proportion is lowest in Mackellar (NSW) (29.3 per cent), North Sydney (NSW) (31.4 per cent) and Kooyong (Vic) (31.9 per cent) and highest in Fowler (NSW) (76.0 per cent), Bonython (SA) (69.2 per cent) and Chifley (NSW) (68.2 per cent).

The Australian average is 54.6 per cent.

Table 5Unemployed single parent families with children aged under 15 years

Ranked on the unemployment rate for a single parent family with children, defined as the number of unemployed single parents with children, expressed as a proportion of the total number of single parents in the labour force with children.

In 32 electorates out of a total of 150, the unemployment rate for single parent families with children is above 20 per cent. The unemployment rate is highest in Fowler (NSW) (27.8 per cent), followed by Longman (Qld) (25.7 per cent) and Braddon (Tas) (25.1 per cent). It is lowest in Bradfield (NSW) (5.7 per cent).

The Australian average is 16.5 per cent.

Table 6Children aged under 15 years living in families in which no parent is employed

Ranked on the number of children living in families (couple or single parent) in which no parent is employed, expressed as a proportion of the total number of children aged under 15 years.

There are (as at the 2001 Census) 761 087 children under the age of 15 years living in families in which no parent has a job. The electorate with the highest proportion of children in this situation is Fowler (NSW) (40.3 per cent) followed by Bonython (SA) (33.0 per cent) and Reid (NSW) (32.2 per cent). There are 18 electorates in which the proportion falls below 10 per cent; the lowest ranking electorate is Mitchell (NSW) (5.4 per cent).

The Australian average is 18.5 per cent.

Table 7Children aged under 15 years living in families in which one parent is unemployed and the other parent (if present) is either unemployed or not in the labour force

Ranked on the number of children living in families (couple or single parent) in which one parent is unemployed and the other parent is either unemployed or not in the labour force, expressed as a proportion of the total number of children aged under 15 years.

A total of 188 380 children aged under 15 years are living in families where no parent is working but at least one parent wants a job. In the electorate of Fowler (NSW), almost one child in every ten is living in this type of family situation. Close behind is the electorate of Cowper (NSW) (9.3 per cent) followed by Fairfax (Qld) (8.2 per cent). The lowest ranking electorate is Mitchell (NSW) where the corresponding proportion is just 1.3 per cent.

The Australian average is 4.6 per cent.

Table 8Unemployed women with no children aged under 15 years

For women with no children aged under 15 years, the unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed women in the group expressed as a proportion of the number of women in the labour force in the same group.

The unemployment rate for women with no children ranges from less than two per cent in Hughes (NSW), Mitchell (NSW) and Mackellar (NSW) to a high of 13.7 per cent in Fowler (NSW). The rate for Fowler is significantly higher than for any other electorate, the next highest ranking electorates being Cowper (NSW) at 8.1 per cent and Reid (NSW) at 7.6 per cent.

The Australian average is 3.9 per cent.

Table 9Unemployed women with children aged under 15 years

For women with children aged under 15 years, the unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed women in the group expressed as a proportion of the number of women in the labour force in the same group.

The unemployment rate for women with children ranges from 2.8 per cent in Bradfield (NSW) to 17.5 per cent in Fowler (NSW). In every electorate, the unemployment rate for women with children is higher than it is for women without children. The average rate difference is 2.7 percentage points but is much larger than this in electorates where the unemployment rate for women with children is already quite high. For example, in electorates such as Longman (Qld), Rankin (Qld) and Bonython (SA), the rate difference is more than five percentage points.

The Australian average rate of unemployment for women with children is 6.7 per cent

Table 10Unemployed women with an unemployed husband

For women with an unemployed husband, the unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed women in the group expressed as a proportion of the number of women in the labour force in the same group.

In the electorate of Fowler (NSW), the unemployment rate for women with an unemployed husband is almost 68 per cent. Five other electorates with an unemployment rate of over 50 per cent are Prospect (NSW) (50.2 per cent), Mallee (Vic) (50.7 per cent), Bonython (SA) (52.2 per cent), Maribyrnong (Vic) (56.0 per cent) and Gellibrand (Vic) (59.6 per cent).

The significance of this table (and Table 11 below) is that it highlights the tendency for unemployment to be entrenched in certain family types. Hence, a woman is far more likely to be unemployed if her husband also is unemployed than if her husband is in a job.

The Australian average rate of unemployment for women with an unemployed husband is 36.0 per cent.

Table 11Unemployed women with an employed husband

For women with an employed husband, the unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed women in the group expressed as a proportion of the number of women in the labour force in the same group.

The unemployment rate for women with an employed husband is a fraction of the corresponding rate for women with an unemployed husband. The highest rate is 7.2 per cent in the electorate of Fowler (NSW) followed by Reid (NSW) at 5.2 per cent. In every other electorate the rate is below 5 per cent and in over two-thirds of all electorates it is below 3 per cent.

The Australian average is 2.6 per cent.

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