Just in time for Mother’s Day, the ABS has released a raft of statistics on Australian mothers, making useful reading for businesses that tailor their marketing toward this important segment of our community.
There are some noticeable changes in certain trends, according to the bureau of statistics, meaning it is all the more important to keep up-to-date with the latest demographics.
Australian women are having less babies, and having them later in life.
The median age for first-time mothers in 2016 was 30.5 years — up from 29 years in 2011. In fact, women in the 30–34 age group had the highest fertility rate of all age groups, giving birth to 123 babies per 1,000 women. Meanwhile, teenage births are continuing a downward trend.
Nationally, the fertility rate has remained below the replacement level of 2.1 since back in 1976, and is continuing to fall. In 1996, the rate was 1.805 babies for every woman. It spiked somewhat in 2006 to 1.875 babies per woman. Yet in 2016, it had fallen well back to 1.789 babies per woman.
Nevertheless, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of Aussie women aged 15 and over are mothers.
Lesbian mothers are also a notable part of the motherhood landscape. According to the ABS, at least 10,300 women who had given birth by 2016 were in same-sex relationships.
With children being part of the lives of most women, it would seem that motherhood would contribute highly to life satisfaction. Not necessarily, statistics suggest.
Single mothers recorded the lowest average rate of life satisfaction at 6.9 out of 10, with partnered mothers rating their life satisfaction at 7.8 out of 10. Yet women without children recorded the highest rates of life satisfaction, at 8 out of 10.
Of the women with children, those who are partnered reported feeling much more positive about their personal health than single mothers.
Coping mechanisms appear to be among the strongest toolkits for mothers. Some 96 per cent of partnered mothers and 93 per cent of single mothers said they would be able to get support in the event of a crisis.
Shockingly, though, 15 per cent of all mothers said they have experienced homelessness at some point — with the issue more than three times more prevalent among single mothers.
For the first time, the 2016 Census revealed more mothers are now working in some capacity than not. In fact, 53.4 per cent of mothers are now in the workforce — up from 46.1 per cent a decade earlier.
The ABS also recorded a 9 per cent uplift in the number of mothers studying full time, now equating to 95,100 or roughly 1.6 per cent of all mums.
And a big shout out to the 114,800 women who juggle all three simultaneously — working, studying and raising kids under the age of 15.
These figures coincided with a reduction in the amount of unpaid housework women are doing at home.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.