This from today’s SMH online:
We’re ageing and worried but generally healthy
Australians are still heavily dependent on cars to get around but a few more of us are getting public transport to work.
Almost every household recycles or reuses some waste, but every Australian produces 1.6 tonnes of rubbish each year, most of which goes straight to a tip.
De-facto relationships are up sharply, but marriage is still by far the norm.
Welcome to the confusing kaleidoscope of an ageing, worried, generally healthy, slightly overweight nation portrayed in Year Book Australia 2008.
Governor-General Michael Jeffery launched the annual snapshot of Australia in Canberra this morning.
The 780-page tome, produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is an occasionally quirky look at the country and how it sees itself.
For instance, seven in 10 adults believe their own neighbourhoods are over-run with crime and public nuisances, with car hoons copping the most stick.
Forty per cent of Australians complained of dangerous and noisy driving in their areas, while 33 per cent feared burglaries and 25 per cent worried about vandalism.
Yet just 3 per cent of households had a break-in during the 12 months surveyed and 1 per cent of households reported a car theft.
That said, if your car was pinched, it was pretty unlikely to have been retrieved. Only 11 per cent of stolen cars were recovered within a month.
The snapshot shows the median age of Australia’s 20.7 million population is 36.6 years, up 5.5 years over the past 20 years and likely to get older and older.
While there seem to be some signs of a mini baby boom in some suburbs recently, the fertility rate of 1.81 births per woman (up from 1.73 births per woman in 2001) is still way below that required to replace the number of people dying or departing these shores.
In the real baby boom years after World War II, rates peaked at 3.5 babies per woman in 1961.
Marriages seem to be lasting marginally longer, with the average time between the altar and the divorce court being 12.6 years, up from 11.9 years a decade ago.
And while there are many more de-facto couples now than at the beginning of the decade, rising by 25 per cent to almost 1.2 million people, this still represented only 15 per cent of all people who lived as “socially married”.