Youth is the transition from child to adult. It is a period of great and rapid emotional, physical and intellectual change. Because it is a time of transition, it is also a time when individuals can experience significant fluctuations in health and wellbeing. This report documents the changes in health and wellbeing of young people during their transition from childhood to young adulthood. This report shows that the majority of Australia's youth experience very good mental and physical health.

What does Australia's young population look like?

  • At 30 June 2001, there were 3.5 million young people aged 12-24 years—1.8 million males and 1.7 million females. They make up 18% of the total Australian population.
  • In 2001, nearly 70% of young people aged 15-24 years lived in major cities, another 19% lived in inner regional areas and around 12% lived in outer regional and remote areas of Australia.
  • At 30 June 2001, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 12-24 years was estimated to be 116,698—about 3% of the total number of young people in Australia.
  • The majority of young people (62%) were living with their parents. More males than females were living with their parents. In 2000, 91% of males and 85% of females aged 15-19 years were living at home. The corresponding proportions for those aged 20-24 years were 52% and 39% respectively.
  • Around 11% of young people were either married or living in a de facto relationship. Marriage rates for young people under 25 years declined considerably between 1976 and 2000, partly because of an increase in de facto relationships.
  • In Australia in 2000 the Year 12 completion rate was about 67%, with a higher proportion of females completing Year 12 (74%) than males (61%).
  • Educational attainment is the highest school or post-school educational qualification attained. In 2000, 76 per cent of 19-year-olds had completed year 12 or obtained a post-school qualification and 44 per cent of 24-year-olds had attained a skilled vocational qualification or higher.
  • Between 1982 and 2002 the proportion of young people in full-time employment decreased from 40% to 16% for young people aged 15-19 years and from 65% to 50% for young people 20–24 years. Over the same period the proportion of young people in part time employment increased from 12% to 32% for young people aged 15-19 years and from 8% to 23% for those aged 20-24 years. Many young people working part time were also in full-time education.