Women are now the major breadwinners in one in four Australian households – up from 140,000 just ten years ago, a new report has revealed.
The Income and Wealth Report from AMP.NATSEM also found that households where both parents are employed now make up 58 per cent of all couple households with children, compared to 40 per cent in 1983.
Paul Sainsbury of AMP said today’s work landscape reflects the changing nature of the Australian economy and modern family life.
“Today’s modern family is complex and diverse. Living alongside more traditional families are blended and step-families, single parent families, de facto couples, and same-sex families,” Sainsbury said.
Looking at data from the past decade, the report also broke down the number of female breadwinner households across income brackets, finding that the proportion of female breadwinners rose from 22 per cent to 24 per cent during the global financial crisis.
Families with low combined incomes and middle-income families were found to be relatively more reliant on female breadwinners, at 27 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. This figure drops to 17 per cent for families earning in the top 10 per cent.
However, while women have steadily increasing their presence in the workforce over the past few decades, children are still affecting their work patterns.
The report found that 52 per cent of female breadwinner households do not have dependent children, with almost 27 per cent aged between 25 and 29. Almost one in four babies are born to women aged 35 or above.
While the number of dual earning households with children mirrors OECD trends, Australian households are more likely to favour one parent working full time and the other part time, reflecting the cost of childcare and the type of work available to women.
Sainsbury said families must beware of the effect the economy can have on stability.
“The cost of raising children, financial stress from divorce or coping in challenging economic times can have a significant impact on family stability, so it’s important that Australian families have their finances in order before challenges crop up,” Sainsbury said.