People living with psychotic illness 2010

3. Key socioeconomic and demographic characteristics

Page last updated: November 2011

3.1 Age and sex
3.2 Country of birth and language spoken
3.3 Educational profile
3.4 Income and employment
3.5 Housing and homelessness
3.6 Marital status and parenting
3.7 Health insurance

3.1 Age and sex

Of the 1,825 participants who screened positive for psychosis and were interviewed in the second phase of the survey, 1,087 or 59.6% were male and 738 were female.

Age stratification at the time of randomisation for interview was employed to ensure a good spread of survey participants across the two broad age groups, resulting in 42.4% of the total sample falling into the younger age group (18-34 years) and 57.6% falling into the older age group (35-64 years). Figure 3-1 shows that there was a fairly even spread of people across all ages, with somewhat lower numbers of the very youngest and oldest age groups in the sample.

Figure 3-1. Age at interview


Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of figure 3-1 Age at interview

Text version of figure 3-1

AgeMale (%)Female (%)
18 - 192.12.3
20 - 249.68.1
25 - 2913.910.4
30 - 3420.915.4
35 - 3914.213.4
40 - 4412.115.0
45 - 4910.812.6
50 - 549.010.8
55 - 594.57.7
60 - 643.04.1
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3.2 Country of birth and language spoken

Most participants (82.2%) had been born in Australia.

One in ten (9.2%) spoke a language other than English at home.

3.3 Educational profile

One third (33.7%) of participants had no school or post-school qualification. This compares to 24.9% of those in the general population as found in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.8

Almost one third (31.5%) had completed the equivalent of year 12 schooling. Just under a half (47.1%) had a post-school qualification, including TAFE qualifications, trade certificates or higher education qualification (table 3-1). These figures are markedly lower than percentages for the general population, at 53.0% and 59.4% respectively.8

One in five (18.4%) reported difficulty with reading and/or writing.

The proportion enrolled in formal studies in the past year was 20.8%. This included 10.3% of the total enrolled in vocational training programs: 8.7% in mainstream courses and 1.6% in non mainstream programs (for example, programs provided by sheltered workshops). Females were more likely than males (26.7% compared with 16.7%), and the younger age group was more likely than the older age group, to be enrolled in further studies.

Table 3-1. Key socioeconomic and demographic characteristics

CharacteristicMales (%)Females (%)Persons (%)
Older age group (35-64 years)55.363.757.6
Sex59.640.4-
Born in Australia83.380.682.2
Currently married or in de facto relationship12.124.517.1
Own children (any age)25.956.238.1
Dependent children living at home, including step children5.523.612.8
Education - left school with no qualifications36.130.233.7
Education - completed year 12 education31.032.131.5
Education - post-school qualification43.352.647.1
Education - enrolled in formal studies (past year)16.726.720.8
Income and employment - main source of income: government payment85.683.785.0
Income and employment - in paid employment (past year)33.631.332.7
Income and employment - in paid employment (past 7 days)21.222.021.5
Homelessness and housing - living in supported accommodation (currently)14.46.011.0
Homelessness and housing - homeless (currently)7.32.05.2
Homelessness and housing - homeless (past year)15.48.912.8
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3.4 Income and employment

The main source of income for 85.0% of people was a government payment.

One third (32.7%) of people had been in paid employment in the past year, with one in five (21.5%) employed at the time of interview.

Income and employment are described in greater detail in chapter 10.

3.5 Housing and homelessness

The majority of people were living in public or private rental accommodation (48.6%), a family home (19.1%) or their own home (13.1%) at the time of interview. One in ten (11.0%) were in supported accommodation.

One in twenty (5.2%) were homeless at the time of interview. This proportion rose to 12.8% for any period of homelessness over the past year.

Chapter 12 provides additional information on housing and homelessness.

3.6 Marital status and parenting

One in four women (24.5%) and one in ten men (12.1%) were currently in a married or de facto relationship.

Over half the women (56.2%) had children of any age, and one quarter (23.6%) had dependent children living at home with them. The proportion of men with children was substantially lower at 25.9% and 5.5% had dependent children living with them.

Chapter 11 provides additional information on these issues. Top of page

3.7 Health insurance

The majority of participants (85.8%) had a health care card at the time of interview.

A minority (15.1%) had some form of private health insurance. For 2.5% this was hospital cover only, 4.2% had ancillary cover only and 8.4% had both hospital and ancillary cover.