More Australian women than ever are bringing home the main source of family income, with women now the main breadwinner in one in four Australian households, a new report has found.
According to AMP.NATSEM Income & Wealth report released today, the most dramatic change in the shape of the modern Aussie family is the increase of over 140,000 dual-income households where women are out-earning men. Tasmania tops the list, with the number of female breadwinner households at 35%, followed by NSW at 26%. In Western Australia, with the mining boom and resources industry increasing momentum, the number of households with women earning the main income drops to 18%.
The report found that 27% of families with lower income households and 25% of middle-incomes families were relatively reliant on women as the main source of income, with the figure decreasing to 17% for high income families. The increase in female breadwinner households across all income brackets also rose from 22% to 24% during the GFC, indicating the proclivity for women to adopt a leadership role in the family during challenging times.
But the number of families with women as the main earner drops once children come into the picture. While 52% of female breadwinner households more likely to be couples without children, more than half of male breadwinner households are those with dependants or children. The proportion of female breadwinner households rises to 34% once dependants have left the family home.
The report also found that 58% of families with children have both parents in the workforce, a figure that’s increased over 18% in 10 years. The figures in the number of dual income households reflect OECD trends dual-incomes become necessary for families to make ends meet and keep up with the growing cost of household ownership, however, Australian households are more likely to favour one parent working full time and the other parent working part time, a reflection of the rising cost of childcare and the industries that women are more likely to be employed in.
While the report indicates a shifting attitude in the way the modern families are approaching income sources, the trend is not replicated in the workforce, where females are still learning less than men. The report found that female breadwinner households bring in on average $2,375 in weekly earnings — around $1000 less than male breadwinner households.