Bottlenecks add to commuter frustration. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Bottlenecks add to commuter frustration. Picture: AAP/David Clark

Suburban dads ‘unhappiest in Australia’

Dads with two kids spend the most time commuting and they're also likely to be among the most unhappy with their job, pay and work-life balance.

The latest data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey shows people are taking longer to get to work than at any point since 2002.

"On average, they had a commuting time of around 3.7 hours per week in 2002, and now we're up to four and a half hours a week," Melbourne University's Dr Inga Lass said.

 

Kate and Dusty, with kids Charlotte and Emily, posing for Hilda report into Australian families, Alderley Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Kate and Dusty, with kids Charlotte and Emily, posing for Hilda report into Australian families, Alderley Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner

 

The report, released on Tuesday, shows people in the mainland capital cities have the longest commutes.

"They spend on average 66 minutes a day travelling to and from work," Dr Lass said.

"Among this group, it's the Sydneysiders who have the longest commutes. (They) spend around 71 minutes a day travelling to and from work."

 

Traffic jams don’t help. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Traffic jams don’t help. Picture: AAP/David Clark

 

Dr Lass said the data shows men usually spend longer on commutes than women.

"Fathers with two children are the ones who have longest commutes, but women tend to commute less when they have children," she said.

Those who spend more than two hours a day commuting are less satisfied with their jobs, and more likely to expect to leave their job within the next 12 months.

"They are also less satisfied with their working hours, with the flexibility to balance work and life, and they're even less satisfied with their pay," Dr Lass said.

But Dr Lass says the number of fathers with high levels of "work-family conflict" has dropped since 2001, while the number of women has risen. The data reveals working hours are behind the gender gap - the longer hours a parent works, the higher their work-family conflict score.

"Once we account for working hours, it is mothers who have the highest levels of work-family conflict," Dr Lass said.

"In other words, most working mothers achieve a better balance between work and family spheres by working only part-time hours."

 

Crowd at Chatswood Sydney Metro Station. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone
Crowd at Chatswood Sydney Metro Station. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone

 

"Child care continues to contribute to family pressure, the number of young adults living at home is on the up and there has been a significant increase in diagnosed depression and anxiety." The Melbourne University report, released on Tuesday, showed a substantial increase in depression diagnoses across all age groups, most notably in young people.

It also found incomes have stagnated and that's affecting the capacity of households to stimulate the economy.

"The income of someone in the middle has basically remained unchanged since 2012," Professor Roger Wilkins said.

"That was on the back of very substantial rises, particularly in the mid 2005 to 2009 range in particular, we saw very large increases in household incomes, but since 2012 there's been basically no growth." Stagnant incomes are affecting the ability of parents to find childcare, which is in turn affecting their ability to earn more.

"The costs of childcare are one really, really big factor, but there are other factors, so that parents find it difficult to find care for a sick child or to find care at short notice," Dr Inga Lass said.

The HILDA survey has been tracking 17,500 people in 9500 households since 2001, revealing insights about trends in Aussie families.

 

Pictured are Sydney commuters battling the wet weather in Surry Hills. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Pictured are Sydney commuters battling the wet weather in Surry Hills. Picture: Tim Hunter.

 

 

Data from the HILDA survey

* More women are employed than before, with 71 per cent of women in work in 2017

* Poverty has increased slightly, with 10.4 per cent below the relative poverty line, up from 9.6 per cent in the previous survey in 2016.

* The cost of childcare has risen about 145 per cent in real terms, from $62 in 2002/03 to $153 in 2016/17

* The majority of parents have experienced some sort of difficulty over the last 12 months when using or thinking about using child care

* All age groups have had a substantial increase in depression and anxiety diagnoses

* 20 per cent of women aged 15 to 34 reported being affected by depression or anxiety.

* One in four Australian couples include one person who was born overseas

* Australians now spend 4.5 hours a week commuting to and from work, up from 3.7 hours in 2002

* Young Australians aged 18 to 29 now predominantly live at home, with 56 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women in that age group living with their parents

* People whose parents report illicit drug use are more likely to use drugs themselves. A third of respondents whose mother reported a history of cannabis use have themselves used an illicit drug in the past year, compared to 12.7 per cent of those whose mother has reported no history of cannabis use.

SOURCE: The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.



GONE: Coffs Harbour merger pulls out before bowling a ball

premium_icon GONE: Coffs Harbour merger pulls out before bowling a ball

COFFS Harbour have pulled out of the North Coast Premier League.

Coffs Harbour's grandstand view to Elton John shows

premium_icon Coffs Harbour's grandstand view to Elton John shows

WIN: Premier seats to an Elton John Coffs Harbour concert.

Ratepayers to rally against $76.5 million development

premium_icon Ratepayers to rally against $76.5 million development

Opponents to the Civic and Culture Centre to meet on Tuesday.