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Family Matters No. 64 - May 2003

Polarisation of families according to work status

Jennifer Renda

Abstract

Over the last two decades there has been much discussion about changing employment patterns in Australia, and the effect such changes have on families. One of the major trends in the Australian labour market over recent years has been an increase in the number of families with children in which no parent is employed ('work poor' or 'jobless' families) and families in which two parents are employed ('work rich'). This article examines how the rapid growth in part time employment has contributed to the growing polarisation of families into 'work poor'and 'work rich' categories.

Over the last two decades there has been much discussion about changing employment patterns in Australia, and the effect such changes have on families. One of the major trends in the Australian labour market over recent years has been an increase in the number of families with children in which no parent is employed ('work poor' or 'jobless' families) and families in which two parents are employed ('work rich'). This article examines how the rapid growth in part time employment has contributed to the growing polarisation of families into 'work poor'and 'work rich' categories.

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