Family formation and ethnicity

A report using Australian Family Formation Project data


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Content type
Research report

June 1985

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Author uses data from the first-phase survey of the Australian Family Formation Project, a longitudinal survey of Australians aged 18 to 34 years conducted by the Institute of Family Studies in 1981- 82.

The paper gives a broad picture of the role of the family among the major migrant groups in Australia, with comparisons between the foreign-born grouped according to their region of origin, and the Australian born. Findings are presented on issues such as: leaving home; relationship patterns and sexual experience during adolescence; marriage; and child bearing. General attitudes of respondents to male and female roles, the major pressures they were experiencing in their lives, and their views of the future are also explored. The report concludes with an assessment of the main findings and of the effectiveness of the AFF Project survey questionnaire, and with recommendations for the structuring of future surveys.


  • Foreword
  • List of Tables
  • Introduction
  • 1 Methodology
    • Scope of the analysis
    • Distribution of the sample
  • 2 Characteristics of the Respondents
    • Age
    • Marital status
    • Location
    • Education
    • Work status
    • Family income
    • Religion
    • Summary
  • 3 Family Background
    • Household size and composition
    • Family history
  • 4 Leaving Horne
    • Proportion leaving at age 18 or earlier
    • Reasons for leaving horne
    • Living arrangements after leaving horne
    • Destination after leaving horne
    • Contact with parents after leaving horne
    • Attitudes to living with parents
  • 5 Relationships
    • Relationship patterns during adolescence
    • Sex life patterns
    • De facto relationships
  • 6 Marriage
    • 1981 Census: proportions married
    • Australian Family Formation Project: proportions married
    • Marital stability
    • Choice of partner
    • The proper time to marry
    • Attitudes
  • 7 Child Bearing
    • Fertility and desired family size
    • Having children: preferences, pressures and reasons
    • Child care
  • 8 Respondents' General Attitudes
    • Attitudes to sex roles
    • Major life pressures
    • Attitude to the future
  • 9 Discussion
    • Differences between the groups
    • Similarities between the groups
  • 10 Recommendations
    • Further analysis of the AFF Project survey data
    • Questions for future surveys
  • Appendices
  • List of References
  • Institute of Family Studies - Original Data Collection
  • Australian Family Formation Project

Australian Family Formation Project-1981-82 IFS Survey A longitudinal survey of Australians aged 18 to 34 years conducted by the Institute of Family Studies in 1981-82.

The Australian Family Formation Project team comprised D.E. Edgar, H. Glezer, C. Kilmartin, P. McDonald, A. Prolisko, D.E. Stewart, D. Storer and T. Tremayne


Khoo, S. (19). Family formation and ethnicity: A report using Australian Family Formation Project data (Working Paper No. 9). Melbourne: Institute of Family Studies.