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Ryan Sheales
(Media office)
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For Interview
Associate Professor Roger Wilkins
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Australia's largest household survey has revealed that retirees are dependent on government benefits, men are doing dramatically less housework than women and that 'female breadwinners' are on the rise.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey — produced by the University of Melbourne — is Australia's only large-scale, nationally representative longitudinal household survey. 

Since 2001, the same group of roughly 17,000 Australians has been interviewed annually to create a 'moving picture' of how their lives are changing.

The latest HILDA Survey report contains findings on:

• Weight gain
Married Australian men tend to be more overweight than single blokes, although age remains the largest factor determining weight gain.

Household labour
Australian women are still doing dramatically more housework than their boyfriends and husbands. Both mums and dads, however, continue to be the nation's unheralded "economic powerhouses".

Female earnings
Australia has experienced a slight rise in the proportion of married couples where the female out earns the man.

Government handouts
Australians are working longer and becoming less dependent on government handouts when they retire, but these benefits remain the major source of income for retirees.

The report’s editor and co-author, Associate Professor Roger Wilkins — from the University's Melbourne Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research — said HILDA provides policymakers with invaluable insights.

“The HILDA Survey helps explain how the lives of Australians are changing," he said.

"Researchers will use this data to produce more comprehensive reports on specific areas of social and economic policy, informing the decisions of policymakers."

The HILDA Survey was initiated, and is funded, by the Australian Government through the Department of Social Services.

(Thumbnail image: 'National day'. Ling, Yong Xiong. 2006.)