As Australians we are, on the whole, better educated and living longer than a decade ago according to the latest national welfare report card from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

But while most Australians at all ages are doing relatively well, some members of some groups are faring less well. Some Indigenous Australians and some of those who are homeless, have disability, a mental illness, or experience domestic violence, are among those who may need to draw on welfare services and payments to help them fully participate in all facets of life.

Acting AIHW Director Ms Kerry Flanagan said that 1 in 37 children are receiving child protection services.

"Around two million Australians, mostly women, have experienced partner violence since the age of 15, youth unemployment exceeds 13%, and there's been little improvement in the proportion of young people who are not fully engaged in employment, education or training," she said.

Key points of the report relating to children:

  • In 2013–14, about 143,000 children aged 0–17 received child protection services. Indigenous children were over-represented among these children.
  • Around 28% of the population was born overseas (6.6 million people), with the largest number (1.2 million) being born in the United Kingdom, followed by New Zealand, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.
  • In 2013–14, a total of 39,716 individual Indigenous children received child protection services. This corresponds to a rate of 137 per 1,000 Indigenous children, which is 7 times the rate for non-Indigenous children (19 per 1,000).
  • With more Australians participating in the workforce, more families are relying on child care—almost half of all Australian children aged 0–12 (1.8 million children) regularly attended either formal or informal child care in 2014. Families are more likely to use grandparents for informal care than other types of care.
  • On Census night 2011, just over 105,200 people in Australia were considered to be homeless, up from 89,700 in 2006. 17 per cent were under 12 years old.

The Institute's report, Australia's welfare 2015, was released in Canberra on 20 August by federal Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.