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Disadvantaged among Australian young mothers


  • Bruce Bradbury

    () (University of New South Wales)


Young mothers are one of the most disadvantaged groups in Australian society. This paper documents this disadvantage and shows how the relative disadvantage of young mothers has increased over time. Almost all teenage mothers and most mothers in their early 20s are reliant upon income support payments and both groups have low levels of education. By the time they are in their early 30s, women who were young mothers are less likely to be partnered, if partnered are more likely to have a low-income partner, and are less likely to be purchasing their own home. This concentration of disadvantage has increased over the last 20 years. The main reasons for this disadvantage lie in the factors that determine fertility at young ages rather than via the effect of young motherhood per se. Nonetheless, young motherhood is a strong signal of disadvantage, which should be used in the targeting of services to disadvantaged mothers and their children.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Bradbury, 2006. "Disadvantaged among Australian young mothers," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 9(2), pages 147-171, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:9:y:2006:i:2:p:149-171

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bradbury, Bruce, 2006. "The impact of young motherhood on education, employment and marriage," MPRA Paper 1419, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Living Standards; Fertility; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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