Notes on the data: Education

Full-time participation in secondary school education at age 16, 2011


Policy context:  Education increases opportunities for choice of occupation and for income and job security, and also equips people with the skills and ability to control many aspects of their lives - key factors that influence wellbeing throughout the life course. Young people completing Year 12 are more likely to make a successful initial transition to further education, training and work than early leavers. There is greater risk of poor transitions or mixed outcomes for those who have disabilities, lower levels of literacy or numeracy, or come from a family with a lower socioeconomic status [1]. Participation in schooling is also a major protective factor across a range of risk factors, including substance misuse, unemployment and homelessness.

Note that the extent to which those who have left school at this age to enter the labour force is not accounted for in these data - see Learning and Earning at ages 15 to 19.


  1. Dale R. Early school leaving - lessons from research for policy makers. (Report on behalf of the Network of Experts in Social Sciences and Education (NESSE)). Paris, France: European Commission; 2010.

Notes:  As data covering all sectors (government, non-government, Catholic and independent) are not available at the small area level from State and Territory education authorities, the data used in this analysis are from the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Population Census. As such they are not official estimates of participation at age 16 in full-time secondary education. However, they are useful in showing the extent of variations between areas, by socioeconomic status and by remoteness.

The data exclude the 4.1% of people whose participation in secondary school education at age 16 was not stated. (The proportion excluded was calculated based on the Australian data.)


Numerator:  16 year olds in full-time secondary school education


Denominator:  Population aged 16 years


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census 2011 data.


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