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How life has changed for Australians during the coronavirus pandemic (and how it hasn’t)

3AW Breakfast

New research has revealed how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of Australians.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies research found while some huge changes have occurred, some of the things that were expected to change have remained the same.

Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Anne Hollands, said the biggest change was the return of adult children to their parents’ homes.

One-in-five 50 to 59-year-olds surveyed said their adult children had returned to the family home since the pandemic hit.

“There’s been a boomerang back to the nest of the under-30 year olds,” she said.

“Of course we know that they’ve been massively disrupted with losing their jobs, losing income, so they’ve really had to ask for a lot of help during this time.

“Families have done a lot of the heavy lifting and this is one example.”

While many have been working from home and 70 per cent of parents have been supervising children around the clock, the gendered division of household chores and labour has not changed markedly.

Prior to the pandemic, 54 per cent of women reported ‘always or usually’ caring for children. This figure has dropped by just two per cent to 52 per cent since the pandemic began.

Similarly, 43 per cent of household reported female partners ‘always or usually’ did the housework prior to COVID-19, while this number was 41 per cent during the pandemic.

Ms Hollands said the findings were surprising.

“We can say from this survey … it didn’t change and in fact these patterns are pandemic resistant,” Ms Hollands said.

“I think it’ll be interesting to watch what happens in the months and years ahead. This is a massive disruption to our lives and it does have the potential to shift how we think about how we’re living.”

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