Early Years and Children

Good physical and emotional health in early childhood lays the foundations for positive health behaviours, wellbeing and learning throughout adolescence to adulthood.

This profile compares Wyndham to Victoria and Australia on early childhood demographics and health including breastfeeding, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) checks, bullying, and education.

For the purpose of the information below, the term 'Early Years and Children' means the years from birth to age 11. 

Population1

There are an estimated 21,381 infants and young children aged 0-4 years living in Wyndham. This age group is one of Wyndham’s largest, and has been steadily increasing from just over 8% of the population in 2006 to nearly 10% in 2016. Compared to Greater Melbourne, Wyndham has a proportionally larger population of early years children (9.85% and 6.40% respectively).  Furthermore, the percentage contribution of 0-4 year olds to the total overall population in Greater Melbourne has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years.

Total Population 0-4 years, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016
Percentage total population 0-4 years, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016

 

At the 2016 Census, there were over 24,400 5-11 year olds living in Wyndham, approximately 11.3% of Wyndham’s total population. As seen in the graph below, the proportion of children living in Wyndham is higher than across Greater Melbourne. Just over 8.5% of the population of Greater Melbourne are aged 5-11 years, compared to 11.3% of Wyndham’s population. This highlights the young age profile of Wyndham. The number of 5-11 year olds in Wyndham has almost doubled in the past 10 years; however the overall contribution to the population has remained at around 11%.

5-11 Year Olds Population, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016
Population 5-11 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016

 

Population Forecast2

Steady growth is forecast in the 0-4 year and 5-11 age groups between 2019 and 2041. In 2019, there are 27,961 0-4 year olds and 34,095 5-11 year olds in Wyndham. By 2041, 43,500 0-4 year olds and 58,412 5-11 year olds are forecast to live in Wyndham. These are increases of 56 and 32 per cent, respectively.

Both 0-4 year olds and 5-11 year olds will see declining growth rates over the forecast period. The bulk of the growth will have taken place by 2027 for 5-11 year olds, and by 2028 for 0-4 year olds.

Population forecast, 0-4 and 5-11 year olds, Wyndham, 2019-2041
Population forecast, 0-4 and 5-11 year olds, Wyndham, 2019-2041

According to the 2016 Census, there are 213 early years children in Wyndham who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.3 Young Indigenous residents account for approximately 1% of the total early year’s population, and 12.3% of the total Indigenous population.

There is a small Indigenous population of 5-11 year olds in Wyndham (284 people).4 At the 2016 Census, there were 278 people who identified as Aboriginal and 6 people that identified as Torres Strait Islander. In total, Indigenous children account for around 1.1% of the population of 5-11 year olds in Wyndham, and 16% of the total Indigenous population.

Country of Birth5

The vast majority of 0-4 year olds in Wyndham and Greater Melbourne were born in Australia (88% and 89% respectively). India and New Zealand were the top 2 most common countries of birth outside Australia amongst Wyndham and Greater Melbourne early years children. China and Pakistan also featured in the top 5 for each area.

 

Country of birth 0 to 4 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016
0 to 4 year old country of birth, 2016

5-11 year old children in Wyndham are more diverse than children across Greater Melbourne. In 2016, around 20% of Wyndham 5-11 year olds were born overseas, the top three countries being New Zealand, India and Thailand. Across Greater Melbourne, around 13% of 5-11 year olds were born overseas. The most common countries for Greater Melbourne children are India, New Zealand and England. 

 

Country of birth 5 to 11 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016
5 to 11 year olds country of birth, 2016

Parents country of birth6

A large proportion of early years children are first generation Australians. In 2016, 56% of Wyndham’s 0-4 year olds had both parents born overseas. In total, 69% had one or both parents born in a country other than Australia. In Greater Melbourne, just over half of all 0-4 year olds had one or both parents born overseas.

 

Parents country of birth 0 -4 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016
0 to 4 year olds parents country of birth, 2016

To highlight the cultural diversity of the Wyndham 5-11 year old population, the figure below identifies the proportion of children whose parents were born overseas. More than half of Wyndham 5-11 year olds had both parents born overseas, and over 60% had at least one parent born overseas. In comparison, only 31% of 5-11 year old parents across Greater Melbourne were both born overseas.

Proportion of 5 to 11 years olds with parent born overseas, 2016
Parents country of birth 5 to 11 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016

Language Spoken at Home

 

More than half of all 0-4 year olds in Wyndham speak English, however considering the cultural diversity amongst their parents, it is likely a number of these children are bilingual. According to the 2016 Census, around 30% of 0-4 year olds can speak another language in addition to English to varying degrees.7 Punjabi and Mandarin are the two most commonly spoken languages other than English amongst Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 0-4 year olds.

Language spoken at home 0 to 4 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016
0 to 4 year olds language spoken at home, 2016

 

 

Compared to Greater Melbourne, a smaller proportion of Wyndham's 5-11 year olds speak English at home. This may be due to the high proportion of parents born outside Australia speaking their native language to their children. Languages originating in India, including Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are the most common in Wyndham, while Mandarin, Arabic and Vietnamese are common across Greater Melbourne.

Language spoken at home 5-11 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016
5 to 11 year olds language spoken at home, 2016

It is more common for early years children in Wyndham to be affiliated with a religion through their families, compared to early years children across Greater Melbourne. Christianity is the most popular religion across both areas, while Hinduism and Islam are popular in Wyndham. At the 2016 Census, 13% of 0-4 year olds were affiliated with the Hindu religion, and 11% with Islam.8 Interestingly, 38% of 0-4 year olds across Greater Melbourne are not affiliated with any religion compared to 26% in Wyndham.

0-4 year old religious affiliation, 2016
Religious affiliation 0-4 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016

 

At the 2016 Census, 9% of 5-11 year olds were affiliated with the Hindu religion, and 12% with Islam. 32% of 5-11 year olds across Greater Melbourne are not affiliated with any religion compared to 23% in Wyndham.9

5-11 year olds religion, 2016
Religious affiliation 5-11 year olds, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 2016

As shown in the figure below, a smaller proportion of babies are breastfed at 3 months of age in Wyndham compared to Victoria wide. Between 2010 and 2015, less than half of Wyndham mothers were continuing to breastfeed beyond three months. Over the five-year period from 2010/11 to 2014/15, on average 41.6% three-month-old babies were breastfed in Wyndham compared with 51.5% Victoria wide.

Breastfeeding, 2010/11 to 2014/15
Proportion of three-month-old babies in Wyndham and Victoria breastfeeding, 2010/11 to 2014/1510

As shown in the graph below, over 93% of children aged 60-63 months in Wyndham have their immunisations up to date. Compared to children of other ages, those aged 24 to 27 months were the least likely to be fully immunised. Overall, Wyndham is below the State average and the natioanl benchmark according to the most recent data (2018).

Immunisations, 2016 to 2017
Immunisations, Wyndham and Victoria 2010 to 201511
Image of mothers walking with babies

As shown in the figure below, Wyndham’s Maternal Child and Health (MCH) checks for 3.5 year olds have increased significantly from 2013 to 2017. In 2013 and 2014, less than half of all 3.5 year olds in Wyndham attended their MCH visit, compared to over 60% of children Victoria wide. Wyndham MCH visits have increased considerably from 52.9% of 3.5 year olds attending in 2013, to 63.9% in 2017. Despite this, a smaller proportion of Wyndham children attended their health check in 2017 when compared to children Victoria wide.

Maternal Child and Health Checks, 2013 to 2017
Maternal Child and Health Checks, Wyndham and Victoria 2013 to 201712
Image of Mother and Daughter

As shown in the graph below, there were slightly larger proportions of children with emotional or behavioural difficulties in Wyndham compared to Victoria wide between 2013 and 2017. In 2015, the gap between Wyndham and Victoria closed, and in each location 4.6% of children had an emotional or behavioural difficulty. In 2017, there was a smaller proportion of children in Wyndham with emotional or behavioural difficulties (4.2%) than across Victoria (4.9%). 

Emotional or Behavioural Difficulties at Primary School Entry, 2013 to 2017
Emotional or Behavioural Difficulties at Primary School Entry, Wyndham and Victoria 2013 to 201713

As shown in the graph below, 21% of Year 5 and 6 students in Wyndham had experienced bullying in 2017, compared with 19.5% in Victoria. In Wyndham, a larger proportion of Year 5 and 6 students had been bullied compared to Year 7 to 9 students. In contrast, Victorian Year 7 to 9 students experienced proportionally higher levels of bullying compared to Year 5 and 6 students.

Bullying, 2012 to 2017
Bullying, Wyndham and Victoria 2012 to 201714

As shown in the graphs below, there was a larger proportion of Wyndham year 3 and 5 students who were not reaching the national benchmarks for literacy and numeracy in 2017 compared to students across Victoria. The largest achievement gap was for year 3 literacy, where 6.6% of Wyndham students did not meet benchmarks, compared to 4.2% of students Victoria wide.

Literacy

NAPLAN literacy results year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham and Victoria, 2017
NAPLAN literacy results, Wyndham and Victoria, 201715

Numeracy

NAPLAN numeracy results year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham and Victoria, 2017
NAPLAN numeracy results, Wyndham and Victoria, 201716

Between 2008 and 2017 Wyndham Year 3 students' literacy and numeracy has remained large stable with some ups and downs. Meanwhile, Year 5 students' literacy and numeracy has improved. That is, a lower proportion do not meet national benchmarks in 2017 than in 2008.

In 2008, 6.5 per cent of Year 3 students did not meet literacy benchmarks. By 2017 this increased by the smallest margin to 6.6 per cent. Year 5 students' literacy improved markedly, with 6.1 per cent of students not achieving benchmark literacy levels in 2017, compared with 11.4 per cent in 2007.8.2 and 10.2 per cent of Year 7 and Year 9 students not meeting literacy benchmarks, respectively.

As for numeracy, Year 3 students' performance decreased slightly. In 2007 4.7 per cent of students did not meet numeracy benchmarks compared with 5.6 per cent in 2017. Year 5 students' results improved significantly, with only 4.7 per cent of students not achieving benchmark numeracy levels, compared with 9.1 per cent in 2008.

Literacy

NAPLAN literacy results for Year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham, 2008-2017
NAPLAN literacy results for Year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham, 2008-2017

Numeracy

NAPLAN numeracy results for Year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham, 2008-2017
NAPLAN numeracy results for Year 3 and 5 students, Wyndham, 2008-2017

The Australian Early Development Census

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a full-population census of children’s health and development in their first year of full-time school. It measures children's developmental vulnerability along five key domains.

The latest AEDC results indicate that Wyndham is the municipality with the largest number of children who are developmentally at risk. A total of 1,016 children are developmentally vulnerable on at least one of the five domains, which is  comparable with Casey (1,018) and ahead of Hume (898) Whittlesea (619) and Geelong (585). 

Overall, almost one in four children in Wyndham are developmentally vulnerable on at least one domain (23.2%), compared with less than one in five (19.9%) Victoria-wide. Across two or more domains 11.7 per cent of children are vulnerable, compared with 10.1 per cent of children in Victoria.

There are higher proportions of developmentally vulnerable children in Wyndham compared to Victoria across all five AEDC areas. As shown in the graph below, Wyndham children are most vulnerable in the social competence and communication skills domains (10.5% and 10% vulnerability rates respectively), followed by physical health (9%), emotional maturity (8.2%) and language (7.6%).

 

AEDC Results across all five domains, Wyndham and Victoria, 2018
AEDC Results, Wyndham, Victoria and Australia, 201817

Within Wyndham AEDC results differ by suburb as the table below shows.

When looking at developmental vulnerability on at least one dimension, Wyndham Vale has the highest proportion of vulnerable children with 25.5 per cent. This is followed closely by Williams Landing (24.8%) and Hoppers Crossing (24.1%). The suburb with the lowest proportion of developmentally vulnerable children is Point Cook, with 19.7 per cent of children being vulnerable on at least one dimension. Wyndham Vale also has the largest proportion of children vulnerable along at least two dimensions (14.3%), followed by Williams Landing (12.8%) and Truganina (12%).

Along the physical wellbeing domain, suburbs with the highest proportion of vulnerable children are WIlliams Landing (11.3%) and Wyndham Vale (9.9%). Children in Point Cook (7.4%) and Hoppers Crossing (7.8%) are the least developmentally vulnerable along this domain.

Along the social competence domain, suburbs with the highest proportion of vulnerable children are Wyndham Vale (13.9%) and Williams Landing (11.3%). Children in Hoppers Crossing (7.2%) and Werribee (9.2%) are the least developmentally vulnerable along this domain.

Along the emotional domain, the suburbs' results are close, with Williams Landing (9.9%) having the largest proportion of developmentally vulnerable children, and Tarneit the lowest (6.7%).

Along the language domain, suburbs with the highest proportion of vulnerable children are Werribee (9.6%) and Hoppers Crossing (9.3%), and the lowest in Point COok (5.3%).

Along the communication domain, Tarneit and Hoppers Crossing both have the equal highest proportion of developmentally vulnerable children (10.9%), and Point Cook the lowest (8.3%).

AEDC Results by suburb, 2018

Physical health and wellbeing Social competence Emotional maturity Language and cognitive skills Communication skills and general knowledge Developmentally vulnerable on at least one domain Developmentally vulnerable on at least two domains
Hoppers Crossing 7.8% 7.2% 8.9% 9.3% 10.9% 24.1% 11%
Point Cook 7.4% 10.5% 8.1% 5.3% 8.3% 19.7% 10.2%
Tarneit 9.1% 9.5% 6.7% 7.8% 10.9% 23% 10.7%
Truganina 8.4% 10.6% 8.3% 7.4% 10.1% 23.4% 12%
Werribee 8.8% 9.2% 7.4% 9.6% 9.8% 23.7% 11.2%
Williams Landing 11.3% 11.3% 9.9% 8.5% 9.2% 24.8% 12.8%
Wyndham Vale 9.9% 13.9% 8.8% 8.8% 9.5% 25.5% 14.3%

The School Entrant Health Questionnaire

The School Entrant Health Questionnaire (SEHQ) is a parent report instrument that records parent’s concerns and observations about their child’s health and wellbeing as they commence at Victorian primary schools. In the 2019 SEHQ, responses were collected from parents regarding 4,311 children in Wyndham. 

Overall, a comparable proportion of children in Wyndham were reported to be in excellent or very good health (83.2%) than Metropolitan Melbourne (83.0%) and Victoria (83.6%).18 As shown in the figure below, the percentage of children reported to have allergies (7.3%) or to have been told by a doctor they have asthma (8.6%) was lower than Metropolitan Melbourne (8.4% and 10.0% respectively) and Victoria (8.3% and 10.6% respectively). However, there was a higher percentage of parents (18.3%) concerned about their child's oral health (eg, teeth, gums etc) than in Metropolitan Melbourne (15.6%) and Victoria (15.3%). 

2019 SEHQ health results for Wyndham, Metro Vic and Vic
SEHQ Health Results, Wyndham, Metro Vic and Vic 201919

 

Image of girls painting
Young boy at party
Group of children using a computer