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2914.0.55.002 - 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media Releases and Fact Sheets, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2007  First Issue
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MEDIA FACT SHEET
June 27, 2007
Embargoed 9.30 am (AEST)
70/2007
Census: one in eight Australians lives alone


Lone-person and group households
  • Around one in every eight Australians who lived in a private dwelling lived alone (12% or 1.8 million people), according to the 2006 Census results. One-person households represented about 23% of all households in Australia. Adults who lived alone were on average older than adults who lived in other households – the median age of an adult living in a one-person household was 56 years, compared to a median age of 43 years for adults living in all types of household. This is consistent with many of these householders being older people living alone after the death of their spouse or partner.
  • Just over one quarter of all households in Adelaide (27%) and Hobart (26%) were one-person households, a higher proportion than in other capital cities. The older age profiles of these cities will have contributed to these higher proportions.
  • There were just under 281,000 group households* in Australia, or 4% of all households. Around 4% of Australians over the age of 15 lived in group households. Group household members tended to be young on average – the median age of an adult living in a group household was 28 years.

Unpartnered people**
  • In 2006, around 4.6 million people aged 20 years and over in Australia were unpartnered – they were not living with a partner or a spouse. Just under 55% of unpartnered people had never been married, and the remaining 45% had been previously married and since divorced, separated or widowed, or were living separately from their marriage partner. A substantially higher proportion of unpartnered women (55%) had been separated, divorced or widowed, or were living separately, compared to unpartnered men (33%).
  • There were six unpartnered men who had never been married for every five unpartnered women never married.
  • Unpartnered people who had previously been married or were living separately were more likely than those unpartnered people who had never been married to be a lone parent (29% and 8% respectively) or live in a lone-person household (52% and 27% respectively). Unpartnered people who have never been married were more likely to live in a family household (49%), including young people living with their parents.

* The definition of a group household is: a household consisting of 2 or more unrelated people where all people are over the age of 15. There are no reported couple, parent/child or other blood relationships in these households.
** Unpartnered people are persons over 20 years who did not state that they were living with husband/wife, or did not state that they were living in a defacto relationship.

NB: The figures in this fact sheet exclude overseas visitors. Where an answer to a question has not been provided (i.e. not stated) these occurrences form a separate category in the data and therefore some percentages do not total to 100%.

Source: ABS 2006 Census.

Table 1. One-person and group households, occupied private dwellings, 1996 Census - 2006 Census

2006
1996
Change 1996-2006
('000)
%
('000)
%
('000)
%

One-person household
1 740.5
22.9
1 432.8
22.1
307.7
21.5
Group household
280.9
3.7
266.0
4.1
14.8
5.6
Total occupied private dwellings(a)
7 596.2
6 496.1
1 100.1
16.9

(a) Total occupied private dwellings includes other household types not listed.

Table 2. One-person and group households, persons aged 15 years and over, 1996 Census - 2006 Census

2006
1996
Change 1996-2006
Median age
of persons
('000)
%
('000)
%
('000)
%

One-person household
56
1 833.5
11.5
1 513.0
10.9
320.6
21.2
Group household
28
632.0
4.0
627.5
4.5
4.5
0.7
Total population(a)
43
15 918.1
13 914.9
2 003.2
14.4

(a) Total occupied private dwellings includes other household types not listed.

Table 3. 2006 Census: One-person and group households, % of all occupied private dwellings, capital city(a)

Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane
Adelaide
Perth
Hobart
Darwin
Canberra
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

One-person households
21.6
22.6
21.2
27.1
23.6
26.4
19.5
22.1
Group households
3.9
4.2
4.8
3.5
3.6
3.7
5.1
5.1

(a) Capital City Statistical Division.

Table 4. 2006 Census: Unpartnered persons(a), by registered marital status

Male
Female
Persons
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

never married
1 391.4
66.8
1 127.2
44.9
2 518.7
54.8
widowed, divorced, separated
690.6
33.2
1 385.1
55.1
2 075.7
45.2
Total unpartnered persons
2 082.1
100.0
2 512.3
100.0
4 594.4
100.0

(a) Unpartnered people are persons over 20 years who did not state that they were living with husband/wife, or did not state that they were living in a defacto relationship. Therefore, the 'widowed, divorced or separated' category includes people who may have been married but were living separately. Where a persons social and/or registered marital status was unknown they were excluded from this category.

Table 5. 2006 Census: Living arrangements and age of unpartnered persons(a)

Lone parent
Related or
unrelated
person
in family
household
Group household member
Lone person
Total
%
%
%
%
%

Marital status
widowed, divorced, separated
29.3
12.3
6.0
52.4
100.0
never married
8.2
48.6
16.7
26.5
100.0
Age
20-34 years
9.0
56.3
18.8
15.9
100.0
35-64 years
29.5
17.8
8.6
44.0
100.0
65 years and over
11.7
12.1
4.2
72.0
100.0

(a) Unpartnered people are persons over 20 years who did not state that they were living with husband/wife, or did not state that they were living in a defacto relationship. Therefore, the 'widowed, divorced or separated' category includes people who may have been married but were living separately. Where a persons social and/or registered marital status was unknown they were excluded from this category.

Table 6. 2006 Census: Number and proportion of students aged 15-34 years, by living arrangement

15-24 years
25-34 years
Total
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

Group household member
99.4
48.4
39.0
21.8
138.5
70.2
Other living arrangements
1 293.4
51.8
259.3
10.4
1 552.7
62.1
Total
1 392.9
51.5
298.3
11.1
1 691.2
62.7


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