CHANGING IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY TYPES
The number of families in Australia is projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2006 to between 8.0 and 8.2 million in 2031, representing growth of between 40% and 43%. Family households can contain more than one family, accounting for the greater number of families than family households. Of all family types, the number of couple families without children is projected to increase most rapidly over the period 2006 to 2031, increasing by between 57% and 77%.
Two of the three series project that the number of couple families without children will overtake the number of couple families with children and become the most common family type in Australia, in either 2014 (Series II) or 2013 (Series III). The growth in the number of couple only families is primarily related to the ageing of the population, with baby boomers becoming 'empty nesters' as their children leave home.
In Series I and II, the number of couple families with children is projected to increase over the projection period (by 32% and 19% respectively), while in Series III this family type is projected to decrease by 4%. In contrast, the number of one-parent families is projected to increase by between 40% and 77% over the 25-year period. In 2006, around four out of every five one-parent families (83%) were female one-parent families. This ratio is projected to remain at around the same level between 2006 and 2031.