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3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2001   
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Special Article - Who'll be Home Alone in 2021? (Jun, 1999)


This article was published in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 1999 (ABS Catalogue number 3101.0)

EMBARGO: 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) WED 8 DECEMBER 1999


LIVING ALONE INCREASINGLY COMMON

Living alone is projected to be an increasingly common living arrangement in Australia. ABS Household and Family Projections (Cat. no. 3236.0) indicate that there could be as many as 2.4 million to 3.4 million people living alone by the year 2021, an increase of between 52% and 113%, from the 1996 level of 1.6 million. This large projected increase in the number of people living alone reflects projected changes in the size and age structure of the population by 2021, and changes in living arrangement trends over time.

PROJECTED NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIVING ALONE

JUNE 1996
JUNE 2021
% of the population aged 15 years and over
Series A
% of the population aged 15 years and over
Series B
% of the population aged 15 years and over
Series C
% of the population aged 15 years and over
    Lone persons
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

    Women
876.5
6.1
1,412.2
7.4
1,548.9
8.2
1,817.5
9.6
    Men
711.7
4.9
995.7
5.2
1,183.9
6.2
1,557.6
8.2
    Total
1,588.2
11.0
2,408.0
12.6
2,732.8
14.4
3,375.1
17.8


The number of people projected to live alone varies between each of the three projection series. The three series are based on varying assumptions about trends in living arrangements. In Series A the pattern of living arrangements of individuals is the same as in 1996. Thus any difference between the number of people living alone in 1996 and 2021 in Series A is solely a result of the change in the size and age structure of the projected population.

In Series B and C, recent trends in the patterns of living arrangements are incorporated into the projections. In Series B the average annual rate of change in living arrangements experienced between 1986 and 1996 is applied in reducing levels (in full between 1996 and 2001, in fractions to 2011, and is then held constant to 2021). In Series C the rate of change experienced between 1986 and 1996 is applied in full throughout the projection period.


LONE WOMEN GENERALLY OLDER

More women live alone than men although the age profile of lone women differs from that of lone men. For women, living alone peaks in the older age groups. In 1996, 51% of lone women were aged over 65 years. This proportion is projected to be 58% in Series A, 54% in Series B, and 46% in Series C. The three series also differ in terms of the proportion of younger women who live alone. Women aged 40-59 years are projected to represent 19% of women living alone in Series A, 22% in Series B, and 27% in Series C in 2021, compared with 21% in 1996.

WOMEN LIVING ALONE



LONE MEN YOUNGER

Lone men tend to be much younger than lone women and outnumber women in the younger age groups (aged below 50 years). In 1996 the peak age group for lone men was 30-34 years with less than one-quarter (23%) aged over 65 years. In Series A, the ageing and increasing size of the projected population is likely to push the peak age group for lone men to between 60 and 64 years. In this series it is projected that almost one-third (30%) of lone men will be aged over 65 years.

Series B and C show an increasing trend for men to live alone in most age groups. Like Series A the largest increases are projected to occur in the older age groups, particularly among men aged 60-69. Series B and C project a further peak in the 35-39 year age group for men to live alone. Only one-quarter (25%) of lone men in Series C are projected to be over 65 years of age.

MEN LIVING ALONE



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