4914.0.55.001 - Newsletter: Age Matters, Jun 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/07/2004   
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The following preliminary findings have been taken from the ABS publication
Household and Family Projections, Australia (cat. no. 3236.0), which was released on 18 June 2004. This publication presents projections of households, families and living arrangements from 2001 to 2026. The projections are based on assumptions about changing living arrangements of the population. Three series (I, II and III) have been produced.

Increase in number of households

The number of households in Australia is projected to increase from 7.4 million in 2001 to between 10.2 and 10.8 million in 2026, an increase of between 39% and 47%. This growth is faster than Australia's projected population growth of 25% for the same period.

Lone person households are projected to show the greatest percentage increase of all household types over the 25-year projection period. This is related to the ageing of the population and the fact that older women, in particular, are more likely to live alone than others. The number of lone person households is projected to increase by between 57% and 105%, from 1.8 million households in 2001 to between 2.8 million and 3.7 million households in 2026.

Average household size

The average household size in Australia is projected to decline from 2.6 people per household in 2001 to between 2.2 and 2.3 people per household in 2026. Australia's household size (2.5) in 2011 is projected to be smaller than New Zealand (2.6) and Japan (2.6), the same as the United States of America (2.5) and Canada (2.5), and larger than England (2.2).

Living arrangements of older people (aged 75 years and over)

In 2001 there were 1.1 million people aged 75 years and over in Australia, representing 6% of the total population. Over the period 2001 to 2026 this number is projected to more than double, to 2.5 million people (10% of Australia's population).

In 2001, 40% (447,000 people) of older Australians were living with a partner; 36% were partners in couple only families and 4% were partners in couple families with children. People living alone accounted for a further 34% (383,000) of older Australians while 13% (142,000) lived in non-private dwellings (NPDs).

By 2026 the number of older Australians living with a partner is projected to increase to between 957,000 and 1,200,000 people (39% and 49% of all people aged 75 years and over, respectively). The number of people living alone is projected to increase to between 844,000 and 962,000, accounting for between 34% and 39% of older Australians.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Matthew Montgomery (02) 6252 6487.