Australian Bureau of Statistics
4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2005
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2005
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Future Living Arrangements
Household and family projections
Source: Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2001 to 2026 (ABS cat. no. 3236.0).
SERIES I, II AND III
The ABS uses trends in the proportions of people in different living arrangements over the last four censuses to develop projections of households and families. These trends are projected forward and applied to the projected population (Series B) to produce numbers of households and families to 2026 (Series I, II and III). In Series I, it is assumed that the proportion of people in specific living arrangements (such as one-parent families) will remain constant from 2001 to 2026. Series III assumes that the rate of change seen between 1986 and 2001 will continue through to 2026. Series II assumes the rate of change in living arrangement propensities will be greater than series I but not as great as series III.
In 2001, Australia had 7.4 million households with an average size of 2.6 persons per household. In 2026 Australia is projected to have between 10.2 and 10.8 million households (Series I and Series III respectively) with a decrease in average household size to between 2.2 and 2.3 persons per household.
Most of the change from 2001 to 2026 is projected to be in the numbers of people living alone and the numbers of family households. As living in a group household tends to be a temporary arrangement, these households are expected to account for a small proportion of the population (between 3% and 4%). Also, with current government policy encouraging people to live in their own homes as they age (endnote 2), the proportion of people living in non-private dwellings is also projected to remain low (between 1% and 2%).
TYPES OF HOUSEHOLDS
LONE PERSON HOUSEHOLDS
The number of people living alone is projected to increase from 1.8 million in 2001 to between 2.8 million (Series I) and 3.7 million (Series III) in 2026 - an increase of between 57% and 105%. This large projected increase is related to rapid population growth in older age groups, delayed marriage and increase in divorce and separation.
In all three series, women account for more than half of the number of people living alone (between 54% in Series III and 59% in Series I). This reflects the greater number of women than men in older age groups as a result of womens' longer life expectancy. While women are more likely to live alone in old age, men have a tendency to live alone in younger age groups. The effects of separation and divorce, where men are less likely to be the resident parent (see Australian Social Trends 2003, Changing families) contributes to the numbers of younger men who live alone. In 2001, men and women aged 65 and over comprised 37% of lone person households. This proportion is expected to increase to between 41% (Series III) and 50% (Series I).
PEOPLE LIVING IN LONE PERSON HOUSEHOLDS
Between 2001 and 2026 the number of family households is projected to increase more slowly (by between 27% and 33%) than the number of households (by 39% to 47%). The difference is related to faster growth in lone person households. The number of families in Australia is projected to increase from 5.3 million in 2001 to between 6.8 and 7.1 million in 2026 (using Series III and Series I respectively. However, there are substantial differences by family type across the three projection series.
Between 2001 and 2026 the number of couple families with children is projected to increase only slowly in Series I and Series II but to decrease in Series III. This reflects the assumption in Series III that we will continue to move away from this family type at the same rate of change as we have from 1986 to 2001, more quickly than in Series I and II. Conversely, couples without children are projected to increase quite rapidly from 1.9 million in 2001 to between 2.9 and 3.3 million in 2026. This increase in couple only families is in part related to the movement of the ‘baby boom’ cohort into the older age groups where their children are likely to have left home.
The proportion of Australians living in a couple family with children is projected to decrease from 52% in 2001 to between 35% (Series III) and 46% (Series I) by 2026. Conversely, the proportion of Australians living as couples without children is projected to increase from 20% in 2001 to between 25% (Series I) and 28% (Series III) by 2026. The proportion of people living in one-parent families (12% in 2001) is projected to decrease slightly in Series I (10%), to stay the same in Series II (12%), but to increase in Series III (15%).
These projections are not only a reflection of the ageing population but also of couples having no children or smaller families, resulting in people spending more time living in couple only families both before and after they have children. An increase in marital break up and one-parent families also results in a decline in couple families with children.
TYPES OF FAMILIES
PEOPLE LIVING IN COUPLE FAMILIES
PEOPLE LIVING IN ONE-PARENT FAMILIES
HOUSEHOLDS IN STATES AND TERRITORIES
One-parent families are projected to increase by between 29% and 63% from 838,000 families in 2001 to between 1.1 million (Series I) and 1.4 million (Series III) in 2026. In 2001, the number of female one-parent families was around five times that of male one-parent families and this relativity is projected to continue.
In 2001, over half of one-parent families were lone parents living with at least one child aged less than 15 years (58%). Other one-parent families included those with older dependent children (i.e. those aged 15-24 and still in full-time education) or much older children living with their aged parent. In 2001, the lone parent in 13% of one-parent families was aged 65 years or over and many in this group would be older parents living with their adult children.
In 2001, there were 2.2 million people in Australia living in one-parent families. This is projected to increase to between 2.5 million and 3.6 million people by 2026, an increase from 11% to 15% of the population. The number of female lone parents is projected to increase from 698,000 in 2001 to between 894,000 and 1.1 million in 2026 - an increase of between 28% and 64%.
The number of children aged 0-14 years in Australia is projected to decrease slightly (from around 4.0 million in 2001 to 3.8 million in 2026 using Series B projections).
The number of children aged 0-14 years living in two-parent families is projected to decrease in all three series (from 3.2 million in 2001 to between 2.5 million and 3.1 million in 2026). In 2001, there were 745,000 children aged 0-14 in one-parent families. In Series I this number is projected to decline to around 707,000, while in Series II and III the number is projected to increase to between 875,000 and 1.3 million respectively.
The states and territories which are projected to experience high population growth between 2001 and 2026 are also projected to have faster household growth. Queensland is projected to have the fastest household growth from 1.4 million households in 2001 to between 2.3 and 2.4 million households in 2026 (an increase of between 63% and 76%). Western Australia is projected to experience the second highest household growth in Australia increasing from 724,000 households in 2001 to between 1.1 and 1.2 million households in 2026 (an increase of between 49% and 60%).
Tasmania’s household growth is projected to be the slowest of all states and territories from 192,000 in 2001 to between 215,000 and 236,000 (an increase of between 12% and 23%), reflecting the longer-term population decline projected for the state.
1 Department of Family and Community Services <http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/aboutfacs/whatwedo.htm>, accessed 23 November 2004.
2 Department of Health and Ageing, <http://www.health.gov.au/>, accessed 6 June 2005.
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