Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
3236.0 - Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2031 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/06/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Chapter 2 Assumptions >> PROJECTED LIVING ARRANGEMENT PROPENSITIES

PROJECTED LIVING ARRANGEMENT PROPENSITIES

Changes in living arrangement propensities between the 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses varied according to age group. Analysis of trends was conducted for each 5-year age group, with the following commentary focusing on past and projected trends of selected 5-year age groups within broader age ranges. Note that in the following discussion, 2006 Census propensities are presented in relation to past trends, while 2006 reconciled propensities are used in relation to future trends. Projected propensities for Series I are not discussed as they remain constant at 2006 levels, for the entire projection period.


Children aged 0-14 years

While the majority of children in Australia aged 0-14 years live with two parents, the last four Censuses reveal that the proportion has declined over time. Although the proportion of children aged 0-4 years in two-parent families increased slightly between 2001 and 2006 (from 84% to 85%), a declining proportion over the longer term is apparent (from 88% in 1991). Conversely, the proportion of children aged 0-4 years living in one-parent families increased from 11% in 1991 to 15% in 2006, but remained relatively steady between 1996 and 2006.

Series II, in which the rate of change observed over the past four Censuses is assumed to continue at a gradually reducing rate, projects that 84% of children aged 0-4 years will be living in two-parent families by 2031 and 16% living in one-parent families. In Series III the historical rate of change is maintained over the projection period, with the proportion of children aged 0-4 years living in two-parent families decreasing to 80% by 2031 and the proportion living in one-parent families increasing to 20%.

The proportion of children living in two-parent families decreases as children get older, and conversely the proportion living in one-parent families increases. In 2006, 85% of 0-4 year olds lived in two-parent families compared to 80% of 5-9 year olds and 77% of 10-14 year olds. This may be a reflection of the median duration of marriages and consequently the age of children at the time of separation/divorce of parents. This pattern is maintained between 2006 and 2031, with 84% of 0-4 year olds, 77% of 5-9 year olds and 73% of 10-14 year olds projected to be living in two-parent families by 2031 in Series II, and 80%, 70% and 64% respectively in Series III.

2.3 People aged 0-4 years, Living in two-parent families
Graph: 2.3 People aged 0-4 years, Living in two-parent families


2.4 People aged 0-4 years, Living in one-parent families
Graph: 2.4 People aged 0-4 years, Living in one-parent families



People aged 15-24 years

Census data reveals that the living arrangements of young people change as they make the transition towards increasing independence. There are a variety of factors that may contribute to these changes, such as decreasing marriage rates and increasing median age at first marriage, higher housing prices and remaining at home longer during higher education.

Between 15-19 years and 20-24 years, there is a significant shift away from living as a child in a one or two-parent family to other living arrangements such as group households or as a partner in a couple family (with or without children). In 2006, the most common living arrangement for 15-19 year olds was living as a child in a one or two-parent family (85%). The most common living arrangement for 20-24 year olds was also as a child in a one or two-parent family (44%), however individuals in this age group were also likely to live as partners in couple only families (15%), in group households (14%), and partners in couple families with children (6%).

The proportion of 20-24 year olds living as children in two-parent families is projected to decrease from 40% in 2006 to 38% (Series II) and 35% (Series III) in 2031, while the proportion living in one-parent families is projected to increase, from 12% in 2006 to 13% (Series II) and 16% (Series III) in 2031. These trends are also apparent for 15-19 year olds.

The proportion of 20-24 year olds living as partners in couple families, either with or without children, decreased between 1991 (25%) and 2006 (21%). The trend away from living as partners in couple families is projected to continue over the projection period, resulting in 11% to 12% of all 20-24 year olds living as partners in couple families without children in 2031, and only 2% to 3% living as partners in couple families with children.

The proportion of 20-24 year olds living in group households in 2006 (14%) was the same as in 1991, with slightly higher proportions in 1996 and 2001 (16% and 15% respectively). As a result, this proportion is projected to decrease only slightly between 2006 and 2031.

2.5 People aged 20-24 years, Living as children in one-parent families
Graph: 2.5 People aged 20-24 years, Living as children in one-parent families


2.6 People aged 20-24 years, Living as partners in couple only families
Graph: 2.6 People aged 20-24 years, Living as partners in couple only families


2.7 People aged 20-24 years, Living in a group household
Graph: 2.7 People aged 20-24 years, Living in a group household



People aged 25-34 years

Along with the young adult age groups, people aged 25-34 years are of particular importance in household and family formation, covering some of the most significant stages of the life cycle: leaving home; forming one's initial partnership; marriage or long-term union formation, having children; and for some, separation, divorce and lone parenthood (Haskey, 1996, p. 12).

The main living arrangement for persons aged 25-29 years in 2006 was a partner in a couple family without children (28%). This living arrangement overtook living as a partner in a couple family with children between 1996 and 2001, which decreased from 34% in 1991 to 23% in 2006. If the rates of change experienced over the past four Censuses were to continue (Series III), by 2031 the proportion of 25-29 year olds living in couple families with children would decline to as little as 7%, while the proportion living in couple families without children would increase only slightly.

Over the past four Censuses, there has also been a gradual increase in the proportion of 25-29 year olds living as children in families, from 14% in 1991 to 17% in both 2001 and 2006. Series III projects that by 2031, over one-quarter (28%) of all 25-29 year olds would be living as children in either one or two-parent families.

Living as a partner in a couple family with children remained the most common living arrangement for people aged 30-34 years between 1991 and 2006. Nevertheless, there has been a significant decline in the proportion of people in this living arrangement, from 59% of all 30-34 year olds in 1991 to under one-half (47%) in 2006. Depending on the rate at which this trend continues into the future, the proportion of 30-34 year olds living as partners in couple families with children is projected to decrease to 26% (Series III) and 39% (Series II) by 2031. Conversely, the proportion of 30-34 year olds living as partners in couple only families increased from 14% in 1991 to 21% in 2006, and is projected to increase to 24% (Series II) and 32% (Series III) in 2031.

2.8 People aged 30-34 years, Living as partners in couple families with children
Graph: 2.8 People aged 30-34 years, Living as partners in couple families with children


2.9 People aged 30-34 years, Living as partners in couple only families
Graph: 2.9 People aged 30-34 years, Living as partners in couple only families



People aged 35-44 years

Over the past four Censuses, being a partner in a couple family with children has consistently been the most common living arrangement for people aged 35-44 years. However, this living arrangement has declined from 71% of all 35-44 year olds in 1991 to 63% in 2006. Related to growing numbers of divorced people in the population (McDonald and Kippen, 1998), there has been a consequential increase in the proportion of people in this age group living as partners in couple only families (9% in 1991 and 11% in 2006), as lone parents (7% in 1991 and 9% in 2006) and living alone (6% in 1991 and 9% in 2006).

The proportion of 35-39 year olds living as partners in couple families with children is projected to decline from 60% in 2006 to 55% (Series II) and 45% (Series III) in 2031. Conversely, 35-39 year olds living in couple only families are projected to increase from 12% in 2006 to 14% (Series II) and 18% (Series III) in 2031. People living alone are projected to increase from 8% to 10% (Series II) and 12% (Series III) of all 35-39 year olds, while single parents are projected to increase from 8% to 9% (Series II) and 11% (Series III).

2.10 People aged 35-39 years, Living as partners in couple families with children
Graph: 2.10 People aged 35-39 years, Living as partners in couple families with children


2.11 People aged 35-39 years, Living as partners in couple only families
Graph: 2.11 People aged 35-39 years, Living as partners in couple only families



People aged 45-54 years

Between 1991 and 2006, the most common living arrangement for people in both the 45-49 and 50-54 year age groups was as a partner in a couple family with children, followed by people living as a partner in a couple only family.

The proportion of people living as partners in couple families with children has declined over the past four Censuses, with 45-49 year olds decreasing from 64% in 1991 to 59% in 2006, and 50-54 year olds decreasing from 50% to 45%. The proportion of 50-54 year olds living as partners in a couple only families in 2006 (29%) was the same as the proportion in 1991, after slightly higher proportions in 1996 and 2001 (32%).

Living as a partner in a couple family with children is projected to remain the most common living arrangement of 50-54 year olds. Series III, in which the rate of change apparent over the past four Censuses continues to 2031, projects the proportion of 50-54 year olds living as partners in couple families with children to decline to 36%. Conversely, the proportion of 50-54 year olds living as partners in couple only families is projected to remain relatively unchanged (27%), continuing as the second most common living arrangement for this age group.

The third most common living arrangement for 45-54 year olds between 1991 and 2006 was living alone. Over this period the proportions of both 45-49 and 50-54 year olds living alone rose, with 50-54 years olds increasing from 8% in 1991 to 12% in 2006. These increases are projected to continue, with 13% (Series II) and 17% (Series III) of 50-54 year olds projected to live alone in 2031. There was also an increase in the numbers of 45-49 and 50-54 year olds living as lone parents, with 45-49 years increasing from 7% in 1991 to 9% in 2006. These increases are projected to continue, with 11% (Series II) and 15% (Series III) of 45-49 year olds living as lone parents in 2031.

2.12 People aged 50-54 years, Living as partners in couple families with children
Graph: 2.12 People aged 50-54 years, Living as partners in couple families with children


2.13 People aged 50-54 years, Living as partners in couple only families
Graph: 2.13 People aged 50-54 years, Living as partners in couple only families



People aged 55-64 years

The effect of children leaving home becomes evident in the 55-64 year age group, with living as a partner in a couple only family being the most common living arrangement of people in this age group between 1991 and 2006. This is followed by living in a couple family with children, and living alone.

Over this period, there has been an overall increase in the proportion of people aged 55-59 years living as partners in couple only families, increasing from 42% in 1991 to 46% in 1996, and remaining relatively steady since then. At the same time the proportion of people living as partners in couple families with children declined, from 35% of all 55-59 year olds in 1991 to 29% in 2006. If the rate of change apparent over the past four Censuses were to continue, 19% (Series III) of people in this age group would be living as partners in couple families with children in 2031, compared to 49% living in couple only families. If the rate of change were to slow (Series II), these proportions would be 25% and 47% respectively in 2031.

The proportion of people aged 55-59 years living alone increased from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 2006, and is projected to increase to 15% (Series II) and 19% (Series III) by 2031.

2.14 People aged 55-59 years, Living as partners in couple families with children
Graph: 2.14 People aged 55-59 years, Living as partners in couple families with children


2.15 People aged 55-59 years, Living as partners in couple only families
Graph: 2.15 People aged 55-59 years, Living as partners in couple only families



People aged 65-74 years

The most common living arrangement for people aged 65-74 years between 1991 and 2006 was as a partner in a couple only family, followed by living alone and living as a partner in a couple family with children.

For 65-69 year olds, the likelihood of living as a partner in a couple only family rose slightly between 1991 (55%) and 2006 (59%), while the proportions living alone (20% in 1991 to 19% in 2006) and in couple families with children (12% in 1991 to 11% in 2006) decreased marginally. For 70-74 year olds similar trends were apparent, however, the proportion of people living in couple only families increased slightly more (from 51% in 1991 to 57% in 2006).

Due to the relative stability in living arrangements of 65-74 year olds over the past 15 years, projected changes are only small. Living as a partner in a couple only family is projected to remain the most common living arrangement for people aged 65-74 years, accounting for over half the people in this age group, followed by living alone and living in couple families with children.

2.16 People aged 65-69 years, Living as partners in couple families with children
Graph: 2.16 People aged 65-69 years, Living as partners in couple families with children


2.17 People aged 70-74 years, Living as partner in couple only families
Graph: 2.17 People aged 70-74 years, Living as partner in couple only families



People aged 75 years and over

Among the older age groups, the likelihood of living in a couple only family declines with age, with 50% of all 75-79 year olds living in this arrangement in 2006, compared to 38% of 80-84 year olds and 19% of people aged 85 years and over. In all three age groups, the proportion of people living as a partner in a couple only family increased between 1991 to 2006. This increase is associated with increasing life expectancy, of men in particular, and hence later age of widowhood. For people aged 80-84 years, the proportion of people living as partners in a couple only family increased from 29% in 1991 to 38% in 2006, replacing living alone as the most common living arrangement for this age group between 2001 and 2006. This proportion is projected to continue to increase, with Series III assuming that by 2031, almost half (49%) of 80-84 year olds will be living in couple only families.

Over the past four Censuses, the proportion of people aged 80-84 years living alone has risen from 35% in 1991 to 38% in 1996 and 2001, before declining to 36% in 2006. This decline can be attributed to changes in the proportion of female lone person households, which decreased from 30% in 1996 to 27% in 2006. In comparison, the proportion of male lone person households increased slightly, from 8% in 1991 to 9% in 2006. The number of people living alone is projected to continue to decline, reaching 31% (Series III) and 34% (Series II) of all people aged 80-84 years in 2031. A decline is also projected for people living alone aged 75-79 years, while lone persons over the age of 85 years are projected to increase from 33% in 2006 to 35% (Series II) and 37% (Series III) in 2031.

The proportion of people aged 75 years and over living as a 'related person' in a family household has decreased over the past four Censuses, with the proportion of 80-84 year olds decreasing from 10% in 1991 to 5% in 2006. This proportion is projected to decrease further, to 1% (Series III) and 3% (Series II) by 2031.

Between 1991 and 2006, the proportion of people aged 75 years and over living in non-private dwellings decreased slightly. In 1991, 39% of all people aged 85 years and over lived in non-private dwellings, decreasing to 29% in 2006. This proportion is projected to decrease further, to 22% (Series III) and 28% (Series II) by 2031.

2.18 People aged 80-84 years, Living as partner in couple only families
Graph: 2.18 People aged 80-84 years, Living as partner in couple only families


2.19 People aged 80-84 years, Living alone
Graph: 2.19 People aged 80-84 years, Living alone


2.20 People aged 85 years and over, Living alone
Graph: 2.20 People aged 85 years and over, Living alone


2.21 People aged 85 years and over, Living as usual resident in a non-private dwelling
Graph: 2.21 People aged 85 years and over, Living as usual resident in a non-private dwelling



Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.