Australian Bureau of Statistics
3236.0 - Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2031 Quality Declaration
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/06/2010
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Between 2006 and 2031, the number of families is projected to increase by smaller percentages (between 40% and 43%) than the number of households (47% to 52%). This difference is accounted for by higher rates of increase in non-family households, particularly lone person households. The ageing of the population, increases in divorce and separation, and delaying marriage are all factors contributing to the growth in lone person households (Hugo, 1999, p. 27).
Couple families with children
Between 2006 and 2031, the number of couple families with children is projected to increase slowly in both Series I and Series II but to decrease in Series III, reflecting a gradual trend away from this type of family. In 2006, there were 2.6 million couple families with children in Australia, accounting for just under one-half (45%) of all families. In Series I, this number is projected to increase by 32% to reach 3.4 million in 2031 (42% of all families in Australia). In Series II, the number is projected to initially decline slightly as the full rate of change in living arrangements is assumed between 2006 and 2011; for the remainder of the projection period the number increases gradually as the effect of changes in living arrangements lessens, reaching 3.1 million in 2031 (an overall increase of 19%, and accounting for 38% of all families in Australia). In Series III, which assumes the most rapid rate of change in living arrangements, the number of couple families with children is projected to decrease by 4% to 2.5 million families in 2031 (31% of all families in Australia). This is the only projection in which the number of families of any family type decreases over the projection period.
Couple families without children
Between 2006 and 2031, couple families without children are projected to experience the fastest and largest increases of all family types in Australia. As a result, in Series II and III, couple families without children are projected to become the most common family type in Australia, overtaking couple families with children in 2014 and 2013 respectively. From 2.1 million families in 2006 (37% of all families), couple families without children are projected to increase by between 57% and 77% to reach between 3.3 and 3.8 million families in 2031 (41% to 47% of all families). 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.
One-parent families are projected to increase by between 40% and 77%, from 921,000 families in 2006 to between 1.3 and 1.6 million families in 2031. In 2006, the number of female one-parent families (766,100) was around five times greater than the number of male one-parent families (154,800). This difference continues throughout the projection period, with female one-parent families increasing to between 1.1 and 1.4 million families by 2031, and male one-parent families increasing to between 221,000 and 269,400 families.
Families with children
In this publication, couple families with children and one-parent families can include children of any age. They may be families with young dependent children, students or adult children, while in some families an adult child may be living as a carer for elderly parents. According to the 2006 Census, around 69% of couple families with children included at least one child aged under 15 years. Among one-parent families this proportion was lower, with around 55% of one-parent families having at least one child aged under 15 years.
Assuming these proportions remain constant over the projection period, the number of couple families with at least one child under 15 years is projected to increase in Series I and II, from 1.8 million in 2006 to 2.3 and 2.1 million families respectively in 2031. In Series III, the number of couple families with at least one child under 15 years is projected to decrease to 1.7 million by 2031. The number of one-parent families with at least one child under 15 years is projected to increase in all three series, from 509,700 in 2006 to between 715,100 and 902,600 in 2031, reflecting the overall increase in one-parent families related to separation and/or divorce of partners with children.
This page last updated 7 June 2010
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