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Average household size
The average household size in Australia is projected to decrease from 2.6 people per household in 2006 to between 2.4 and 2.5 people per household in 2031.
Each of the three household types - family, group, and lone person - are projected to increase in number between 2006 and 2031.
Family households are projected to show the greatest numeric increase of all household types over the projection period, increasing from 5.6 million in 2006 to between 7.9 million (Series III) and 8.0 million (Series I and II) households in 2031, increases of between 2.3 to 2.4 million. Family households are projected to remain the most common household type in Australia.
Although family households show the greatest numeric increase, lone person households are projected to experience the greatest percentage increase over the 25 years. This is related to the ageing of Australia's population and the fact that older women, in particular, are more likely to live alone than other people. In Series I, in which living arrangement patterns remain the same throughout the projection period and therefore any changes in the number of households and families are due solely to changes in the size and age/sex structure of the projected population, the number of lone person households is projected to increase by 63%. This results in an increase of 1.2 million households, from 1.9 million lone person households in 2006 to 3.0 million in 2031, reflecting the ageing of the population as baby boomers move into the older age groups. In Series II and III, where changes in the likelihood of being in particular living arrangements are incorporated into the projections, lone person households are projected to increase by 73% and 91% respectively, or 1.4 and 1.7 million households. This results in 3.2 million (Series II) and 3.6 million (Series III) lone person households by 2031.
The number of group households in Australia is projected to increase from 291,400 in 2006 to between 350,800 and 387,500 in 2031. This is an increase of between 59,400 and 96,100 households, or 20% to 33%, over the projection period. As a proportion, group households made up only 4% of all households in Australia in 2006 and are projected to decrease to 3% between 2006 and 2031.
Multiple family households
Family households can contain more than one family. According to the 2006 Census, 1.8% of all family households in Australia were multiple family households. Assuming this proportion remains constant between 2006 and 2031, the number of multiple family households would increase by between 41,600 and 44,300 households, from 104,000 in 2006 to between 145,600 (Series III) and 148,200 (Series I) households in 2031.
The projected average annual growth rate in the number of households in Australia for the period 2006 to 2016 (1.7%) is higher than the projected rates for New Zealand (1.3%), England (1.1%), Scotland (0.9%) and Japan (0.2%). Average household size is projected to decline for all of the selected countries between 2006 and 2016. Australia's average household size (2.5 people per household) in 2016 is projected to be the same as Japan and New Zealand (both 2.5), and larger than England (2.2) and Scotland (2.1).