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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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The 2006 estimated resident population data show that there were 1.3 million people aged 75 years and over in Australia, representing 6% of the total population. Over the period 2006 to 2031, this number is projected to more than double to 2.9 million people (10% of Australia’s population).

In 2006, 87% of older Australians aged 75 years and over were living in private dwellings (e.g. houses, flats, caravans). The largest proportion of older Australians (43%, or 548,500 people) were living in a private dwelling with a partner; most of these (39% of older Australians) were partners in couple only families, while 4% were partners in couple families with children. People living alone accounted for a further 31% (400,500) of older Australians, while 13% (162,800) lived in other living arrangements (e.g. a lone parent living with their child). A further 13% of older Australians (168,600) lived in non-private dwellings (e.g. hotels, hospitals).

By 2031, the number of older Australians living with a partner is projected to increase to between 1.2 and 1.5 million people (42% and 52% of all people aged 75 years and over, respectively). The number of people living alone is projected to increase to between 841,800 and 901,800, accounting for between 29% and 31% of older Australians, while the number of people living in non-private dwellings is projected to increase to between 285,400 and 403,400 people, or 10% to 14% of older Australians.


Australian households have changed considerably in number, size and composition over the last 95 years (graph 7.39). During this period, the Census number of private households increased from 894,400 in 1911 to 7.6 million (occupied private dwellings) in 2006, whereas the average number of persons per household declined from 4.5 in 1911 to 2.6 in 2006. Much of this decline can be attributed to reductions in completed family size and the increase in one person and two person households.

Graph 7.39 Average household size

Average household size is projected to continue decreasing to between 2.4 and 2.5 people per household by 2031. It should be noted that the projected household sizes in graph 7.40 and other household data presented here for the years 2006 to 2031 are based on ABS Household and Family Projections Series II, derived from the 2006 estimated resident population data in conjunction with the 2006 living arrangement proportions. They therefore differ from the 2006 Census counts of households and families.

Graph 7.40 Projected average household size

There has been considerable growth in one and two person households over the last three decades (graph 7.41). The proportion of one person households increased from 16% of households in the 1976 Census to 24% in the 2006 Census. The proportion of two person households also increased from 28% of households in 1976 to 34% in 2006. The major decline during this period occurred in the number and proportion of households with five or more persons. The number of one person households has grown largely as a result of population ageing combined with longer life expectancy. Population ageing, increased numbers of couple families without children and an increase in the number of one parent families also contributed to the increase in the number of two person households.

Graph 7.41 Household proportions, By number of persons living in household

Projections show that the number of households in Australia will grow to 11.6 million by 2031. One person households are projected to increase to 3.2 million (28% of all households) in 2031. This represents the fastest projected increase of all household types over the period 2006 to 2031. The ageing of the population, coupled with the longer life expectancy of women over men and the delay of marriage, are some of the factors contributing to the projected growth in one person households.

Family households are projected to remain the most common type of household, increasing from 5.6 million in 2006 to 8.0 million in 2031 (graph 7.42). However, as a proportion of all households, family households are projected to decrease from 72% in 2006 to 69% in 2031.

Graph 7.42 PROJECTED NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS, By household type


Between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, the number of families increased from 4.9 million in 2001 to 5.2 million in 2006. Couples with children continued to be the most common family type over this period. However, as a proportion of all families, couple families with children decreased (graph 7.43). In 2001, couple families with children made up 47% (2.3 million families) of all families while in 2006 this had decreased to 45% (2.4 million families). Other family types increased in number between 2001 and 2006. The number of couple families without children increased by 10% from 1.8 million families in 2001 to 1.9 million families in 2006. One parent families also increased, from 762,600 in 2001 to 823,300 in 2006, an increase of 7.9%.

Graph 7.43 Families, By selected family type

Between 2006 and 2031, the number of couple families with children is projected to increase slowly. This scenario reflects a gradual trend away from this type of family and is related to increasing numbers of couple families without children and increasing numbers of one parent families.

Graph 7.44 shows that the number of couple families with children is projected to increase to 3.1 million in 2031 (38% of all families). Couple families without children are projected to experience the largest and fastest increases of all family types in Australia. As a result, couple families without children are projected to outnumber couple families with children in 2014. Couple families without children are projected to increase to 3.5 million families in 2031 (43% of all families). One parent families are projected to increase to 1.4 million in 2031.

Graph 7.44 Projected families, By selected family type


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.

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