Household and Family Projections

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    Australia is undergoing major demographic change. One of the features is the change in households and families, with a decline in average household size, an increase in de facto marriages, a long term increase in divorce rates and changes in the nature of families. These changes have major implications for society, particularly in areas such as social security, health, housing and the environment.

    To address the issue of future changes in households and families, the ABS has produced household and family projections.

    The scope of the household and family projections includes people who are usual residents of Australia.


    Conceptual framework
    Household and family projections are estimates of future numbers of households and families, based on assumptions about changing living arrangements of the population. They are illustrations of the growth in households and families, and changes in the distribution of living arrangement types, which would occur if certain assumptions about future living arrangements were realised.

    These projections are an assessment of what would happen to the number and type of households and families in Australia if recent trends were to continue in the future. The projections are not intended to predict where we will be in the future, but rather where we are currently heading. Household and family projections are not predictions or forecasts. Factors such as changing levels of marriage and divorce, economic conditions, interest rates and employment may all affect future household and family formation, but they are not explicitly taken into account in these projections.

    The projections indicate the number and type of future households and families, and the living arrangement distribution of the future population, under various assumptions about the rate of change in the likelihood of living in certain living arrangements.

    A household is a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person. Households include group households of unrelated persons, same-sex couple households, single-parent households as well as one-person households. A household may consist of: one person; one family; one family and unrelated individual(s); related families with or without unrelated individual(s); unrelated families with or without unrelated individual(s); unrelated individuals.

    A household resides in a private dwelling only (including caravans etc. in caravan parks). Persons usually resident in non-private dwellings, such as hotels, motels, boarding houses, jails and hospitals, are not included in household counts.

    A family is defined by the ABS as: two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of either a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

    Main outputs
    The projections are produced for Australia, for each State/Territory and for each Capital City/Balance of State (excluding ACT Balance). Three levels of data are produced:

    1. Projected number of households - family, group and lone person households.
    2. Projected number of families - couple families with children, couple families without children, one-parent families (male and female parents separately), other families.
    3. Projected number of persons by living arrangement.

    Outputs can be produced on a consultancy basis, including for small areas, where the client takes responsibility for the assumptions and cost involved.

    Geographical - at Australian, State/Territory and Capital City/Balance of State levels.
    Households - family, group and lone person households.
    Families - couple families with children, couple families without children, one-parent families (male and female parents separately), other families.
    Living arrangements of persons - husband, wife, partner, child or other related individual in a Couple Family (with or without children), male lone parent, female lone parent, child or other related individual in a One-parent Family, related individual in an Other Family, person in a Group Household, male or female lone person in a Lone-person Household.

    Other concepts (summary)

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
    Statistical Local Area
    Part of State Metropolitan
    Part of State Extra-Metropolitan
    Other (specify below)

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Projections for other areas can be produced on request.


    Frequency comments

    The first set of household and family projections produced by the ABS covers the period 1996(base) to 2021 and was released in October 1999. The publication is called Household and Family Projections, Australia 1996 to 2021 (catalogue no. 3236.0).


    Data availability comments
    The household and family projections were published in Household and Family Projections, Australia 1996 to 2021 (catalogue no. 3236.0).

    29/11/2003 08:00 PM