1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/01/2011  Final
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Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Families, community networks and interpersonal relationships are vital aspects of society, and essential to individual wellbeing. Most people in NSW live in households as members of a family unit. In 2006-07, there were 2.8 million households in NSW, of which 71% (1.9 million) contained one or more families. For many people the family is the main source of emotional, physical, and financial care and support. In contemporary Australia, there is an increasing diversity of family situations, reflecting changing trends in family formation, dissolution and the caring role of families.

Families may be comprised of couples (with children of any age or without children), lone parents with children, or other families (i.e. families of related adults, such as siblings living together). The number of families in NSW grew from 1.72 million in 2000 to 1.96 million in 2008. Families with dependent children were the most common family type, but have decreased from 50% to 46% compared to other family types. Couple-only families without children increased from 35% to 38%, and one parent families remained steady at 11%. Since 2001, lone person households increased from 24% to 26% of all households, due to a range of factors including delays in marriage, separations, divorces, and ageing of the population.



At the Local Government Area level, average household size varied from 1.8 persons per household (Sydney and North Sydney LGAs) to 3.1 persons per household (Liverpool LGA). The average figure for NSW as a whole was 2.5 persons per household. The greatest proportion of lone person households in NSW was found in Sydney LGA (41%), the lowest was in Baulkham Hills (12%), and the proportion across NSW was 24%.

In 2006, the LGA with the greatest proportion of one parent families with dependent children (as a proportion of all families) was Brewarrina (21%) while the LGA with the lowest proportion was Conargo (5.1%). The overall figure for NSW was 11%. The LGA with the greatest proportion of couple families with dependent children was Ku-ring-gai (48%) and the LGA with the smallest proportion of couple families with dependent children was Sydney (19%). The proportion for NSW was just over one third (37%).


Many people provide support to their own children living outside the household. In NSW in 2006, there were 485,400 people aged 18 years and over who reported that their own children aged 0–24 years were living in another household. Over two thirds (68%) of these parents provided support to their children. Key forms of support provided include financial support, such as money for bills or debts (28%), clothing (26%), educational costs (25%), and child support payments (24%). Other forms of support included driving them to places (26%), and allowing them to borrow the car (12%).

Men were more likely than women to provide support for their own children aged 0–17 years living elsewhere (4.8% and 1.5% respectively), reflecting the greater number of children living apart from their father. Compared to other age groups, parents aged 45–54 years (16%) were most likely to provide support to their children 0–24 years living outside the household.

Graph: CHILD SUPPORT(a), NSW—2006


In NSW in 2006–07, 509,000 persons aged 18–34 years had never left the parental home, compared with 1.1 million who had. Of those who had, 28% reported that they did so in order to be independent, 20% did so for the purposes of study, 20% in order to live with their partner or get married, 11% for employment or career reasons, and 8% did so because of family conflict. Of the persons aged 18–34 years who had never left home, 31% stayed at home for financial reasons (44% in the case of males; 21% in the case of females), 22% for reasons of convenience or enjoying living at home, and 21% for other reasons.


Individual, family and community wellbeing can also be influenced by the strength and quality of engagements with wider social networks. While persons on low incomes and those born overseas with no proficiency in English had similar levels of contact with family and friends, overall they had a lower level of engagement with the wider community. They were less able to get support in a time of crisis, and had lower levels of participation in community groups, voluntary work, and other forms of unpaid informal assistance to persons living outside the house.

In 2006, many people aged 18 years and over in NSW provided support to the wider community through voluntary work (33%), unpaid informal assistance (45%), and by donating money (73%). While a similar proportion of men and women felt they were able to get support in a time of crisis, women reported a higher participation rate in other community support and social network activities compared with men.


In 2007–08, two-thirds of all households in NSW had an Internet connection, and over half 53% of households in NSW had a broadband Internet connection. The proportion of households with an Internet connection was significantly higher in metropolitan areas (72%) compared to non-metropolitan areas (59%). Households with children aged under 15 years were more likely to have an Internet connection than households without children aged under 15 years (84% compared to 61% respectively). Households with higher incomes ($80,000 or above per annum) were more likely to have an Internet connection, and, in instances where households did have an Internet connection, households with higher incomes were more likely to have a broadband connection.

HOUSEHOLDS WITH A HOME INTERNET CONNECTION, By annual household income, NSW - 200708
Graph: HOUSEHOLDS WITH A HOME INTERNET CONNECTION, By Annual Household Income, NSW–2007–08

Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


ABS Census of Population and Housing

ABS Child Care Survey (cat. no. 4402.0)

ABS General Social Survey (cat. no. 4159.0)

ABS Household Use of Information Technology Survey (cat. no. 8146.0)

ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (cat. no. 4714.0)

ABS Survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (cat. no. 4901.0)

ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (cat. no. 4430.0)

ABS Survey of Income and Housing (cat. no. 6523.0)

Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2007, Child Protection Australia, 2006-07 (AIHW cat. no. CWS 31)

Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001)

Family Characteristics and Transitions (cat. no. 4442.0)

Household and Family Projections, Australia (cat. no. 3236.0.55.002)

Labour Force, Australia, Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001)

Marriages, Australia (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001)

NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Two Ways Together Report on Indicators 2007

NSW Department of Community Services, Key Information and Directory System (KiDS), 2006-07