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HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES
Average household size is projected to continue decreasing to 2.3 people per household by 2026. It should be noted that the projected household sizes in graph 7.44 and other household data presented here for the years 2001 to 2026 are based on ABS Household and Family Projections Series II, derived from the 2001 estimated resident population data in conjunction with the 2001 Census data, and therefore differ from the 2006 Census counts of households and families.
There has been considerable growth in one and two-person households over the last three decades. The proportion of one-person households increased from 15.7% of households in the 1976 Census to 24.4% in the 2006 Census. The proportion of two-person households also increased from 28.1% of households in 1976 to 34.1% 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 childlessness among couples and an increase in the number of one parent families also contributed to the increase in the number of two-person households.
Projections show the number of households in Australia will be growing to 10.4 million by 2026 (graph 7.46). Lone person households are projected to increase to 3.1 million (30.2% of all households) in 2026. This represents the fastest projected increase of all household types over the period 2001 to 2026. The ageing of the population coupled with the longer life expectancy of women over men, increases in separation and divorce, and the delay of marriage are some of the factors contributing to the growth in lone person households.
Family households are projected to remain the most common type of household, increasing from 5.3 million in 2001 to 6.9 million in 2026. However, as a proportion of all households, family households are projected to decrease from 71.5% in 2001 to 66.3% in 2026.
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. In 2001, couple families with children made up 47.0% (2.3 million families) of all families while in 2006, this had decreased to 45.3% (2.4 million families) (graph 7.47). Other family types increased in number between 2001 and 2006. The number of couple families without children increased by 10.2%, 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%.
Between 2001 and 2026, the number of couple families with children is projected to increase slowly (graph 7.48). 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.
The number of couple families with children is projected to increase to 2.6 million in 2026 (37.2% 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 2011. Couple families without children are projected to increase to 3.1 million families in 2026 (44.3% of all families). One parent families are projected to increase to 1.2 million in 2026.