4442.0 - Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2015   
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FAMILY TRANSITIONS

The Family Transitions topic provides information about relationship history and expectations, children born and fertility expectations. These data provide insight into family formation and dissolution, and how expectations regarding marriage and childbearing may be changing over time. This information will be of value to policy makers, researchers and demographers as well as the general community who are interested in understanding how families are changing and responding to societal influences.

COUPLE RELATIONSHIPS

Of the 17.6 million adults in Australia living in private dwellings in 2012-13, 64% were currently married, either in a registered marriage (52% or 9.2 million people), or a de facto marriage (12% or 2.1 million people) (Table 11).

Just over 55% (9.7 million) of adults had only been in a registered marriage, while 15% of adults had only been in a de facto marriage. Eleven per cent of people had been in at least one registered marriage and at least one de facto marriage. Around 2.7 million adults (16%) had never been in a couple relationship. Most people in the 18 to 24 year age group (69%) had never been in a couple relationship, a similar proportion to 2006-07 (70%). Three per cent of people aged 65 years and over had never been in a couple relationship, which is the same as in 2006-07 (Table 11).

Experiences of partnering varied with age. A higher proportion of people aged under 35 years had only been in de facto marriage(s) (29%), compared with those people aged 35 years and over (9%). For all people aged 35 years and over, 69% had only been in a registered marriage (although they may have lived with their partner prior to entering a registered marriage), a decrease from 75% in 2006-07 (Table 11 and Graph 3).

Just over half of those aged 75 years and over (51%) were currently in a registered marriage and 39% of this age group had been with their partner for 50 years or more (Table 11).

Nearly half (46%) of all those currently in a registered marriage cohabited with their partner prior to marriage, compared with 39% in 2006-07 (Table 11).

Graph Image for Graph 3 - Persons aged 18 years and over, Relationship history by current age

Footnote(s):
(a) Both registered and de facto marriages estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.
(b) De facto marriage(s) only estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Source(s): Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2012–13


Of the 2.1 million people over the age of 18 years who were in a de facto marriage in 2012-13, 45% expected to enter into a registered marriage with their current partner. This expectation was higher in younger people, where just under two thirds of those aged 34 years or less who were currently in a de facto marriage (63%) expected to enter into a registered marriage with their current partner (Table 11).

Almost 27% or 574,000 people over the age of 18 currently in a de facto marriage did not expect to enter into a registered marriage with their current de facto partner, with nearly half aged between 35 and 54 years. Around 481,000 or 22% of people in a de facto marriage did not know whether they would enter into a registered marriage with their partner (Table 11).

TRANSITIONS

The proportion of adults whose parents had divorced or separated during their childhood (before they turned 18) increased from 15% in 2006-07 to 18% in 2012-13. In addition, 8% of adults reported that during their childhood a parent had died, a decrease from 9% in 2006-07. Reported parental death during childhood increased with age (6% of 18 to 24 year olds and 5% of 25 to 34 years olds, up to 13% for both the 65 to 74 and 75 years and over age groups) (Table 15).

In 2012-13, 31% of people aged 18 to 34 had never left their parental home to live elsewhere. This was an increase from 27% in 2006-07. For people aged 18 to 24 years, 58% of males and 47% of females had never left home, a significant increase for males since 2006-07 (49%). These proportions decreased for those aged 25 to 34 years, where 17% of males and 16% of females had never left home. The reason most frequently given by young adults for still living with their parents was financial (35%) (Table 14).

Of the 3.9 million people aged 18 to 34 years old who had left their parental home, 31% moved out so they could be independent. Other common reasons for moving out of home were to study (20%) or to live with their partner or get married (19%). These were also the three main reasons in 2006-07 (Table 14).

CHILDREN BORN

In 2012-13, 11.7 million or 66% of the adult population in Australia in private dwellings had had natural children. Of these people, 42% had had two children, while 37% had had three or more children (Table 12).

Graph Image for Graph 4 - Persons aged 18 years and over who had had natural children, Number of natural children ever born

Footnote(s):
(a) Two estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
(b) Three or more estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Source(s): Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2012-13


People in the older age groups were more likely to have had larger families. Thirty per cent of parents aged 35 to 44 and 38% of parents aged 45 to 54 who had had natural children had had three or more children, compared with 58% of parents aged 75 and over (Table 12).

Females (42%) were more likely than males (20%) to have been aged less than 25 years when they had their first child. This proportion decreased to 30% for females who were aged between 25 to 29 years, and it increased to 33% for males (Table 12).

Nearly 7% of all people aged 18 and over who had had natural children were aged less than 20 years when they had their first child. The proportion for females was higher than males (11% compared with 2%) (Table 12).

FERTILITY EXPECTATIONS


More than one in five women aged 35 to 49 years who had never had children expected to have children in the future (21%), which is a significant rise from one in seven in 2006-07 (15%). Of those women aged 18 to 29 years who had never had children, just over three quarters (76%) expected to have children, which was similar to 2006-07 (77%) (Table 13 and Graph 5).

Of those women who had already had children, the proportion who expected to have more children decreased from 61% of those aged 18 to 24 years to 4% of those aged 35 to 49 years (Table 13 and Graph 5).

Graph Image for Graph 5 - Females aged 18 to 49 years, Expectations of having children by age

Source(s): Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2012–13