1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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A small proportion of Australians live in institutional settings such as hostels, boarding houses, residential colleges, staff quarters, prisons and nursing homes. However, the vast majority (around 98%) are members of households living in private self-contained dwellings such as houses, flats or units.

Of the 8.4 million households living in private dwellings in 2009–10, 79% were living in separate houses, 11% in flats, units or apartments, and 10% in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses.

For Australia's five most populous cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) the proportion of households living in separate houses ranged from 61% in Sydney to 84% in Perth. The average across all eight capital cities was 74% (graph 10.1). Outside of capital cities, the proportion of households living in separate houses was higher – more than 81% in all states and territories except Queensland. Higher density housing was most common in capital cities, particularly in Sydney, where 23% of households were living in flats, units or apartments in 2009–10.

Graph 10.1 Capital city households, By dwelling structure - 2009–10

Separate houses are generally larger and have more bedrooms than other dwelling types. Typically, separate houses have three or four bedrooms; semi-detached houses have two or three bedrooms; and flats, units or apartments have one or two bedrooms.

The three-bedroom house is by far the most common type of dwelling in Australia. In 2009–10, 40% of all households were living in separate houses with three bedrooms, while a further 30% were living in houses with four or more bedrooms (table 10.2). In total, 78% of households were living in dwellings (mainly houses) with three or more bedrooms, 18% were living in two-bedroom dwellings and 4% were living in one-bedroom dwellings (mainly flats, units or apartments).

10.2 ALL HOUSEHOLDS, By dwelling structure and number of bedrooms—2009–10

Separate house
Semi-detached/row or terrace house/townhouse
All households(a)


One bedroom
Two bedrooms
1 528.7
Three bedrooms
3 383.1
3 892.3
Four or more bedrooms
2 544.6
2 639.3
6 601.7
8 398.5

* estimate has a relative standard error greater of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Includes other dwelling structures.
(b) Includes bed-sits and dwellings with no bedrooms.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Income and Housing.


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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.