3236.0 - Household and Family Projections, Australia, 1996 to 2021  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/10/1999   
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October 28, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS projects more Australians to be home alone by 2021

By 2021 the number of Australians living alone is projected to increase to between 1 in 7 and 1 in 9. This translates to between 2.4 million and 3.4 million people. In 1996 the figure was 1 in 12 or 1.6 million. Tasmania is projected to have the highest proportion of people living alone. By 2021 between 1 in 5 and 1 in 8 Tasmanians are projected to live alone.

In 2021 between 582,000 and 669,000, or 20% to 24% of people living alone are projected to be older Australians (aged 75 years and over) and of these about three-quarters will be women. This increase is related to the ageing of the population, women living longer than men and the fact that older people are more likely to live alone than others.

These projections, published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in Household and Family Projections, Australia 1996 to 2021 are based on varying assumptions about people's future living arrangements.

The ABS also found that the number of children of any age living in two-parent families is projected to decline, from 4.8 million in 1996 to between 4.1 and 4.7 million in 2021. This is associated with declining fertility and with the increasing tendency for children to live in one-parent families.

The number of children living with one parent is projected to be between 1.1 million and 1.9 million by 2021. Almost one-third (31%) of 0-4 year olds could be living with one parent by 2021. The Northern Territory is projected to have the largest proportion of one-parent families of all the States and Territories in 2021 where between 1 in 4 and 1 in 6 families could be one-parent families.

Of all family types, couple families without children are projected to increase most rapidly over the period 1996-2021. Two of the three series project that couple families without children will overtake couple families with children as the most common family type by 2016. The growth in couple-only families is related both to declining fertility among younger couples and to the ageing of the baby boomers as they become 'empty nesters'.

Between 1996 and 2021, household growth (or growth in the number of households) is projected to be fastest in the Northern Territory and Queensland, reflecting their high projected population growth. In contrast, in Tasmania, where the population is projected to decline over the projection period, household growth is projected to be the slowest of all the States and Territories in Australia. Overall, the capital cities are projected to experience higher rates of household growth than the balances of States, except in Tasmania.

The number of households in Australia is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 1996 to between 9.4 and 10.0 million in the year 2021, a rise of between 38% and 46%. Average household size is projected to decline from 2.6 persons per household in 1996 to between 2.2 and 2.3 in 2021, again reflecting the projected increase in the number of people who live alone, couple-only families and one-parent families.

A summary of the publication Household and Family Projections, Australia (cat. no. 3236.0) can be accessed on this site.