Labour Force Status of Families

Latest release

Explores how families engage with the labour market

Reference period
June 2022

Key statistics

In June 2022:

  • There were 7.3 million families, an increase of 1 million since June 2012
  • 1 in 7 families were one parent families (14.2%)
  • There were 1.4 million jobless families (19.2%)
  • Of the 6.2 million couple families, 1.7% were same-sex couples

Labour Force Status of Families microdata in DataLab

Labour Force Status of Families microdata is now available in ABS DataLab, released as a supplementary file for the Longitudinal Labour Force (LLFS) microdata. All existing users of the LLFS microdata will automatically get access to the Labour Force Status of Families file and new users can apply for access to both files. 

A detailed data item list for the Labour Force Status of Families microdata is available in Microdata and TableBuilder: Labour Force Status of Families.

Labour Force Status of Families in Tablebuilder

The release of June 2022 Labour Force Status of Families microdata into Tablebuilder has been delayed until later in the year due to the release of the 2021 Census data in Tablebuilder. The previous release with data for the period June 2009 to June 2021 will remain available during this time. 

COVID-19 Impacts

The latest annual data presented in this release of Labour Force Status of Families was collected in June 2022 and reflects the labour market conditions at that point in time. 

Given the extent of major changes in the labour market during the pandemic, quarterly estimates have also been included in this release, for the months of March, June, September and December of 2019, 2020, 2021 and for the first half of 2022.

Quarterly estimates are a temporary addition to this release with a final set of quarterly estimates included this June 2022 release. 

Main features

  • For couple families with dependants, joblessness decreased 22.2% since June 2021.
  • 7.7% of families with children under 15 were jobless families.
  • Couple families with both partners employed increased 2.5% since June 2021.
  • Couple families with dependants where neither parent was employed decreased 22.6% since June 2021.
  • 25.4% of couple families with children aged 0-4 years have both parents working full-time.
  • 74.7% of couple families with children under 15 have mothers who are employed.
  • 24.0% of couple families with children under 15 have one parent employed.

What is a family?

A family is defined as two related people who live in the same household. This includes all families such as couples with and without children, including same-sex couples, couples with dependants, single mothers or fathers with children, and siblings living together. At least one person in the family has to be 15 years or over. A household may contain more than one family.

See the Labour Force Status of Families methodology for more information.

All families

    In June 2022, there were 7.3 million families, an increase of 1 million (15.3%) since June 2012. Of these:

    • 6.2 million (84.2%) were couple families

    • 1.0 million (14.2%) were one parent families with 79.9% of these being single mothers

    • 118,000 (1.6%) were classified as 'other families', where at least two people were related in some way other than as a couple or as a parent and child (such as adult-age siblings) (Table 1)

    3.3 million (45.3%) were families with dependants, of which 81.3% were families with children under 15 (Table 1)

    The following flowchart summarises the breakdown of the main family types

    Flowchart of families

    This image is a flowchart with three levels.

    The first level is All families with 7,322,400. This flows to the second level and splits into Couple Families at 84.2%, or 6,162,300; One parent families at 14.2%, or 1,042,500; and Other Families at 1.6% or 117,600.

    Couple Families flow to the third level and splits into With dependants at 43.3% or 2,665,500; and Without dependants at 56.7% or 3,496,800.

    One parent families, on the second level, flows to the third level and splits into With dependants at 62.6% or 652,300; and Without dependants at 37.4% or 390,200.

    Couple families

    Couple families are formed around two people in a couple relationship who both usually reside in the same household. Couple families can be formed around opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples, and they can be with or without dependants (which include children under 15 and dependent students aged 15-24 years).

    In June 2022, there were 6.2 million couple families, including:

    • 2.6 million opposite-sex couple families with dependants

    • 3.5 million couple families without dependants

    • 103,000 same-sex couple families, an increase from 40,000 in June 2012 and an increase from 100,000 in June 2021, and

    • 1.9 million couple families with dependants where both parents were employed (Table 1, Table 9)

    Couple families with dependants

    The proportion of couple families with dependants in which one or both parents were employed was 94.5% (2.5 million) in June 2022, up from 93.7% in June 2021. The proportion of couple families where both parents were not employed decreased from 4.6% in June 2021 to 3.6% in June 2022 (95,000 families). (Table 9)

    The majority (71.4%) of couple families with dependants had both parents employed, of which 1.5 million (81.3%) had at least one child aged under 15 years. (Table 1, Table 3)

    There were 479,500 couple families which had a youngest dependant aged 15–24 years living with them. This represented 7.8% of all couple families. (Table 8)

    In June 2022, the proportion of couple families with dependants where the wife (or youngest same-sex partner) was employed was 75.6%. This was lower than the proportion where the husband (or eldest same-sex partner) was employed at 90.4%.

    As the age of youngest dependant increased, the proportion of couple families where the husband (or eldest same-sex partner) was employed fell from 90.9% for children aged 0-4 years to 87.8% for dependants aged 15-24. The proportion of couple families where the wife (or youngest same-sex partner) was employed rose from 67.5% for children aged 0-4 years to 82.4% for children aged 5-9 and to 79.7% for dependants aged 15-24. (Table 9)

    One parent families

    There were 1 million one parent families in June 2022, accounting for 14.2% of all families. Of these one parent families, 62.6% (652,300) had dependants (including children under 15), which is an increase of 33,500 (5.4%) since June 2012. (Table 1)

    ​​​​​​​One parent families with dependants

    The vast majority (82.8%) of one parent families with children and dependants were single mother families. Of all one parent families with children and dependants, 51.5% had a youngest dependant aged 0–9 years. (Table 1, Table 9)

    There were 448,500 one parent families where the parent was employed and had dependants, representing 68.7% of all one parent families with dependants. Of these families:

    • 81.1% (364,000) had an employed single mother
    • 18.9% (85,000) had an employed single father (Table 9)

    In one parent families with dependants, 67.3% of single mothers were employed compared with 75.5% of single fathers. (Table 9)

    Just below three-quarters (73.0%) of families with employed single mothers and dependants had mothers aged between 35 and 54 years. (Table 7)

    The proportion of one parent families with dependants where the parent was employed generally increased with the age of the youngest dependant. The proportion with an employed parent was lowest when the youngest dependant was under 5 (51.7%) and the highest when the youngest dependant was between 15 and 24 (75.2%). This pattern was more prominent for single mothers. (Table 9)

    Jobless families

    In June 2022, there were 1.41 million jobless families, a small decline from 1.43 million jobless families in June 2021. This saw the share of jobless families fall from 19.7% to 19.2% of all families - jobless meaning each family member aged over 15 years was unemployed, retired or otherwise not in the labour force. Of these:

    • 235,000 jobless families had dependants (down from 283,000 in June 2021), representing 7.1% of all families with dependants
    • An estimated 410,000 children aged 0-14 years were living in jobless families (down from 480,000 in June 2021). (Table 1, Table 4)

    The number of jobless families with children under 15 (as a percentage of all families with children under 15) decreased from 11.2% in June 2020 to 9.3% in June 2021, before dropping further to 7.7% in June 2022.

    Jobless couple families with dependants

    In June 2022, there were 72,600 jobless couple families with dependants (including children under 15 and dependant students aged 15-24 years), down from 93,300 in June 2021. 64,100 (88.3%) of these families had children under 15. An estimated 133,000 children aged 0-14 years were in jobless couple families. (Table 4)

      Jobless one parent families with dependants

      There were 162,200 jobless one parent families with dependants in June 2022, about one quarter (24.9%) of all one parent families with dependants. 89.0% of these jobless one parent families had children under 15. This equated to an estimated 276,000 children aged 0-14 years in these families. (Table 1, Table 4)

        Jobless families without dependants

        In June 2022 there were 1.2 million jobless families without dependants, which represented 29.3% of all families without dependants. Of all jobless families without dependants:

        • 1.05 million (89.7%) were couple families
        • 92,200 (7.9%) were one parent families. (Table 1 and Table 4)

        Dependants aged 15-24 years

        A person aged 15–24 years is a dependant if they are still attending school or attending a tertiary institution full-time and they live with one or both parents. However, they cannot be a dependant if they have a partner or child of their own who is also usually resident in the household. If that was the case, they would then form their own family within the household.

        In June 2022, there were 1.4 million dependants (still attending school or attending a tertiary institution full-time) aged 15-24 years. (Table 5)

        Of the 3.3 million families with children or dependants, 18.7% (619,000) had a youngest dependant aged between 15–24 years, of which 480,000 (77.5%) were couple families. (Table 9)

        Update on families data for 2015-2018

        The ABS has corrected an issue with some family coding for the period July 2014 to June 2018 which was affecting a range of family estimates. This release includes revised families estimates for the period June 2015 to June 2018.

        The issue is also impacting on, though to a lesser extent, the four "relationship in household" pivot table products (FM1-FM4) in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, as well as the Table 01 spreadsheet in that release, which contains estimates by social marital status. These estimates will be revised at a later date. 

        Data downloads

        Table 1: Family types

        Table 2: Families by state and territory

        Table 3: Labour force characteristics of families

        Table 4: Jobless families and their dependants

        Table 5: Familes by age of dependent children

        Table 6: Families by number of dependent children

        Table 7: Families by characteristics of wives, partners and mothers and age of youngest dependent child

        Table 8: Families by state and territory and age of dependent children

        Table 9: Families by characteristics of parents and age of youngest dependent child

        Table 10: Families with no dependent children by characteristics of wives, partners and mothers

        All data cubes

        Relative standard errors

        Previous catalogue number

        This release previously used catalogue number 6224.0.55.001.

        Data relating to the labour force status of families was also previously published in:

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