Household and families: Census

Latest release

Includes information on relationships in household and family

Reference period
Next release Unknown
First release

Key statistics

  • There were 5.5 million (5,552,973) couple families and one million (1,068,268) lone parents.
  • There were 2.6 million (2,608,834) couples without children.
  • Nearly 25,000 same sex marriages (23,914) were counted in the 2021 Census.  
  • 8,747,135 people were married, 2,168,351 people were in a de facto relationship and 7,863,327 people were not married. 

Australian families

Image of three household types. 1: 43.7% Couples with children. 2: 38.8% Couples with no children. 3: 15.9% Lone parent family

Australian families

This image represents three family types. Couples with children make up 43.7 per cent of all families, Couples with no children make up 38.8 per cent of all families, and Lone parent families make up 15.9 per cent of all families.

Other family composition represents 1.6 per cent of all families.

Source: Family composition (FMCF)

Census data stories and concepts

How Census data is used

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Census data connects families through playgroups

Playgroup Australia has been connecting babies, toddlers and parents through play, learning and friendship for half a century. Each week, Playgroup Australia estimates around 150,000 parents and caregivers organise around 7,500 gatherings in churches, parks, public spaces and community halls all around Australia.

Playgroup Australia CEO Fiona May said the organisation uses Census data to help plan where a playgroup would be beneficial to local families. It produces heat maps using the number of babies, their ages, locations, religion, education and health.

“Census data helps us understand the different factors that affect families, such as income and work commitments, living situation, cultural background, religion and education,” Ms May said.

“The 2016 Census data showed us that more families are juggling part-time work with care, playgroup, domestic duties and other activities in the home. Because they are busy, we have to offer the right playgroups in the right places to support as many children as possible."

Understanding family and community situations across the nation allows Playgroup Australia to provide the proper service for the appropriate area or group of people including Inclusive and Ageless Play initiatives.

“Playgroups have become more diverse and inclusive and connect mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers, same-sex couple families, multicultural and other language groups and children with disabilities. We even have groups for families with shared religious beliefs or educational philosophies.”

“We need every family to complete the Census. It helps Playgroup Australia provide opportunities to achieve our vision of creating a village through play and connect families with young children across the country.”

See more Census stories.

Key questions in 2021 Census

  • What is the person's relationship to Person 1/Person 2? 
  • What is the person’s current marital status? 

The questions from the 2021 Census are output into variables. To see descriptions of the variables, including data use considerations, relevant to this topic see the 2021 Census dictionary: Household and families.

Data downloads

Data table for Household and families data summary

Other relevant data downloads can be found on the following pages:

Snapshot of Australia

  • Household composition by state and territory of enumeration - 1996, 2016 and 2021
  • Sex of lone persons and age, lone person households - 2016 and 2021
  • Average number of people per household by state and territory of enumeration - 1996, 2016 and 2021
  • Family composition by state and territory of enumeration - 1996, 2016 and 2021
  • Sex of lone parent by state and territory of enumeration - 2016 and 2021
  • Same-sex couple indicator by count of couple families - 2016 and 2021
  • Relationship in household (for husbands, wives and partners) by age - 2016 and 2021

Other ABS links

To access more 2021 Census data, see Search Census data or to build your own data sets, see Census data tools.

Explore other ABS data: 

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