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Household and Family Projections, Australia

Household and family projections (based on different assumptions of living arrangements) for Australia, states and territories and capital cities

Reference period
2016 - 2041

Key statistics

  • The number of households is projected to increase from 9.2 million in 2016 to between 12.6 and 13.2 million in 2041.
  • The number of families is projected to increase from 6.7 million to between 9.2 and 9.4 million. 
  • Living with a partner is projected to remain the most common living arrangement. 

Projections are not predictions or forecasts. They are an illustration of what would happen if certain assumptions about future living arrangements of Australia's population were to persist over the projection period. These projections do not attempt to make predictions about future changes in behaviour or in non-demographic factors such as economic changes.

Main features

About this data

The household estimates and projections in this publication cover the period 2016 to 2041 for Australia, the states and territories, capital cities and rest of state regions. The projections of households, families and persons by living arrangement are based on the series B population projections from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066 (3222.0).

Three series are presented in this publication. These are based on three different assumptions for living arrangement propensities:

  • series I assumes no change in 2016 living arrangement propensity,
  • series II assumes historical rate of change in propensities from 2001 to 2016 but gradually plateauing,
  • series III assumes historical rate of change in propensities from 2001 to 2016 continuing.
     

Household projections

In 2041, there are projected to be between 12.6 million and 13.2 million households in Australia (up from 9.2 million in 2016).

  • Family households are projected to remain the most common household type in Australia, at 69% to 71% of all household in 2041.
  • Lone-person households are projected to make up 24% to 27% of all Australian households in 2041.
  • Group households are projected to make up 4% to 5% of all households in 2041.
     

Projected households, Australia

 2016204120412041
 Series ISeries IISeries III
'000'000'000'000
Family households
6,480.3
9,163.4
9,073.6
8,903.7
Group households
423.9
547.2
589.0
661.0
Lone-person households
2,300.4
3,523.8
3,356.0
3,045.7
Total households
9,204.6
13,234.4
13,018.7
12,610.3
   

Family projections

In 2041, there are projected to be between 9.2 million and 9.4 million families in Australia (up from 6.7 million in 2016).

  • Couples with children are projected to make up 43% of all families in 2041; down slightly from 44% in 2016.
  • Couples without children are projected to be the second most common family type, at 38% to 39% in 2041 (38% in 2016).
  • Single-female-parent families are projected to make up 13% to 14% of all families in 2041 (compared to 13% in 2016).
  • Single-male-parent families are projected to increase the fastest of any family type, increasing by between 44% to 65% by 2041.
     

Projected families, Australia

 2016204120412041
 Series ISeries IISeries III
'000'000'000'000
Couple family with children 2,956.74,086.94,046.53,912.9
Couple family without children 2,512.73,636.93,569.03,472.3
One-parent families 1,072.01,536.41,562.31,633.9
 Male parent193.9279.1294.0320.9
 Female parent878.21,257.31,268.31,313.0
Other family 117.6161.9152.0135.9
Total families 6,659.09,422.19,329.89,155.0
   

Types of living arrangements

In 2041, there are projected to be 34 million people in Australia (up from 24 million in 2016).

  • Living with a partner is projected to be the most common living arrangement in 2041, at 43% to 45% of all persons (45% in 2016).
  • Nearly one-third (30% to 31%) of Australia's population are projected to live as children in a family household in 2041.
  • Between 3.0 and 3.5 million Australians are projected to be living alone in 2041.
     

Projected persons, by living arrangements, Australia

 2016204120412041
 Series ISeries IISeries III
'000'000'000'000
Couple family with children     
 Husband, wife or partner5,913.58,173.88,093.07,825.8
 Child5,817.07,769.87,808.07,828.8
 Other related individual155.5233.3245.4272.8
Couple family without children     
 Husband, wife or partner5,025.47,273.87,138.06,944.6
 Other related individual93.8142.7150.2174.2
One-parent families     
 Male parent193.9279.1294.0320.9
 Female parent878.21,257.31,268.31,313.0
 Child1,690.12,267.72,373.02,572.4
 Other related individual93.9138.8149.8169.1
Other families     
 Related person living in an other family249.4343.6322.6288.5
 Unrelated individual living in a family household334.7446.1548.6787.4
Lone-person households     
 Male lone person1,045.81,531.01,502.21,444.3
 Female lone person1,254.61,992.91,853.81,601.4
Group household member 954.41,277.81,376.21,544.5
Usual resident of a non-private dwelling 490.8828.3832.9868.3
Total 24,190.933,955.933,955.933,955.9

Assumptions

Projected numbers of households and families are based on the number of persons projected to be living in particular household relationships, or living arrangements.

This publication contains three series of projections. Each series reflects a different assumption about future change in peoples' living arrangements. Living arrangement information from the last four Censuses (2001, 2006, 2011, 2016) are used to set the assumptions.

These assumptions are intended to illustrate a range of possible future outcomes. There is no certainty that any particular outcome will be realised, or that future outcomes will necessarily fall within these ranges.

Projection series, assumptions used
Series INo change in living arrangement proportions. Living arrangement rates for 2016 remain constant to 2041.
Series IISmaller change in living arrangement proportions. The trend observed from 2001 to 2016 continues at the full rate of change for five years (to 2021), then half the rate for five years (to 2026) then one-quarter the rate for five years (to 2031), and then remains constant (to 2041).
Series IIILarger change in living arrangement proportions. The trend observed from 2001 to 2016 continues at the full rate of change all the way until 2041.


The graph below illustrates this method using hypothetical data.

Download


 

Projection method

The assumptions are calculated by five year age groups and by 15 living arrangement types. These assumptions are calculated separately for Australia, each state and territory, and each capital city and rest of state area.

Projected living arrangement proportions for 2017 to 2041 are then applied to the 'series B' projected population from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0). This gives the projected number of persons in each living arrangement. The projections for smaller areas were adjusted so that the totals sum to the Australia level projection. The use of a different underlying population is explored in the page 'What if...'.

Numbers of households and families are then derived from the projected living arrangements of the population.

For more detail on the method behind these projections, see the Technical Note - 'Method'.

Couples with children

Around half the Australian population was living in a couple family with children between 1996 and 2016. This was the most common living arrangement.

In 2016:

  • 49% of Australians lived in a couple family with children.
  • 24% were partners, 24% were children.
     

In 1996:

  • 54% of Australians lived in a couple family with children.
  • 27% were partners, 27% were children.
     

Couples without children

People living in couple-only families (without children) increased from 19% in 1996 to 21% in 2016, but there were different patterns for different age groups.

Between 1996 and 2016, the proportion of people living in couple-only families:

  • increased among 25–34 year olds (from 21% to 26% of this age group).
  • decreased among 45–59 year olds (from 30% to 23% of this age group).
  • increased among people aged 75 years and over (from 35% to 42% of this age group) – due to males living longer.
     

Single-parent families

People living in single-parent families increased from 11% in 1996 to 12% in 2016.

In 2016:

  • there was an average of 1.6 children per single-parent household (1.5 in 1996).
  • one in five (18%) single parents were male (15% in 1996).
     

Group households

Group households remained stable from 1996 to 2016, with 4% of Australia's population living in a group household.

In 2016:

  • one in five group household members (20%) were aged 50 or over – up from 12% in 1996.
  • the average group household size was 2.3 people (also 2.3 in 1996).
     

Living alone

People living alone increased from 9% in 1996 to 10% in 2016.

Under age 55, most people living alone were men (57% in 2016, down from 60% in 1996), but over age 55 most people living alone were women (62% in 2016, down from 69% in 1996).

Non-private dwellings

Between 1996 and 2016 people who usually lived in non-private dwellings (such as boarding schools, aged care facilities, prisons and workers' accommodation) increased from 1.8% to 2.0% of Australia's population. The nursing home population had the largest increase of any non-private dwelling type.

State and territory variations

Trends in living arrangements were similar across the states and territories. Where differences exist, this usually reflects differences in the age structure of the population.

For example,

  • the state with the oldest age structure, Tasmania, had the lowest proportion of people living in group households.
  • the state with the youngest age structure, the Northern Territory, had the lowest proportion of lone-person households (which were mainly older females).
     
Living arrangements, state/territory ranking, 1996
LowestProportion of state/territory (%)HighestProportion of state/territory (%)Proportion of Australia (%)
Couple family with childrenSouth Australia51.4Victoria55.954.1
Couple family without childrenNorthern Territory14.6South Australia21.519.2
Single-parent familyVictoria10.1Northern Territory13.810.5
Group household memberTasmania3.0Australian Capital Territory5.03.7
Lone personNorthern Territory6.2South Australia10.48.7
Non-private dwellingsVictoria1.5Northern Territory3.41.8
Living arrangements, state/territory ranking, 2016
LowestProportion of state/territory (%)HighestProportion of state/territory (%)Proportion of Australia (%)
Couple family with childrenTasmania42.5Victoria50.549.1
Couple family without childrenNorthern Territory18.3Tasmania24.821.2
Single-parent familyAustralian Capital Territory9.6Tasmania / Northern Territory13.111.8
Group household memberTasmania3.2Australian Capital Territory4.63.9
Lone personNorthern Territory6.9Tasmania12.99.5
Non-private dwellingsVictoria1.7Northern Territory5.62.0

Households

Total households

Between 12.6 and 13.2 million households are projected in Australia in 2041 (up from 9.2 million in 2016). That's an increase of 3.4 to 4.0 million households, or 37% to 44%. The Australian population is projected to grow by 40% over that period – from 24.2 to 34.0 million people.

In 2041 there are projected to be between 2.6 and 2.7 people per household on average. This is similar to the 2016 average of 2.6.

Projected households, Australia

 Series ISeries IISeries III
As at 30 June'000'000'000
20169,204.69,204.69,204.6
202110,056.59,955.19,955.1
202610,903.610,739.610,685.0
203111,712.811,511.111,366.9
203612,488.812,279.812,008.8
204113,234.413,018.712,610.3
   

Family households

Family households are projected to:

  • remain the most common household type in Australia at 69% to 71% of all households in 2041 (similar to 70% in 2016).
  • increase by between 2.4 and 2.7 million households between 2016 and 2041.
  • increase to between 8.9 and 9.2 million households by 2041 – up from 6.5 million in 2016.
     

Lone-person households

Lone-person households are projected to:

  • make up 24% to 27% of all Australian households in 2041 (compared to 25% in 2016).
  • increase by between 0.7 and 1.2 million (32% to 53%) from 2016 to 2041.
  • increase to between 3.0 and 3.5 million households by 2041 – up from 2.3 million in 2016.
     

Group households

Group households are projected to:

  • make up 4.1% to 5.2% of all households in 2041 (compared to 4.6% in 2016).
  • increase by between 123,300 and 237,100 households (29% to 56%) from 2016 to 2041.
  • increase to between 547,200 and 661,000 households in 2041 – up from 423,900 in 2016.
     
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International comparison

Households are projected to grow by 1.6% per year on average in Australia between 2016 and 2026. That is higher than the projection for New Zealand (1.4%) and England (0.7%). There are no official household projections for the culturally similar countries Canada and the USA.

The average household size for Australia was similar to New Zealand in 2016 (2.61 and 2.60 respectively), but this is projected to increase in Australia (2.64 in 2026). England's household size was smaller (2.37).

Projected growth of households, selected countries

CountryProjected average annual growth rate, 2016–2026Average household size 
 %20162026
  personspersons
Australia(a)1.552.612.64
England(b)0.702.372.34
Scotland(c)0.632.172.10
Germany (d)0.452.001.95
New Zealand(e)1.442.602.60
Japan(f)0.092.322.18
a. 2016-based projections, Series II, current publication.
b. 2016-based projections; Office for National Statistics (United Kingdom).
c. 2016-based projections (principal series); National Records of Scotland.
d. 2015-based projections; data is for 2015 and 2025 rather than 2016 and 2026.
e. 2013-based projections (series 5B- medium assumptions); Statistics New Zealand.
f. 2015-based projections; National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (Japan).
 

Families

There are projected to be between 9.2 and 9.4 million families in Australia in 2041 (up from 6.7 million in 2016). That's an increase of 2.5 to 2.8 million families, or 37% to 41%.

There are more families than family households because multiple families can live together in one household. Projections are made for couples with children, couples without children, one-parent families (male and female) and other families. Other families include other combinations of related individuals such as adult siblings living together.

  • Couples with children are projected to make up 43% of all families in 2041 – down slightly from 44% in 2016.
  • Couples without chidlren are projected to be the second most common family type in 2041, at 38% to 39% (38% in 2016).
  • Single-female-parent families are projected to make up 13% to 14% of all families in 2041 (13% in 2016) and 80% to 82% of all single-parent families (82% in 2016).
  • Single-male-parent families are projected to increase the fastest of any family type, increasing by between 44% and 65% (85,300 to 127,000 families) by 2041.
  • Other families are projected to make up only 1.5% to 1.7% of all families in 2041 (1.8% in 2016).
     
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Projected families, Australia

Family type  At 30 June  
201620212026203120362041
'000'000'000'000'000'000
SERIES I
Couple families with children
2,956.7
3,181.6
3,419.1
3,651.8
3,874.8
4,086.9
Couple families without children
2,512.7
2,790.7
3,033.8
3,241.1
3,437.1
3,636.9
One-parent families
1,072.0
1,157.1
1,249.5
1,347.5
1,445.6
1,536.4
 Male parent
193.9
208.8
225.0
242.8
261.3
279.1
 Female parent
878.2
948.4
1,024.5
1,104.8
1,184.3
1,257.3
Other families
117.6
127.5
136.4
145.2
153.5
161.9
Total
6,659.0
7,256.9
7,838.8
8,385.5
8,911.1
9,422.1
SERIES II
Couple families with children
2,956.7
3,161.9
3,384.9
3,609.2
3,832.5
4,046.5
Couple families without children
2,512.7
2,751.3
2,981.7
3,184.0
3,376.7
3,569.0
One-parent families
1,072.0
1,163.9
1,259.8
1,362.4
1,465.5
1,562.3
 Male parent
193.9
214.9
234.6
254.7
274.6
294.0
 Female parent
878.2
949.0
1,025.2
1,107.7
1,190.9
1,268.3
Other families
117.6
123.7
129.9
136.6
144.2
152.0
Total
6,659.0
7,200.8
7,756.2
8,292.3
8,818.8
9,329.8
SERIES III
Couple families with children
2,956.7
3,161.9
3,370.7
3,567.7
3,748.4
3,912.9
Couple families without children
2,512.7
2,751.3
2,965.7
3,148.6
3,313.3
3,472.3
One-parent families
1,072.0
1,163.9
1,264.7
1,378.5
1,504.0
1,633.9
 Male parent
193.9
214.9
237.8
263.2
291.3
320.9
 Female parent
878.2
949.0
1,026.9
1,115.3
1,212.6
1,313.0
Other families
117.6
123.7
127.8
130.9
133.4
135.9
Total
6,659.0
7,200.8
7,728.9
8,225.7
8,699.0
9,155.0

Types of living arrangements

Living with a partner

Between 14.8 and 15.4 million people are projected to be living with a partner in 2041 (up from 10.9 million in 2016) – or 43% to 45% of Australians.

  • In 2041, around half (53%) of people living with a partner are projected to have children living with them as well (down from 54% in 2016).
  • Most of the projected increase of people living with a partner without children is due to increases of older people (aged 70 and over).
     
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Living as a single parent

The number of single parents is projected to increase from 1.1 million in 2016 to between 1.5 and 1.6 million in 2041.

  • Female lone parents are projected to increase by between 43% and 50%, from 878,200 in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2041.
  • Male lone parents are projected to increase by between 44% and 65%, from 193,900 in 2016 to between 279,100 and 320,900 in 2041.
  • Around 4 in 5 lone parents are projected to be female (between 80% and 82% in 2041, compared to 82% in 2016).
     
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Living with parents

Nearly one-third (30% to 31%) of Australia's population are projected to live with their parents in 2041 (31% in 2016).

Of those living with parents (or parent figures):

  • around 3 in 4 (75% to 77%) are projected to be living with two parents and 1 in 4 living with one parent in 2041.
  • around 1 in 7 are projected to be aged in their twenties (15%), and a further 6% to 8% aged over 30 in 2041.
     

Families with children can include children of any age. They may be families with dependent children, students or adult children, while in some families an adult child may be caring for an elderly parent.

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Living with other relatives

In 2041, around 2.5% to 2.7% of the population are projected to live with other relatives (2.4% in 2016), such as elderly parents living with their adult child's family or adult siblings living together. That's between 858,400 and 904,600 Australians in 2041 (592,600 in 2016).

People living with other relatives are projected to:

  • decrease for 20–29 year olds, from 30% in 2016 to between 27% and 29% in 2041.
  • potentially increase for 50–59 year olds, from 11% in 2016 to between 10% and 15% in 2041.
  • potentially increase for those aged 80 years and over, from 9% in 2016 to between 8% and 14% in 2041.
     

Living alone

Between 3.0 and 3.5 million people are projected to be living alone in 2041 (up from 2.3 million in 2016). That's an increase of between 32% and 53%, mainly because of the ageing population.

  • Half of all people living alone are women (55% in 2016, and between 53% and 57% in 2041).
  • Under the age of 60, men are more likely to be living alone than women (56% in 2016 and projected to be between 53% and 56% in 2041).
  • Over age 60 years, there are more women then men living alone (65% in 2016 and projected to be between 57% and 66% in 2041), reflecting the higher life expectancy of women.
     
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Living in a group household

In 2041, there are projected to be between 1.3 and 1.5 million people in group households (up from 954,400 in 2016). That's an increase of 34% to 62%.

  • Group households make up a small part of the population – projected to be only 4% to 5% in 2041 (compared to 4% in 2016).
  • Half (50%) of all group household members were in their twenties in 2016, but this is projected to decline to between 46% and 48% in 2041.
  • 6% of group household members are projected to be aged 70 years and over in 2041, up from 4% in 2016.
     
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Living in a non-private dwelling

Between 828,300 and 868,300 people are projected to live in non-private dwellings in 2041, up from 490,800 in 2016. That's an increase of between 69% and 77% – faster than the projected population increase of 40%.

Around one third (between 200,800 and 282,200) of all people projected to be living in non-private dwellings in 2041 are aged 85 years and over, up from 123,800 in 2016. The large majority of elderly people living in non-private dwellings in 2016 were in nursing homes or retirement homes.

Another quarter (between 169,100 and 242,200) are projected to be younger people aged 15–29 in 2041, up from 129,400 in 2016.

In 2016, most people aged 18–24 living in non-private dwellings were in university accommodation.

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Projected persons, living arrangement – Australia, at 30 June

Living arrangement201620212026203120362041
'000'000'000'000'000'000
SERIES I
Family households      
 Couple families with children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,913.5
6,363.1
6,838.3
7,303.5
7,749.6
8,173.8
  Child
5,817.0
6,248.3
6,686.1
7,073.9
7,430.6
7,769.8
  Other related individual
155.5
172.0
188.6
204.4
219.0
233.3
 Couple families without children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,025.4
5,581.4
6,067.5
6,482.1
6,874.2
7,273.8
  Other related individual
93.8
102.4
111.8
122.1
132.7
142.7
 One-parent families      
  Male parent
193.9
208.8
225.0
242.8
261.3
279.1
  Female parent
878.2
948.4
1,024.5
1,104.8
1,184.3
1,257.3
  Child
1,690.1
1,817.1
1,941.1
2,053.2
2,162.0
2,267.7
  Other related individual
93.9
103.2
112.8
121.8
130.3
138.8
 Other families      
  Related person living in an other family
249.4
270.6
289.4
308.0
325.8
343.6
  Unrelated individuals in an other family
334.7
360.5
382.1
403.3
424.9
446.1
 Total living in families
20,445.3
22,175.7
23,867.2
25,420.0
26,894.8
28,326.0
Group households      
 Group household member
954.4
1 032.2
1,092.7
1,154.5
1,217.5
1,277.8
Lone-person households      
 Male lone person
1,045.8
1,148.2
1,248.5
1,345.6
1,440.0
1,531.0
 Female lone person
1,254.6
1,404.1
1,560.3
1,715.1
1,859.8
1,992.9
Usual resident of a non-private dwelling
490.8
541.1
603.7
679.1
760.0
828.3
Total
24,190.9
26,301.3
28,372.3
30,314.3
32,172.1
33,955.9
SERIES II
Family households      
 Couple families with children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,913.5
6,323.8
6,769.8
7,218.5
7,664.9
8,093.0
  Child
5,817.0
6,267.6
6,714.4
7,108.2
7,467.4
7,808.0
  Other related individual
155.5
178.8
198.8
216.1
230.7
245.4
 Couple families without children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,025.4
5,502.6
5,963.3
6,368.1
6,753.3
7,138.0
  Other related individual
93.8
107.2
119.0
130.3
140.3
150.2
 One-parent families      
  Male parent
193.9
214.9
234.6
254.7
274.6
294.0
  Female parent
878.2
949.0
1,025.2
1,107.7
1,190.9
1,268.3
  Child
1,690.1
1,864.8
2,017.3
2,147.1
2,261.0
2,373.0
  Other related individual
93.9
107.9
120.4
131.4
140.5
149.8
 Other families      
  Related person living in an other family
249.4
262.4
275.6
289.8
306.0
322.6
  Unrelated individual in an other family
334.7
406.9
457.2
496.3
522.8
548.6
 Total living in families
20,445.3
22,185.8
23,895.6
25,468.2
26,952.5
28,390.8
Group households      
 Group household member
954.4
1 078.9
1 165.9
1 243.3
1 311.3
1 376.2
Lone-person households      
 Male lone person
1,045.8
1,133.3
1,224.2
1,316.2
1,410.8
1,502.2
 Female lone person
1,254.6
1,352.4
1,469.8
1,595.7
1,729.8
1,853.8
Usual resident of a non-private dwelling
490.8
550.9
616.8
691.0
767.8
832.9
Total
24,190.9
26,301.3
28,372.3
30,314.3
32,172.1
33,955.9
SERIES III
Family households      
 Couple families with children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,913.5
6,323.8
6,741.5
7,135.4
7,496.8
7,825.8
  Child
5,817.0
6,267.6
6,720.9
7,121.1
7,486.8
7,828.8
  Other related individual
155.5
178.8
202.5
225.5
248.2
272.8
 Couple families without children      
  Husband, wife or partner
5,025.4
5,502.6
5,931.4
6,297.2
6,626.6
6,944.6
  Other related individual
93.8
107.2
121.9
138.0
155.3
174.2
 One-parent families      
  Male parent
193.9
214.9
237.8
263.2
291.3
320.9
  Female parent
878.2
949.0
1,026.9
1,115.3
1,212.6
1,313.0
  Child
1,690.1
1,864.8
2,043.0
2,215.4
2,390.8
2,572.4
  Other related individual
93.9
107.9
122.9
138.1
153.2
169.1
 Other families      
  Related person living in an other family
249.4
262.4
271.1
277.7
283.1
288.5
  Unrelated individual in an other family
334.7
406.9
484.6
572.2
673.7
787.4
 Total living in families
20,445.3
22,185.8
23,904.3
25,499.1
27,018.5
28,497.5
Group households      
 Group household member
954.4
1,078.9
1,189.9
1,304.2
1,424.9
1,544.5
Lone-person households      
 Male lone person
1,045.8
1,133.3
1,216.0
1,294.8
1,371.6
1,444.3
 Female lone person
1,254.6
1,352.4
1,439.7
1,511.5
1,565.8
1,601.4
Usual resident of a non-private dwelling
490.8
550.9
622.4
704.7
791.4
868.3
Total
24,190.9
26,301.3
28,372.3
30,314.3
32,172.1
33,955.9

Age groups

People age 0–14 years

The number of children aged 0–14 years in Australia is projected to increase to 6.1 million in 2041, up from 4.6 million in 2016.

  • Around 4 in 5 children are projected to live in couple families in 2041 (82% to 83%, compared to 82% in 2016).
  • Most of the remaining children are projected to live in single-parent families (17% to 18%, compared to 18% in 2016).
  • Only a very small number of children are projected to live in non-private dwellings such as boarding schools or hospital accommodation (0.2%, the same as in 2016).
     

The proportion of children living in couple families decreases with age, and the proportion living in one-parent families increases. In 2041, 86% to 88% of 0–4 year olds are projected to live in couple families, compared to 82% to 83% of 5–9 year olds and 78% of 10–14 year olds.

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People aged 15–29 years

People in this age group move from mainly living as a child in a one or two-parent family at age 15–19, to mainly living with a partner at ages 25–29.

People living as a child in a one or two-parent family in 2041 are projected to make up:

  • 9 in 10 teenagers aged 15–19 (87% to 90%).
  • 5 in 10 people aged 20–24 (49% to 51%).
  • 2 in 10 people aged 25–29 (20% to 21%).
     

In contrast, those living with a partner (with or without children) in 2041 made up:

  • 1% of 15–19 year olds.
  • 11% to 16% of 20–24 year old.
  • 39% to 46% of 25–29 year olds.
     

The proportion of 25-29 year olds who are parents living with their child (11% to 21% in 2041) is projected to remain higher than for 20-24 year olds (2% to 6% in 2041).

The proportion of 15-29 year olds who are parents living with their child is projected to decline from 10% in 2016 to between 5% and 10% in 2041, reflecting the continuing trend of women delaying childbirth until their thirties.

Those living as group household members is projected to be similar for 20–24 year olds (14% to 15%) and 25–29 year olds (13% to 17%).

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People aged 30–44 years

Most people (50% to 55%) aged 30–44 years are projected to be living as partners with children in 2041. This figure increases with age, from 34% to 43% of 30–34 year olds, to 61% to 63% of 40–44 year olds.

The second most common living arrangement for this age group in 2041 is living as a partner without children (15% to 19%), followed by living alone (6% to 8%).

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People aged 45–59 years

Living as partners with children is projected to be the most common living arrangement for 45–59 year olds (48% to 51% in 2041). This figure decreases with age, from 58% to 59% of 45–49 year olds, to 34% to 40% of 55–59 year olds.

By ages 55–59, it is projected to be more common to be living as a partner without children than as a partner with children in series I (35% in 2041). Living as a partner with children is projected to remain the most common living arrangement in series II and III.

Single parents and parents in couple families with children are projected to increase among this age group by 2041 (series II and III), while living as a partner without children is projected to become less common. Series I projects similar proportions in 2041 as in 2016.

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People aged 60–74 years

The majority of 60–74 year olds are projected to be living as partners without children (51% to 54% in 2041).

Living alone (19% to 20%) is projected to be the next most common living arrangement among this age group in 2041, followed by living as a partner with children (14%).

The likelihood of living alone increases with age, from 17% to 19% of 60–64 year olds to 19% to 23% of 70–74 year olds, reflecting the death of partners at this age.

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People aged 75 years and over

People in this age group are projected to move from mainly living as a partner without children at ages 75–79, to mainly living alone at ages 85 years and over.

People living as a partner without children in 2041 is projected to make up:

  • 53% to 61% of 75–79 year olds.
  • 43% to 54% of 80–84 year olds.
  • 23% to 33% of people aged 85 years and over.
     

In contrast, those living alone in 2041 made up:

  • 18% to 27% of 75–79 year olds.
  • 22% to 32% of 80–84 year olds.
  • 34% to 35% of people aged 85 years and over.
     

The likelihood of living in a non-private dwelling increases with age, from 2% to 4% of 75–79 year olds to 18% to 26% of people aged 85 years and over.

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States and territories

Capital city and rest of state/territory households

In 2041, 69% of all Australian households are projected to be in capital cities (up from 65% in 2016). All capital cities are projected to experience higher growth in households than the rest of the state/territory, due to higher population growth projected in capital cities.

Fastest growth: Melbourne is projected to have the fastest growth in households – between 59% and 64% by 2041.

Slowest growth: The rest of Tasmania (outside Hobart) is projected to have the slowest growth in households – between 4% and 5% by 2041.

Largest increase: Melbourne is projected to have the largest increase in households – an extra 1.0 to 1.1 million households by 2041, reaching between 2.8 and 2.9 million households.

Smallest increase: The rest of the Northern Territory (outside Darwin) is projected to have the smallest increase in households – an extra 2,200 to 4,000 households by 2041, reaching between 30,000 and 31,800 households.

State/territory highlights

New South Wales

  • The most common living arrangement in 2016 was to be a partner in a couple family (25%).
  • Households and families are projected to increase more slowly in New South Wales than for Australia as a whole.
     

Victoria

  • Households are projected to top 3 million in 2029 (series I and II) or 2030 (series III).
  • Households and families are projected to increase faster in Victoria than any other state/territory.
     

Queensland

  • Couple-only families are projected to overtake couple families with children as the most common family type in Queensland in 2036 (series I). Couple families with children are projected to remain the most common family type for series II and III.
  • Queensland and Tasmania were the only states where there were fewer families living in the capital city than in the rest of the state in 2016. This is projected to change for Queensland in 2032 (series I) or 2033 (series II and III).
     

South Australia

  • Couple-only families are projected to overtake couple families with children as the most common family type in South Australia in 2019 (series I) or 2021 (series II and III).
  • Households and families are projected to increase slower in South Australia than all states and territories other than Tasmania.
     

Western Australia

  • Households are projected to top 1 million in 2019 (series I) or 2020 (series II and III).
  • In 2041 families are projected to reach 1 million (series I and II) or 972,200 (series III). This is up from 712,800 families in 2016.
     

Tasmania

  • Tasmania was the only state or territory where couple-only families were the most common family type in 2016.
  • The number of couple families with children in Tasmania is projected to decline up until 2041. This is the only state or territory where a family type or household type is projected to decline.
  • Tasmania has the lowest proportion of family households and the highest proportion of lone-person households.
     

Northern Territory

  • There is a lower proportion of lone-person households in the Northern Territory than any other state or territory and a higher proportion of family households.
  • The Northern Territory has the lowest proportion of couple families without children.
     

Australian Capital Territory

  • One-parent families are less common in the Australian Capital Territory than any other state or territory, while couple families with children are more common.
  • Households are projected to top 200,000 in 2029 (series I), 2030 (series II) or 2031 (series III).
     

Projected households

Region2016204120412041Increase, 2016-2041Increase, 2016-2041Increase, 2016-2041
 Series ISeries IISeries IIISeries ISeries IISeries III
'000'000'000'000%%%
Greater Sydney1,795.52,740.22,677.12,566.452.649.142.9
Rest of New South Wales1,100.01,342.11,328.91,301.62220.818.3
Total New South Wales2,895.54,082.34,006.03,868.04138.433.6
Greater Melbourne1,739.92,859.12,829.02,768.464.362.659.1
Rest of Victoria602.2759.4758.2755.226.125.925.4
Total Victoria2,342.13,618.43,587.23,523.654.553.250.4
Greater Brisbane862.91,338.61,308.31,253.055.151.645.2
Rest of Queensland973.71,330.01,314.01,280.836.634.931.5
Total Queensland1,836.62,668.52,622.22,533.945.342.838
Greater Adelaide534.7664.4654.3637.124.322.419.2
Rest of South Australia164.6177.6177.3175.87.97.86.8
Total South Australia699.3842.0831.7812.920.418.916.3
Greater Perth769.31,158.71,127.01,072.750.646.539.4
Rest of Western Australia204.9261.9252.3227.827.923.211.2
Total Western Australia974.21,420.61,379.31,300.445.841.633.5
Greater Hobart93.9121.5120.4118.229.428.225.8
Rest of Tasmania125.7132.4131.8130.45.34.93.8
Total Tasmania219.6253.9252.2248.715.614.913.2
Greater Darwin50.377.272.664.153.344.327.5
Rest of Northern Territory27.931.831.530.014.212.87.8
Total Northern Territory78.2109.0104.194.239.433.120.4
Total Australian Capital Territory157.7237.9234.4227.450.848.644.2
Total capital cities(a)6,004.39,197.49,023.18,707.353.250.345
Total rest of state/territory(b)3,200.44,037.03,995.53,903.026.124.822
Total Australia(b)9,204.613,234.413,018.712,610.343.841.437
a. Includes Australian Capital Territory.
b. Includes Other Territories.
 

What if...

The size and age/sex structure of Australia's future population will influence the number of future households, families and people in different living arrangements.

Previous sections of this publication apply three different assumptions about living arrangements to the series B projection from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) to 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0). This chapter looks at the impact of instead using the series A (higher) or series C (lower) population projections as the future population of Australia.

Population projections, assumptions (a)

Population seriesAssumptionsAssumptionsAssumptionsAssumptionsProjected populationProjected population
Total fertility rate (c)Male life expectancy at birth (b)Female life expectancy at birth (b)Net overseas migration (c)2041 average annual growth2041 average annual growth rate
babies per womanyearsyearspersonsmillion%
Series A1.9587.789.2275,00036.11.6
Series B1.88386225,000341.4
Series C1.658386175,00032.11.1
a. For details on the specific assumptions see Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) – 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0).
b. From 2066.
c. From 2027.
 

Household projections

Using the series B projection as the future population of Australia results in a projection of between 12.6 and 13.2 million households in Australia in 2041. This is an increase of between 3.4 and 4.0 million households.

If instead the series A projection was used as the future population, the number of households is projected to be 4% higher than using series B, increasing by between 3.9 and 4.6 million households to reach between 13.1 and 13.8 million households in 2041.

If the series C projection were used, the number is projected to be 3% lower than using series B, increasing by between 3.0 and 3.6 million households to reach between 12.2 and 12.8 million households.

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  1. Uses series I household projection assumptions and series A population projection assumptions.
  2. Uses series II household projection assumptions and series B population projection assumptions.
  3. Uses series III household projection assumptions and series C population projection assumptions.


The use of different population projection series (A, B or C) has relatively little impact on the proportion of households in each household type. For example, family households are projected to make up 70% of all households for series II regardless of which population is used. The impact of the population projection series is mainly on the number of each type of household, rather than on the proportion relative to the population.

Projected households, selected projection series combination

  Series A (a)Series B (a)Series C (a)
  '000'000'000
ESTIMATED HOUSEHOLDS – 2016
Households    
 Family
6,480.3
6,480.3
6,480.3
 Group
423.9
423.9
423.9
 Lone-person
2,300.4
2,300.4
2,300.4
 Total
9,204.6
9,204.6
9,204.6
PROJECTED HOUSEHOLDS – 2041
Series I (b)    
 Family
9,545.7
9,163.4
8,848.9
 Group
577.0
547.2
518.9
 Lone-person
3,671.5
3,523.8
3,447.8
 Total
13,794.2
13,234.4
12,815.6
Series II (b)    
 Family
9,450.6
9,073.6
8,768.6
 Group
620.6
589.0
559.1
 Lone-person
3,494.4
3,356.0
3,285.9
 Total
13,565.6
13,018.7
12,613.6
Series III (b)    
 Family
9,270.9
8,903.7
8,615.6
 Group
695.5
661.0
628.3
 Lone-person
3,167.8
3,045.7
2,985.4
 Total
13,134.2
12,610.3
12,229.4
a. Series A, B and C refer to three series of population projections from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) – 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0).
b. Series I, II and III refer to assumptions made about future living arrangements of the population of Australia. See the page 'Assumptions' for more detail.
 

Family projections

Using the series B projection as the future population, the number of families in Australia is projected to reach between 9.2 and 9.4 million in 2041.

If the series A population is used instead of series B, higher numbers of families are projected (between 9.5 and 9.8 million in 2041), while if series C is used, fewer families are projected (between 8.9 and 9.1 million).

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  1. Uses series I household projection assumptions and series A population projection assumptions.
  2. Uses series II household projection assumptions and series B population projection assumptions.
  3. Uses series III household projection assumptions and series C population projection assumptions.


As with household projections, the use of different population projection series (A, B or C) has relatively little impact on the proportion of families in each family type. For example, couple families with children is projected to make up 43% of all families for series II regardless of which population is used. The impact of the population projection series is mainly on the number of each type of family, rather than on the proportion relative to the population.

Projected number of families, selected projection series combination

   Series A (a)Series B (a)Series C (a)
   '000'000'000
ESTIMATED FAMILIES – 2016
Families     
 Couples families with children
2,956.7
2,956.7
2,956.7
 Couple families without children
2,512.7
2,512.7
2,512.7
 One-parent families   
  Male parent
193.9
193.9
193.9
  Female parent
878.2
878.2
878.2
 Other families
117.6
117.6
117.6
 Total
6,659.0
6,659.0
6,659.0
PROJECTED FAMILIES – 2041
Series I (b)     
 Couples families with children
4,271.6
4,086.9
3,912.1
 Couple families without children
3,769.9
3,636.9
3,548.5
 One-parent families   
  Male parent
289.7
279.1
271.5
  Female parent
1,313.3
1,257.3
1,212.6
 Other families
170.7
161.9
154.2
 Total 
9,815.0
9,422.1
9,098.9
Series II (b)     
 Couples families with children
4,225.2
4,046.5
3,878.1
 Couple families without children
3,705.2
3,569.0
3,480.6
 One-parent families   
  Male parent
304.7
294.0
286.6
  Female parent
1,322.0
1,268.3
1,226.4
 Other families
160.0
152.0
144.7
 Total 
9,717.1
9,329.8
9,016.3
Series III (b)     
 Couples families with children
4,079.5
3,912.9
3,757.3
 Couple families without children
3,614.3
3,472.3
3,384.1
 One-parent families   
  Male parent
331.9
320.9
313.7
  Female parent
1,363.9
1,313.0
1,274.5
 Other families
142.8
135.9
129.5
 Total 
9,532.3
9,155.0
8,859.0
a. Series A, B and C refer to three series of population projections from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) – 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0).
b. Series I, II and III refer to assumptions made about future living arrangements of the population of Australia. See Chapter 2 – Assumptions for more detail.
 

Living arrangement projections

The different age structures of series A, B and C result in differences in the proportion of the projected population in each type of living arrangement.

Projected living arrangement proportions, selected population projection series (series II)

 2016204120412041
  Series ASeries BSeries C
 %%%%
Partner in couple family with children
24.4
23.4
23.8
24.2
Child in a couple family
24.0
24.1
23.0
21.6
Partner in couple family without children
20.8
20.5
21.0
21.7
Lone parent
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
Child in lone-parent family
7.0
7.2
7.0
6.7
Group household member
3.9
4.0
4.1
4.1
Lone person
9.5
9.7
9.9
10.2
Usual resident of a non-private dwelling
2.0
2.5
2.5
2.5
Other
3.8
4.1
4.2
4.2

Data downloads

Projected number of households, household type - 2016 to 2041

Projected number of families, family type - 2016 to 2041

Projected number of persons, living arrangement - 2016 to 2041

Living arrangement propensities, Australia