Couples with no children set to be largest family grouping in Australia by 2029

by Ray Clancy on May 16, 2017

in Australia

Families in Australia are changing and the number of couples without children is projected to exceed the number of those with children between 2023 and 2029, according to an official projection.

Couples without children are set to become the most common family type in Australia as the nation’s population ages and younger couples delaying having families, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


Data from the ABS shows that in June 2016 shows the vast majority, some 5.7 million or 84%, of Australian families were couples with children and around 44% of these families had children under 15 and students aged 15 to 24 years living with them.

The next largest group of families in 2016 were one parent families, accounting for 14% and almost two in three of the 948,800 one parent families had dependants living with them while 83% were headed by single mothers.

The number of couple families without children is projected to increase by between 56% and 64% by 2036. ‘Our ageing population and trends towards delayed child bearing or couples not having children contribute to this rise,’ said Stephen Collett, programme manager of household characteristics and social reporting at the ABS.

He pointed out that around 41% of Australian families were couple families without children in 2012/2013 compared with 35% in 1997 and the projections show that the trend of couples with no children is driven by a number of factors, including age of the family members as well as decisions about delaying child bearing or not having children.

He also pointed out that the idea of a ‘traditional nuclear family’ has been changing for some time now and trends in divorce and remarriage have contributed to more one parent, step and blended families.

There has also been an increase in the number of children under the age of 13 years living in these families or living with grandparents. Research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies reveals that about 43% of children under the age of 13 years were living in non-traditional households in 2016.

In June 2016 there were an estimated 120,300 other types of families, for example, siblings sharing a house, or grandparents living with grandchildren. These families made up 2% of Australian families.

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