Conference paper

Family housing opportunity restructuring in Australian cities and regions (1981 - 2016)

18 Jun 2018

Housing is fundamentally important to family wellbeing. Secure, affordable housing assists family members to care for one another through life events and transitions, promotes healthy child development and enables engagement in social and economic spheres beyond and within the home. Yet, while an emerging body of research links housing experience to family wellbeing, what remains relatively unchartered are significant changes that have occurred in the ways families are housed. Tenure opportunity (home ownership, rental housing), housing wellbeing (affordability, adequacy, security) and places of home (locational distribution, proximity to amenity/opportunity) for low and moderate income families in particular, have changed markedly in the context of Australian housing system restructuring in the last three decades. This paper provides an evidence base about the intersection of these changes for families in Australian cities and regions with a focus on their implications for family life. Time series analysis of ABS Census data (1981-2016) and Survey of Income and Housing (various years) examining changes in the distribution of families with dependent children across the housing system (tenure changes 1981-2011), including the geographic redistribution of family life that has occurred in the same period (metropolitan, outer-metropolitan, regional), are presented, including via a focused analysis of how these combined effects manifest in children’s housing and locational affordability. The displacement of low to moderate income families, in particular, from secure housing (home ownership, public housing) in locations close to opportunity, toward insecure housing (private rental, marginal housing) in outer metropolitan and regional locations, are discussed in the context of the ability of families to sustain familial patterns of care.

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