The size of Australian households and the forms they take have changed in profound ways across the years. These trends result from the interaction of many factors; for example, the increasing size and ageing of the population, along with an extended period of “healthy ageing”; technological advances; immigration patterns and cultural changes; economic shifts and the changing financial capacities of families; delays in milestones that most people experience in the course of their lives (such as leaving home, marrying and having children); changes in fertility; increased instability of relationships; increased family mobility and dispersion; and the increasing participation of women in the workforce.
This fact sheet outlines the extent and nature of various changes that have been occurring in households in Australia, with particular attention given to households consisting of families of different forms. An understanding of these changes is an important policy issue, given that lifestyles, needs and resources are affected by the circumstances of living alone or with others, in a family or non-family setting. Such changes may have wide repercussions extending not only to immediate family members living elsewhere, but also to neighbourhoods and communities.