Living arrangements - Single people

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Living arrangements in the AIFS library catalogue

Mapping economic disadvantage in New South Wales

Vidyattama Y and Tanton R
Woolloomooloo, N.S.W. : NCOSS, 2019.
This report provides a detailed breakdown of poverty rates across New South Wales - providing insights into poverty rates and at risk groups in different towns and regions. Interactive maps are also available on the study's website, along with a technical appendix. It presents statistics on where disadvantaged people are located and what their characteristics are - including their age, sex, employment, family arrangements, and housing tenure. It findings highlight how the characteristics of people living with disadvantage can vary strikingly from one community to another. The report also provides the composition of those in poverty, which is the proportion of different demographic groups among those in poverty. This is important for service providers as it gives an indication of who is in poverty in an area, rather than what proportion of a certain group is in poverty. Single people, single parents, children, women, disabled people, the unemployed, renters, and Indigenous Australians face greater likelihoods of poverty - though there are also significant poverty rates among home owners and employed people. Over 13% of people in New South Wales live with significant economic disadvantage and live below the poverty line.

Living alone in Canada

Tang J, Galbraith N and Truong J
Ottawa, Ontario : Statistics Canada, 2019.
"This study uses the Census of Population and the 2017 General Social Survey on Family to examine the characteristics of the population living alone in Canada. The demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics of persons who live alone are examined, as well as their conjugal history, family relationships, and well-being indicators. The number of persons living alone in Canada has more than doubled over the last 35 years, from 1.7 million in 1981 to 4.0 million in 2016. Solo dwellers represented 14% of the population aged 15 and over living in private households in 2016, up from 9% in 1981. In recent decades, the number of persons living alone has grown fastest among adults aged 35 to 64. Reflecting this shift, persons living alone in 2016 were more likely to be male and separated or divorced than in the past ... Despite living alone in their usual place of residence, solo dwellers may nonetheless have close connections with loved ones: in 2017, the majority of these individuals had at least one child, and one-third of those aged 20 to 34 were in a Living Apart Together (LAT) relationship with a partner. Most young adults who lived alone in 2017 intended to either form a union or have a child in the future, suggesting that they consider this lifestyle to be a temporary arrangement."--Overview.

Households and family life.

Lass I
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 17 : the 14th Annual Statistical Report of the HILDA Survey. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2019: 6-28
This chapter explores changes in three aspects of family life in Australia: trends in living arrangements and household types; the use of paid formal child care and after school care; and the characteristics of 'interethnic' couples - that is, couples where partners were born in different countries. Data is taken from the first 17 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which were conducted between 2001 and 2017. Information is presented on: proportion of individuals in each household type, change in living arrangements over the life course, use of formal child care by family type and age of child, the characteristics of parents who use child care - including education level and attitudes to parenting, difficulties in accessing child care, expenditure on child care, number of interethnic couples, interethnic relationships among migrants and second generation Australians, characteristics of people living in an interethnic relationship, main language spoken in interethnic couples, and division of child care and housework among interethnic couples. In terms of household types, living arrangements have been relatively stable across the 17-year study period, with most households still containing a couple with dependent children.

Household and family projections, Australia 2016 to 2041

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019.
This website provides projections of the number of households, families, and living arrangement types for Australia over the next 2 decades. The projections are not intended as predictions or forecasts, but are illustrations of growth and change in the population that would occur if one of three hypothesised assumptions about future living arrangements of Australia's population were to prevail over the projection period. Projections are presented nationally and for states, territories, capital cities, and regions. Family households are projected to remain the most common household type in Australia, with couples with children expected to decrease very slightly and single-male-parent families projected to increase significantly. Between 3.0 and 3.5 million Australians are projected to be living alone in 2041. The website discusses the findings with further detail provided in spreadsheets.

Cost of living 2018

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2018.
This report models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia in 2017/2018, as well as the adequacy of income to meet these costs and changes over the last 2 years. It looks the situation of a typical single parent family, working family, unemployed single person, a retired couple renting a house, and a retired couple who own their own house, and also considers regional variations. This annual series, which commenced in 2007, analyses relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This report also features insights on the specific challenges faced by financially stressed households, drawing on an analysis of 404 household budgets collated by financial counsellors across Western Australia. The report concludes with recommendations for the state government to help manage cost of living pressures and achieve a more equitable society.

A demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral profile of cohabiting adults in the United States, 2011-2015

Nugent C and Daugherty J
Hyattsville, MD : National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2018.
This paper compares the characteristics and views of cohabitating, married, and single adults in the United States in the 18-44 age group. It makes national estimates based on data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), drawing on data for 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 from 8,292 women and 6,674 men. The paper considers differences in fertility, family formation, childbearing, and sexual behavior, and attitudes about sexual behavior, use of contraception, living together before marriage, marriage, divorce, single parenthood, and childbearing. Current cohabiters were more likely than both married and single people to be supportive of nontraditional family living arrangements, to have had their first sexual intercourse before the age of 18, and to have not received a high school diploma.

Households and family life.

Lass I
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 16 : the 13th Annual Statistical Report of the HILDA Survey. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2018: 6-26
This chapter explores changes in three aspects of family life in Australia: household living arrangements; the use of paid child care for preschool children; and the characteristics of 'large' families with three or more children. Data is taken from the first 16 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which were conducted between 2001 and 2016. Information is presented on: trends in household types; proportion of individuals in different household types one year later - that is, household changes from one year to the next; paid child care for children not yet in school; use of paid child care by parents' labour force status; other types of child care used by these parents; weekly hours of paid care used; expenditure on child care; households by number of children across OECD countries in 2015; proportion of families by size and parent partner status; family characteristics in families of different sizes, including parent age and education, parent relationship status, same-sex families, relationship satisfaction, employment and financial situation, Indigenous status and country of birth, region, child age, and religiosity and traditional attitudes about marriage and children.

WACOSS cost of living 2017

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2017.
This report models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia in 2016/2017, as well as the adequacy of income to meet these costs and changes over the last few years. It looks the situation of a typical single patent family, working family, unemployed single person, a retired couple renting a house, and a retired couple who own their own house, and also considers regional variations. This annual series, which commenced in 2007, analyses relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This report also features insights on the specific challenges faced by financially stressed households, drawing on an analysis of 265 household budgets collated by financial counsellors across Western Australia. The report concludes with recommendations for the state government to help manage cost of living pressures and achieve a more equitable society.

Families and households, 2017

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2017.
This annual series provides information on trends in living arrangements in the United Kingdom, including families, couples, households, people living alone, young adults living with their parents, and people in shared accommodation. Estimates are based on social survey data from the latest Labour Force Survey household dataset. This edition presents the latest information for 2017, with some trends since 1996. In 2017, there were 19.0 million family households, 27.2 million households in total, and 3.9 million people living alone in the United Kingdom.

New minimum income for healthy living budget standards for low-paid and unemployed Australians

Saunders P and Bedford M
Sydney, NSW : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, 2017.
A budget standard indicates how much income a particular family living in a particular place at a particular time needs to achieve a particular standard of living. Budget standards estimates are used in Australia to help guide the setting of the minimum wage and to assess the adequacy of social security payments. This paper reviews and refines earlier, widely used estimates developed by the Social Policy Research Centre to produce a new set of budget standards for low-paid and unemployed families that are relevant to contemporary Australian conditions. The new estimates draw on community focus groups, expert judgements, and relevant evidence from social surveys. The family types included are for a single person (male and female), couples without children, couples with one and two children, and a sole parent with one child.

Snapshot of Australia : 2016 Census data summary.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Reflecting Australia : stories from the Census, 2016. Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017.
This article presents the first findings from the 2016 Australian Census, providing a quick portrait of the country in terms of where we live, how old we are, where we were born, our religion, income, living arrangements and our housing. The 2016 Census counted 23.4 million people living in Australia, an increase of 8.8% since the 2011 Census. More than two-thirds of private households had one family living in them: despite remaining the most commonly reported type of household, the proportion of one family households has continued to decrease in the last 25 years. The 2016 Census counted 6.1 million families across Australia: again, though couple families with children remains the most common type of Australian family in 2016, this proportion has decreased over time.

2016 cost of living: annual research report

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2016.
This report series models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia, analysing relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This 2016 report models the income and expenditure of three household types - single parent families, working families, and unemployed single people - during the 2015/16 financial year in comparison to the two preceding years. The findings indicate that low income households are in a similar financial position to the previous year, with any improvements in living costs almost entirely due to the weakening rental market, with housing costs remaining the biggest single driver of financial hardship for low income households.

Families and households in the UK, 2016

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2016.
This annual series provides information on trends in living arrangements in the United Kingdom, including families, couples, households, people living alone, young adults living with their parents, and people in shared accommodation. Estimates are based on social survey data from the latest Labour Force Survey household dataset. This edition presents the latest information for 2016, with some trends since 1996. In 2016, there were 18.9 million family households, with 12.7 million of these being married or civil partner couple families. Note, civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 and marriage was amended to include same sex couples in 2014. There were 13.9 million dependent children living in families in the UK in 2016: the number living in lone parent families has changed little over the last decade but the number in cohabiting couple families has increased by about 10% while the number in married couple families has fallen proportionately.

Security in retirement: the impact of housing and key critical life events

Sharam A, Ralston L and Parkinson S
Hawthorn, Vic. : Swinburne Institute for Social Research, 2016.
This study evaluates the degree to which Australian households are financially ready for retirement. In particular, it examines the impacts of life events such as partnering and divorce, which may have a major effect on the ability to obtain and remain in home ownership. Topic include the wealth holdings of men and women at midlife and retirement, wealth in households in different income and tenure circumstances, the use of the income and asset test to assess eligibility for the Age Pension, the impact of relationship status change on housing tenure, and the circumstances of lone person male, lone person female, single-parent, and couple-only households. Data is taken from a range of sources including the ABS Survey of Income and Housing, the Household, Income, Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) Survey, and interviews with divorcees who owned or who had been purchasing a home with their former partner. This research study was instigated by the rise in the number of older single women becoming homeless in Australia. It concludes with recommendations for policy.

Expenditure patterns in retirement

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, Australian Centre for Financial Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and Australian Centre for Financial Studies, 2016.
This paper looks at how retired people spend their money, to help understand the income needs of retirees. Using data from the Household Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data, it investigates expenditure patterns amongst existing retired households, including standard of living, saving money, whether spending declines over the course of retirement, comparisons for couple- and single-person households, comparisons between self-funded retirees and pensioners, financial wellbeing, and comparisons with previous generations. The findings reveal that the expenditure of most retirees is modest, regardless of the level of income they have access to.

Household wealth.

Wilkins R
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 14. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2016: 57-64
This chapter looks at aspects of household wealth in Australia, using data from the first 14 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, conducted between 2001 and 2014. Household wealth is an important determinant of economic wellbeing, affecting the ability of individuals to maintain living standards in the face of adverse events. Sections in this chapter include: distribution of net wealth across households, household wealth by personal characteristics and family type, dynamics of household wealth, and factors associated with wealth change across the survey, such as being partnered, having children, mental health, and location.

Household economic wellbeing.

Wilkins R
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 14. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2016: 25-42
This chapter looks at three concerns within household economic wellbeing: the distribution and dynamics of household income, the prevalence and dynamics of income poverty, and the extent of welfare reliance. Data is taken from the first 14 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which were conducted between 2001 and 2014. Information is provided on: income levels and income inequality, household annual disposable incomes, distribution of individuals' equivalised household disposable income, median equivalised income by family type, income poverty, cross-sectional poverty rates, percentage of the population in income poverty, poverty rates by family type, child poverty by family type, duration of poverty, distribution of poverty spell durations by initial family type, factors affecting poverty spell duration, receipt of welfare, welfare reliance over a one-year time-frame, welfare reliance by family type, proportion of income from welfare, duration of spells on welfare by initial family type, and factors affecting welfare spell duration.

Two's a crowd: living alone in New Zealand

New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand
Wellington, NZ : Statistics New Zealand, 2016.
This paper explores the characteristics and social well-being of people who live alone in New Zealand, as well as the perceived advantages and disadvantages of living alone. Data is taken from the 1986-2013 Censuses and the 2014 New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS). In 2013, 11 percent of New Zealand's population, or 355,000 people, lived alone - with age, marital status, income, household tenure, and ethnicity some of the key characteristics that contribute to the likelihood of living alone. Though Living alone is becoming increasingly common around the world, this paper highlights the great diversity in the characteristics and social outcomes of this group.

'A husband is not a retirement plan': achieving economic security for women in retirement

Ketter C and Dastyari S
Canberra : Parliament House, 2016.
Women, particularly single women, are at greater risk of experiencing poverty, housing stress, and homelessness in retirement than men are. Though this problem is influenced by many factors, essentially it's due to the fact that women and men experience work very differently. This report presents the findings and recommendations of a government inquiry into economic security for women in retirement. The inquiry investigated the impact of inadequate superannuation savings on retirement outcomes; the extent, causes, and drivers of the gender retirement income gap; structural impediments in the superannuation system; the adequacy of the main sources of retirement income; and what measures would provide women with access to adequate and secure retirement incomes. The recommendations largely concern measures to help women increase their participation in the workforce and improve their superannuation savings.

Childlessness and marital status among middle-aged U.S. adults, 1992-2012

Wu H, Brown S and Payne K
Bowling Green, OH : National Center for Family & Marriage Research, Bowling Green State University, 2016
Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this paper examines the prevalence of childlessness among never-married versus currently-married middle-aged adults (aged 51 to 61) in 1992 and 2012 in the United States. Compared to women born in the mid-1930s, those born in the early 1960s have a higher probability of childlessness by age 50. Further, the percentage of women who remain childless by ages 40-44 increased by 50% between 1976 and 2014. Childlessness is typically more common among the never married and more highly educated women. Although the recent increase in childlessness is driven primarily by the increased proportion of women who remain unmarried by age 40, nonmarital fertility has increased in recent decades. In fact, there has been a modest decline in childlessness among unmarried women.

2015 cost of living report

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2015.
This report series models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia, analysing relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This 2016 report models the income and expenditure of three household types - single parent families, working families, and unemployed single people - during the 2014/15 financial year in comparison to the two preceding years. The downturn in Western Australia's economic boom has resulted in some easing of living costs during the past financial year, but that is accompanied by increasing rates of unemployment and underemployment which threaten to place households in financial hardship. The report concludes with recommendations for the Commonwealth and State governments.

Families and households, 2015

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2015.
This annual series provides information on trends in living arrangements in the United Kingdom, including families, couples, households, and people living alone. This edition presents the latest information for 2015, with trends since 1996, for: number of families by type, married and cohabitating couples, children in families by type, family size and one-child families, young adults living with their parents, number of households by type, household size, and people living alone. In 2015 there were 18.7 million families in the UK and 27.0 million households. 35% of all households were two person households. Note, this edition also provides statistics on same sex married couple families for the first time.

Outcomes for teenage mothers in the first years after birth.

Kalb G, Le T and Leung F
Australian Journal of Labour Economics v. 18 no. 3 2015: 255-279
This article investigates the impact of teenage motherhood on education, employment, and partnering, as compared to the outcomes of similarly-aged women who have no children or who had children at an older age. Overall, it finds that teenage motherhood has a range of negative effects, some of which worsen over time and others which diminish. The article draws on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Survey.

The decentring of couple relationships? An examination of young adults living alone.

Hughes J
Journal of Sociology v. 51 no. 3 Sep 2015: 707-721
There have been numerous suggestions that the ideal of a life-long partner around whom one constructs one's life is an outdated notion, and that more people are decentring sexual-couple relationships in their lives. This article explores whether this is the case, with a study of 28 younger adults - aged 21 to 39 - living alone in Australia. The participants were asked about their relationship hopes and experiences and how these relate to their reasons for living alone - that is, are they consciously setting up their lives so as to de-emphasise the importance of couple relationships? The article discusses aspirations for conventional relationships, relationship ambivalence, and 'living apart together' styles of commitment. The study's findings do not support the conclusion that young adults living alone are decentring sexual-couple relationships. Instead, most of the participants see living alone as a way of building an independent life prior to partnering.

Why single women are more likely to retire poor.

Warren D
The Conversation 27 Nov 2015
This opinion piece looks at why women are still likely to retire with around half as much superannuation as men, despite their increases in the labour force. The article presents new analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, highlighting the role of the gender wage gap, time out of paid employment to care for children or other family members, and the higher likelihood of part time hours. Women have longer life expectancies than men and generally retire younger, so they spend longer in retirement than men do too.

Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement: submission from the Australian Institute of Family Studies

Warren D
Canberra, A.C.T. : Parliament of Australia, October 2015.
The Senate Standing Committees on Economics is investigating why significant economic disparity exists between men and women in Australia, despite increasing workforce participation among women. For example, the pay gap between men and women sits at 18.8% and the gap in superannuation at retirement is 46.6%. This is the Australian Institute of Family Studies' submission to the inquiry. It provides new information about the financial situation of retirees in Australia and the association between retirement savings and standards of living during retirement. It constitutes an update of a 2006 analysis by the author, drawing on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. It examines the gender gap in superannuation savings, the adequacy of retirement income, the impact of inadequate savings on retirement outcomes, and the difference between single female, single male, and couple households.

Living alone and personal wellbeing

De Vaus D and Qu L
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
Following on from two papers on the nature and characteristics of living alone, this new paper explores the consequences of living alone and whether it has an impact on social connection, health behaviours, or subjective wellbeing. Also, since living alone is only one of a variety of residential arrangements people may move into and out of during their adulthood, the paper uses longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to investigate the impact of starting to live alone and ceasing to live alone on these wellbeing outcomes, and whether any negative impacts are due to living alone or other factors. Comparisons are made across age groups, by gender, and with people who live with others.

The nature of living alone in Australia

De Vaus D and Qu L
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
For most people, living alone is only one of a variety of residential arrangements they may experience during their adulthood. This paper investigates duration and transitions in living alone, and the nature of moving into and out of lone living arrangements. It also explores the more subjective side of living alone, such as the cultural values that underlie living alone, whether people like living alone, and the reasons they do so. The paper draws on two large-scale national surveys: the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) longitudinal survey and the 2008 Living Alone in Australia Survey. Topics include: how many people have ever lived alone, duration of spells of living alone, living arrangements by life stage and age, choice and circumstance, preferences to live alone or with others, the living arrangements that precede or follow living alone, and gender and age differences.

Households in Australia

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015
This webpage provides charts and statistics on households in Australia in 2011. Drawing on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it looks at the proportion of different household types, trends in household composition since 1986, and the average household size since 1911. It also considers projections in household types to 2036. In 2011 there were 7,760,000 households in Australia: 71.5% comprised of families, 24.3% were occupied by a person living alone, and 4.1% were share houses of unrelated persons.

Home alone.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australia's welfare 2015. Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015. Australia's welfare 9781742497303: 194-196
This biennial welfare report series presents statistics and analysis on social welfare in Australia. This chapter provides a snapshot of one person households in Australia. It briefly discusses the rise in lone-person households, their housing types and location, health and wellbeing, and trends in the proportion of persons living in lone-person households from 1994-95 to 2011-12. In the last 50 years there has been a substantial increase in the proportion of Australians living alone - up from 11% in 1961 to 23% in 2012/13.
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