Living together in Australia

Cohabitation in Australia

Percentage of marriages preceded by cohabitation

The percentage of marriages preceded by cohabitation has increased dramatically in the last 30 years.

  • in 1975, just 16% of marriages were preceded by cobabitation
  • by 2013, 77% of marriages took place after the couple had lived together
Percentage of marriages preceded by cohabitation 1975-2013
Year Percent
1975 16.0
1989 43.8
2000 71.3
2013 76.6

View percentage of marriages preceded by cohabitation source data 
See also Family facts & figures: Marriages in Australia

Cohabitating couples as percentage of all couples

The proportion of all couples who are cohabiting has increased across the Census years:

Cohabiting couples as percentage of all couples, 1986-2011
Year Percent
1986 5.7
1996 10.1
2011 16.2

View percentage of cohabitating couples as percentage of all couples source data

Proportion of people aged 15+ years who were married or cohabiting

  • the proportion of persons aged 15 years and over who were cohabiting has increased from 4% in 1986 to 10% in 2011
  • persons who were married has fallen progressively from 58% in 1986 to 49% in 2011
  • the proportion of persons aged 15 years and over who were living with a partner has declined from 62% in 1986 to 59% in 2011
Proportion of people aged 15+ years who were married or cohabitating
Year Married % Cohabiting Total partnered %
1986 58.1 3.6 61.7
1996 54.1 6.0 60.1
2011 49.2 9.5 58.7

View proportion of people aged 15+ years who were married or cohabiting source data

Proportion of partnered men and women who were in a cohabiting relationship

  • cohabation is most prevalent among young people 
  • in 2011, the majority of partnered persons aged under 25 years were cohabiting while the reverse held for those who were partned in older age groups
  • the rise in cohabitation between 1996 and 2011 is evident across almost all age groups.

View proportion of partnered men and women who were in a cohabiting relationship source data

More family facts and figures

AIFS podcasts

Leading researchers discuss significant issues affecting Australian families.

Explore our featured podcasts

AIFStv

AIFS news

Get the latest news about our publications, research and upcoming events.

Subscribe