More young adults living at home with their parents

Content type
Media release

May 2019

Institute Director, Anne Hollonds said 43% of 20–24 year-olds were living in the family home in 2016, up from 36% in 1981.

The ranks of 25-29 year-olds still at home had also grown from 10% in 1981 to 17% in 2016.

“Overall, young people living in capital cities were more likely than those living in regional areas to remain at home,” Ms Hollonds said.

“In 2016, 50% of young men and 43% of young women in our capital cities lived at home, compared to 42% of young men and 31% of young women of this age in regional areas.

“A range of factors including the cost of housing in capital cities and time spent in higher education have contributed to a growing trend for more young people to delay moving out in recent decades.”

Institute researcher, Lixia Qu said more young men, than young women live with their parents.

“Our analysis shows that 47% of 20–24 year-old men were living in the family home in 2016, compared to 39 per cent of young women in that age group,” Ms Qu said.

“However, the proportion of young women opting to live with parents is growing at a faster rate than that for young men.

“The percentage of young men living at home only increased slightly between 1981 and 2016, while the proportion of young women living with their parents rose from 27% in 1981 to 39% in 2016.

“While the statistics don’t offer a full picture of what’s underlying this trend, one of the factors is likely to be that fewer of today’s young women leave the family home to get married as was once more common.”

Ms Qu said that cultural backgrounds also influence the likelihood of young people living at home for longer.

“Among young adults born in Australia, those with Asian, Middle Eastern, African or Southern and Eastern European ancestry are more likely to live with their parents, compared to those with Australian, North-western European or New Zealand backgrounds,” she said.

“Among young adults born overseas, the numbers living with their parents fell between 2001 and 2011, particularly those in the 20–24 year-old age group. This trend reflects booming international education in Australia and greater numbers of unaccompanied international students living here.

“Overall, as all of these young people got older, fewer remained at home with only around 7% still in the family residence by the time they were 30–34.”

The data is part of a series of facts and figures publications released to coincide with National Families Week which starts tomorrow. 

Other publications update trends in:


Despite the fact that the Australian population had doubled since the early 1970s, in 2017 there were fewer marriages than in 1970. There were 116,066 marriages in 1970, and only 112,954 in 2017.

The crude marriage rate fluctuated in the decades before 1970. However, from 1970 the rate began to fall steadily until 2000, when it stabilised for a decade before falling again. In 2017 the rate was 4.6 marriages per 1,000 Australian residents, the lowest rate ever recorded.


The crude divorce rate (divorces per 1,000 Australian residents) rose in the 1960s and 1970s and peaked at 4.6 per 1,000 resident population after the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, which came into operation in January 1976 and allowed no-fault divorce. 

The divorce rate started trending down in the 2000s. In 2016 it was 1.9, the lowest rate since 1976. It rose slightly in 2017 to sit at 2.0.

Births and the fertility rate

The number of births in Australia peaked in 2016 at 311,104. The 2017 figure of 309,142 was only marginally lower; it was the third-highest number of births on record.

The 2017 'total fertility rate' of 1.74 was also the lowest rate on record, declining from a peak of 3.55 in 1961.

The total fertility rate gives the average number of children a woman would have during her lifetime (e.g. 1.74 children in the case of 2017), extrapolating from age-specific fertility rates.

Since 1976, Australia's total fertility rate has been below replacement level. Replacement level is the level at which a population is replaced from one generation to the next without migration. 

To access copies of the AIFS’ facts and figures, go to: 

Media contact     
Kate O'Connor      
Phone: 0499 860 257  
Email: kate.o'[email protected]