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Private Households

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Average household size increased between 2011 and 2016, from 2.73 to 2.75 persons reversing a long term trend of declining household size.

Average size varies by household type. The number of households comprised of cohabiting couples with children increased by 14,068 or 25.6 per cent, while the number of persons living in those households increased by 59,196 or 28.7 per cent, resulting in the average size increasing from 3.76 to 3.85. Households comprised of unrelated persons only increased by 10.8 per cent while the number of persons living in such households increased by 15.3 per cent resulting in the average household size increasing from 2.66 persons in 2011 to 2.77 in 2016.

Interactive Table: StatBank Link E4005

Average number persons in private households

Family households living with others

A total of 1,195,467 households (70.2%) contained families. A further 399,815 (23.5%) were one-person households. The remaining 107,007 (6.3%) were non-family households. The graph below shows family households by type, with those containing other persons illustrated in light blue.

There were 73,361 family households (6.1% of all family households) with persons other than family members living in them. Lone parents were most likely to share their home with others, with 12 per cent of lone fathers living with a non-family member and 10 per cent of lone mothers. 9 per cent of cohabiting couples without children also lived with a non-family member while only 5 per cent of married couples shared their home with others.

There were 27,791 households with a husband, wife and children which also contained a non-family member.

Families living with other personsFamily-only households
Married couple with children27791529687
Married couple13328254744
One parent mother with children17206153189
Cohabiting couple696668396
Cohabiting couple with children465768979
One parent father with children341324731

Interactive Table: StatBank Link EY011

It's a Fact

  • 70.2% - The percentage of all households that contained families
  • 73,361 – The number of family households that shared their home with a non-family member
  • 6.1% - The percentage of family households that shared their home with a non-family member

One-person households

There were 399,815 people living on their own at the time of the last census, almost evenly split between men and women with 195,519 and 204,296 respectively.

The numbers living alone increased with age, with 39.2 per cent aged 65 and over. There were more men than women in all age groups up to age 65 after which longer life expectancy of women results in more women living alone. The greatest difference was in the 25-44 age bracket where six out of ten persons living alone were men. This was more pronounced in rural areas where 65.9 per cent of those living alone in this age bracket were men.  

The majority of those living alone were single (52.6%), with just under 1 in 4 widowed. Among men 62 per cent were single compared with 43.6 per cent of women while 12.5 per cent of the men were widowed in sharp contrast to 36.6 per cent of the women.

Persons living alone were predominantly living in their own home with 68.1 per cent homeowners; this compares with 67.6 per cent of the population as a whole. Men were less likely to own their own home (61.5%) than women (74.5%).

Those living alone had in general a lower social class than the overall population. Some 36.2 per cent of the general population was found in social classes 1 and 2 compared with only 26.9 per cent of those on their own.

Over 30,000 of those living alone were unable to work due to a disability, with more men (17,191) than women (13,439) in this category. There were 9,519 persons in this category living in rural areas.

Females - RuralMales - RuralFemales - UrbanMales - Urban
0 - 14 years281113
15 - 24 years527111534843802
25 - 44 years7940153363049740048
45 - 64 years19103304384509645596
65 years and over36251281936138530970

Interactive Table: StatBank Link E4076

It's a Fact

  • 399,815 – The number of one-person households
  • 62% – The percentage of men living alone who were single
  • 37% – The percentage of women living alone who were widowed

Non-family households

There were 107,007 non-family households in 2016, up from 102,219 in 2011, a 4.7 per cent increase. 69,359 (64.8%) of these were comprised of unrelated persons only, while 37,648 (35.2%) contained related persons such as siblings.

There was an increase of 10.8 per cent (6,751) in the number of households comprised of unrelated persons only, while households containing related persons decreased by 5 per cent. The number of households comprised of unrelated persons only where the age of the reference person was 35 years or over increased by nearly 10,000 (55.4%) to 27,358 as illustrated in Figure 3.4.

Households containing unrelated persons had a younger age profile than those containing relatives, and the numbers declined rapidly with age. Over half of all households containing related persons were headed by people aged 50 and over compared with only 14.8 per cent of unrelated households.

Households with unrelated persons also tended to be larger (45 per cent had more than 2 persons), more likely to be single (80.3 per cent of main householders were single), and more likely to be renting (62%).

Interactive Table: StatBank Link E4080

Age group of reference person20112016
0 - 14 years113405
15 - 19 years23082382
20 - 24 years1205511002
25 - 29 years1806516001
30 - 34 years1246612211
35 - 39 years56518777
40 - 44 years33054697
45 - 49 years21873621
50 - 54 years18182667
55 - 59 years14032583
60 - 64 years10901685
65 - 69 years7501242
70 years and over13972086

Workers and students in unrelated households

68.8 per cent of unrelated households were headed by workers, while 12.6 per cent were students. By contrast just 48.1 per cent of households containing relatives were headed by workers and 4.9 per cent by students.

Households with relatives were much more likely to be headed by a retired person (25.7%) than households with unrelated persons only (4.0%).

Interactive Table: StatBank Link E4084

It's a Fact

  • 107,007 – The number of non-family households
  • 6,751 - The increase in non-family households comprising unrelated persons only
  • 68.8% - The percentage of non-family households comprising of unrelated persons only headed by a worker