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Households and Families

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Largest proportion of single people living in 'Cities' 

In April 2016 the proportion of people aged 15 and over who were single was 47.2% in ‘Cities’, well above the State average of 41.1%.

In ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’, 56.0% of those aged 15 and over were married, 8.2 percentage points higher than the State average of 47.8%.

Overall, 5.9% of people aged 15 and over were divorced or separated in 2016, with the highest rate of 8.0% in ‘Independent urban towns’.

‘Highly rural/remote areas’ had the greatest proportion of widowed people at 7.2% in 2016, followed by ‘Rural areas with moderate urban influence’ at 5.9%. ‘Satellite urban towns’ had the lowest proportion of widows and widowers at 4.0% while the average in the State was 5.2%.

Show Table: 3.1 Marital status by area type and census year (age 15+)

SingleMarriedSeparated/ DivorcedWidowed
Cities47.242.35.64.9
Satellite urban towns38.550.76.74
Independent urban towns42.743.785.6
Rural areas with high urban influence34.6564.55
Rural areas with moderate urban influence35.453.84.85.9
Highly rural/remote areas3749.95.87.2
State41.147.85.95.2

‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ had the highest marriage rates among those aged 30 and over

At least half of all people aged between 35 and 79 years were married in 2016, and this was true across all area types, Figure 3.2.

‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ had the highest marriage rates among those aged 30 and over, peaking at 78.0% in the 50-54 year age group. 

X-axis labelCitiesSatellite urban townsIndependent urban townsRural areas with high urban influenceRural areas with moderate urban influenceHighly rural/remote areasState
15-19 years0.30.10.40.10.10.10.2
20-24 years2.62.64.11.01.11.52.4
25-29 years13.917.017.911.812.313.014.6
30-34 years35.647.142.046.745.140.940.8
35-39 years51.263.454.467.865.459.058.0
40-44 years57.768.357.875.472.565.064.7
45-49 years61.369.158.177.373.667.266.9
50-54 years63.469.259.078.074.067.568.0
55-59 years65.169.660.477.674.368.468.8
60-64 years65.669.862.077.174.468.969.2
65-69 years65.469.562.675.371.966.868.2
70-74 years63.366.760.470.366.662.864.7
75-79 years55.757.152.059.157.053.255.6
80-84 years43.944.540.044.842.740.242.8
85 years and over25.023.821.924.323.923.423.9

Marital breakdown rate highest for 'Independent urban towns'

The marital breakdown rate for the State was 11.0% in 2016, calculated as the number of separated and divorced people as a proportion of those who were ever married.

The rate was highest in ‘Independent urban towns’ at 15.5% and lowest in ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ at 7.4%.

X-axis labelMarital breakdown rate
Cities11.8
Satellite urban towns11.7
Independent urban towns15.5
Rural areas with high urban influence7.4
Rural areas with moderate urban influence8.3
Highly rural/remote areas10.4
State11

More people living alone in urban area types than rural area types

The percentage of people living alone increased with age in 2016, at 26.7% of those aged 65 and over and 44.9% of those aged 85 and over. ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ had the lowest rates for people living alone, at 21.0% of those aged 65 and over and 38% of those aged 85 and over. In contrast, the highest rates for people living alone were in ‘Independent urban towns’, at 31.2% of those aged 65 and over and 50.1% of those aged 85 and over, see Figure 3.4.

There were more females living alone than males in each area type, mainly because women live longer. The highest proportions of females living alone were in ‘Independent urban towns’ at 36.9% for those aged 65 and over and 58.3% for those aged 85 and over.

The lowest proportions of females living alone were in ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ at 24.5% for those aged 65 and over and 43.6% for those aged 85 and over, while 'Highly rural/remote areas' reported the highest proportion of males living alone in both age categories (see Figure 3.4)

65 Years and over85 Years and over
State - All26.744.9
Highly rural/remote areas - All29.744.8
Rural areas with moderate urban influence - All24.941.8
Rural areas with high urban influence - All2138
Independent urban towns - All31.250.1
Satellite urban towns - All24.746.3
Cities - All27.646.7
State - Female31.551.8
Highly rural/remote areas - Female24.746.3
Rural areas with moderate urban influence - Female27.747.2
Rural areas with high urban influence - Female24.543.6
Independent urban towns - Female36.958.3
Satellite urban towns - Female30.953.9
Cities - Female33.754.6
State - Male21.332.9
Highly rural/remote areas - Male2736.3
Rural areas with moderate urban influence - Male2232.9
Rural areas with high urban influence - Male17.429.1
Independent urban towns - Male24.534.8
Satellite urban towns - Male17.732.6
Cities - Male20.132.2

'Couple with children' most frequent household in all areas

Households consisting of a ‘couple with children’ were the most frequent household type in both 2011 and 2016.

‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ had the highest proportion of ‘couple with children’ households in 2016 at 45.3%, while ‘Cities’ were the lowest at 29.3% and the State average was 35.2%.

'Rural areas with high urban influence' recorded the highest percentage of households comprising of 'couples without children' at 20.6%, while the State average was 19.0%.

About three in ten households (29.2%) in ‘Highly rural/remote areas’ consisted of one person, the highest rate in the State, while the lowest rate was 18.1% in ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’.

Show Table: 3.2 Composition of households, 2011-2016, by area type

Greatest proportion of young families found in 'Satellite urban towns'

Figure 3.5 illustrates the number of children in a family as a proportion of all families in each of the six area types. 

One child families were most prominent in 'Independent urban towns' (30.5%) while 2 children families are most common in 'Satellite urban towns' (28.5%).

Of the families with children, it is evident from figure 3.6 that 'Satellite urban towns' and 'Independent urban towns' consist of a greater proportion of young families with all children under 15 years of age at 53.7% (63,785 families) and 51.2% (73,223) respectively. 'Highly rural/remote areas' had a greater proportion of families (44.2%) with all children ages 15 years and over than any other area type.

X-axis labelNo childOne child familiesTwo child familiesThree child familiesFour child familiesFive or more child families
Cities31.229.324.510.93.11.1
Satellite urban towns25.728.228.5133.51
Independent urban towns28.330.525.411.13.51.3
Rural areas with high urban influence27.524.926.415.24.71.3
Rural areas with moderate urban influence2926.124.314.24.91.6
Highly rural/ remote areas32.127.222.212.34.61.6
X-axis labelAll children aged under 15 yearsAll children aged 15 years and overChildren both under and over 15 years
State47.138.114.8
Cities46.839.413.7
Satellite urban towns53.731.714.6
Independent urban towns51.233.715.1
Rural areas with high urban influence4539.415.6
Rural areas with moderate urban influence42.641.515.9
Highly rural/ remote areas40.444.215.5

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