Household Structure and Family Composition
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released information about household structure and family composition as revealed through the last Census. Household structure is based on the count of dwellings and family composition is based on the count of persons (place of usual residence). Household structure shows whether the dwellings counted on Census night are family households, lone-person households, or group households. Family composition shows whether those living as families are couple families with or without children, or lone-parent families with or without children. Information about household structure and family composition is derived from questions on the Census form which ask about the relationships between respondents.
Quality and Applicability
In most cases, identifying the household structure and family composition is quite straightforward; however, across the community a wide variety of living arrangements exists. Information about relationships between respondents relies on respondents’ abilities to describe them within the constraints of the generalised questionnaire format.
Household structure and family composition can give important insights into an area’s residential characteristics. They are typically indicative of an area’s settlement (e.g. older couples who have ‘aged in place’ or younger couples with children) and can point to the level of services and facilities required by residents both now and into the future.
Information about household structure and family composition is available for local government areas, statistical local areas, suburbs, and collector districts.
Collector districts are the smallest spatial units under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification system used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Collector districts enable the collection and dissemination of Census data. Statistical local areas fit into the boundaries of incorporated bodies of local government (i.e. local government areas) when aggregated.
Information about household structure and family composition refers to 8 August 2006, the most recent Census.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics progressively released all standard data sets based on the 2006 Census during 2007.
Information about household structure is accessible through Census Tables. Select the ‘Census Tables’ function, click to view tables by topic, click ‘Location on Census Night’, and select ‘Household Characteristics’ as the topic. You can then select the relevant table for household structure. Information about family composition is contained in the Basic Community Profile Cat. No. 2001.0 2006 Table B24. Select the ‘Community Profiles’ function to search for an area by name then open its Basic Community Profile.
Cost and Format
Australian Bureau of Statistics data sets are downloadable free of charge in excel spreadsheet format.
Additional Data Source(s)
Information about household structure and family composition is available through profile.id, an online product designed to support local government planning and accessible through council websites. Go to your council website, search for community profiles, and click on ‘How Do We Live/What Types of Households Do We Live In’ to generate reports based on the last Census. Reports are available for local government areas and smaller areas (e.g. suburbs). More on profile.id.