The death of the great Australian dream? Are more families living in apartments?

The death of the great Australian dream? Are more families living in apartments?

Georgia Allan 24 Jul, 2017

If .id had a dollar for every time someone asked us about families with children living in apartments, we could probably shut our doors and retire comfortably. But in all seriousness, it’s a real area of interest for so many people for a number of reasons. Some believe it is happening, and some don’t or can’t believe it’s happening – the decrease of the Australian dream of a quarter acre block for the kids to play cricket in.

Families living in apartments

The 2016 Census data shows there are 228,243 families with children (with one or two parents) living in flats, units or apartments. This equates to 6.3% of family households. But as a proportion of apartment dwellers, families make up almost 20%, or 1 in 5.

So has this rate increased since 2011? Between 2011 and 2016 there was an increase of 21,147 families living in apartments. This is a 10.2% increase. However, this rate of increase is much lower than the growth that occurred between 2006 and 2011 – 23.2%! When looking at the share of family households, the share living in apartments has barely increased between 2011 and 2016 – 6.1% to 6.3%.

Below is a chart showing the changing dwelling types occupied by family households.

Dwelling type occupied by family households, 2006, 2011 and 2016



While it’s true the share of family households living in separate houses is decreasing, the real story is the increase in families living in townhouses, especially over the past five years. This group increased by 45% between 2011 and 2016 and there are now just under 350,000 families living in terrace or townhouses. Stay tuned for another blog where we look at this group more closely.

.id are population experts who analyse, enhance and present Census data through web applications and consulting services. You can access our free community population profiles online to see how the results from 2016 Australian Census relate to your local area.

Georgia Allan

Georgia completed a Masters in Population Studies and Demography at Flinders University in Adelaide. At .id, Georgia is a consultant in .id's housing team. She was heavily involved in the creation and continued development of, the online tool developed to give councils an accessible evidence base for planning and advocacy. Georgia has prepared housing demand and supply analysis for a range of councils, including those in inner-city, middle ring, growth and peri-urban areas. When not in the office, she is likely to be cooking, knitting, crocheting, or buried in a good book.

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