How do Australia’s young people want to live?

How do Australia’s young people want to live?

Georgia Allan 09 Jan, 2020

Something that Councils always ask about is what type of housing do people really want to live in, as opposed to what they are living in? There is often the suspicion that people are living in housing that is not their first choice, and that the market is not providing what households are truly looking for.

This is especially the case with young people. So I thought I’d start by having a look at how young people, those aged 18-24 years, in Australia are living. I can almost hear lots of you answering this question for yourselves – at home with mum and dad!

For this age group, that’s pretty much spot on. Across Australia, 55% of people aged 18 to 24 years are living with their parents or a guardian. This is generally due to many of them continuing into post school education and having lower incomes. However, this trend does differ between the states. In Northern Territory, 41% of young people live with their parents, compared to 60% in New South Wales.

Living arrangements of 18 to 24 year olds, Australia, 2016


Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

How do those going it alone live?

For those who are living independently – as a couple, in a group household or lone person – the types of housing they live in may come as a bit of a surprise. Many people think that the majority of young people live in flats or apartments – however, this is not the case. Just over half of all young people living independently in Australia live in a separate dwelling, generally with 3 or 4 bedrooms. A further 30% live in apartments. Of course, there is likely to be geographic differences in this trend – in inner city areas, the proportion of young people living in apartments is likely to be much higher.

Housing consumption patterns of independent 18 to 24 year olds, Australia, 2016


Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

It’s probably also worth noting at this point that just over two thirds of 18-24 year olds that live independently are renters. Again, this is likely due to their lower incomes, having just started in the workforce.

Is this what they truly want to be living in?

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute recently undertook the Australian Housing Aspirations survey with the goal of answering this question. The survey found that young people’s short term housing aspirations were more around location (being close to education and employment) and tenure security (not having to move after every 12 month lease), and not so much concerned about dwelling type or tenure type. Many of the quotes shared from survey respondents and follow up interviews gave the impression that young people were aware the trade-offs they were making. The survey also looked at long term housing aspirations of this age group, to which the majority of the respondents stated they would like to purchase a 3 bedroom, separate house. However, very few were actively planning for this future and were waiting to consolidate their careers and relationships.

While these sorts of insights are unfortunately not available at an LGA level, Australia wide surveys do shed some light on the types of aspirations young people living in your area may have. You can always find out more about how young people in your area are currently living. Interested? Check out the services on offer from our housing team.

Tags: Housing
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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