Notes on the data: Families

Single parent families with children aged less than 15 years, 2011


Policy context:  In the 2011 Census, of the families in Australia, 44.6% were couple families with children, 37.8% were couple families without children and 15.9% (901,634 families) were one parent families: 17.6% of single parents were male and 82.4% were female [1]. Compared with other family types, one parent families are considered to be at a higher risk of disadvantage, with respect to income, housing, employment and social participation [2].

Over recent decades, single parent families have increased as a proportion of all families with children [2]. Consequently, a greater number of children spend at least some of their childhood with a lone parent; and many women and some men experience sole parenting, often in difficult financial circumstances. The economic and social wellbeing of one-parent families is a focus of social policy, as many single parent families also experience poorer health, and are major users of publicly-funded services. Details of their location are, therefore, relevant to policy makers and those providing health, education, welfare, housing and transport services.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 2011 Census QuickStats [Internet]. 2013 Mar 28 [cited 2013 Oct 18]. Available from:
  2. ABS. Australian Social Trends, 2007 - Article: One-parent families. (ABS Cat. no. 4102). Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 2013 Oct 18]. Available from:$File/41020_One-parent%20families_2007.pdf

Notes:  The denominator for this indicator has changed from the data PHIDU published for the 2006 Census. The denominator is now ‘Families with children under 15 years’, not ‘Total families’.


Numerator:  Single parent families with children under 15 years


Denominator:  All families with children under 15 years


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census 2011 data.


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