Notes on the data: Housing, rent assistance and vehicle access

Privately-owned rental dwellings, 2021


Policy context:

The size and nature of the private rental market has grown and evolved over the last three decades. In 2021, over one-quarter (26.7%) of all households, or 2.5 million people rented privately [1]. Further, more than one million low-income households rented privately in 2018 – a figure which had doubled in the previous 20 years. Once considered a short-term housing choice for young people, many are now renting for longer periods with the ratio renting in the private market increasing across all age groups, families with and without children and low and middle incomes [2].

In 2011, over half of Aboriginal people (56.0 per cent) and migrants arriving in Australia in the last ten years from predominantly non-English-speaking countries (58.2 per cent) lived in a rented home; these proportions were close to twice that for the population overall (30.6 per cent). The proportion of the population living in rental housing was lowest among older people, at 11.9 per cent. Nationally, some 45.3 per cent of single parent families lived in a rented house. While this was 66 per cent higher than the proportion for all families (29.8 per cent), it was below the proportion in 2016, when more than half (58.6 per cent) of single parent families were renting [3].


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2021 Census of Population and Housing General community profile Australia Canberra ABS 2022. Available from:; accessed 25 August 2022.
  2. Productivity Commission. Vulnerable Private Renters: Evidence and Options, Commission Research Paper, Canberra, 2019, accessed 30 September 2019. Available from:
  3. Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU). Housing experiences and suitability as determinants of health: population patterns of housing experiences and correlated health risk factors and outcomes, Adelaide: PHIDU, 2019, accessed 30 September 2019. Available from:

Notes:This indicator is comprised of private dwellings rented from a real estate agent, person not in the same household, other landlord type and landlord type 'not stated'. The data include households in occupied private dwellings only.

Private dwelling: A private dwelling can be a house, flat or even a room. It can also be a caravan, houseboat, tent, or a house attached to an office, or rooms above a shop.

The numerator excludes the 2.7% of dwellings or 2.2% of persons living in dwellings for which tenure type was not stated: however, these records are included in the denominator.


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Quintiles within PHNs and Remoteness Area


Numerator: Privately-owned rental dwellings


Denominator: Total occupied private dwellings


Detail of analysis: Per cent


Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2021.


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