Notes on the data: Families

Single parent families with children aged less than 15 years, 2016


Policy context:  In the 2016 Census, of the families in Australia, 44.7% were couple families with children, 37.8% were couple families without children and 15.8% (959,543 families) were one parent families: 81.8% of single parents were female and 18.2% were male [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].

Although growth in the number of single parent families has stabilised in recent years (with 50,000 more families in 2016 when compared with 2011), many 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 and housing and transport services.


  1. ABS. 2016 Census Community Profiles. Canberra: ABS; 2017 Mar, accessed 10 August 2017. 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

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


Numerator:  Single parent families with children under 15 years


Denominator:  All families with children under 15 years


Detail of analysis:  Percent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2016.


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