Facts sheets and family trends

Related information

Family Facts and Figures

Keeping up with information and communication technology

Lixia Qu and Ruth Weston
Drawing on the 2012-13 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, this paper investigates the use of information and communication technology (ICT) by different population groups, and the extent to which they feel they're not keeping up with modern technology or were worried they'll be left behind in the future.


Demographics of living alone

David de Vaus and Lixia Qu
This paper describes the trends in living alone and describes the characteristics of people who live alone. It shows that within this single category of "living alone" there is tremendous diversity and that living alone has very different meanings within the various sub-groups. It also shows that any characterisation of living alone as "fragmentation" or as "freedom" is simplistic.


Australian families with children and adolescents

Ruth Weston, Lixia Qu and Jennifer Baxter
By examining census data over the last two decades, this facts sheet highlights some of the ways in which Australian families with children under 18 years old have changed or remained stable. The prevalence of broad family forms, such as couple and one-parent families, has stabilised, especially in the last decade, though changes have occurred in several key aspects of family life.


Australian households and families

Lixia Qu and Ruth Weston
This facts sheet outlines the extent and nature of various changes that have been occurring in households in Australia, with particular attention given to households consisting of families of different forms. An understanding of these changes is an important policy issue, given that lifestyles, needs and resources are affected by the circumstances of living alone or with others, in a family or non-family setting. Such changes may have wide repercussions extending not only to immediate family members living elsewhere, but also to neighbourhoods and communities.


Working out relationships

Ruth Weston and Lixia Qu
This facts sheet describes and seeks to explain trends in the formation and prevalence of cohabiting and married unions, including transitions from cohabitation to registered marriage, and trends in relationship dissolution and childbearing in Australia over the last few decades.


Families working together: Getting the balance right

Jennifer Baxter
This facts sheet, prepared for the 2013 National Families Week, highlights some of the ways in which time commitments vary over the life course, and how families manage these and other competing demands on their time. It draws on a range of Australian data to highlight some current trends.


Parents working out work

Jennifer Baxter
This facts sheet presents statistical information about trends in parents' engagement in paid work, examining mothers' and fathers' employment patterns. We provide detailed information about jobless families. Further, the ways in which families manage their work and care responsibilities is analysed, through presentation of statistics on their use of child care, paid parental and other leave, and other working arrangements.


Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn

Jennifer Baxter, Daryl Higgins and Alan Hayes
This Facts Sheet has been prepared for the 2012 National Families Week, with this year's theme being 'Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn'. It provides a range of information on the ways in which families nurture and support children's physical, learning and social emotional development - drawing on findings from 'Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)'.


Past and present adoptions in Australia

Daryl Higgins
"Adoption" is a word that elicits mixed responses from people. Adoption practices in Australia have varied over time. Given the prevalence of adoption in the past, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a significant proportion of the population has had some experience of or exposure to issues relating to adoption. This Facts Sheet provides a summary of the ways in which adoption currently operates, past adoption practices, and the potential impacts adoption has on those involved.


Families in Australia: Sticking together in good and tough times

Alan Hayes, Lixia Qu, Ruth Weston and Jennifer Baxter
This report draws on recent statistics to provide a picture of selected aspects of Australian families in 2011. It first explores some of the demographic and social changes that set the scene for contemporary family life and then considers patterns of participation in work and family life. The focus then turns to participation in community life through voluntary work and caring for others, expectations about the availability of support in times of need, and government assistance to families and individuals. The final sections of the report explore economic wellbeing and life satisfaction.

Logo: National Families Week 15-21 May 2011. Sticking together: families in good and tough times.


Families in regional, rural and remote Australia

Jennifer Baxter, Alan Hayes and Matthew Gray
Despite the vastness of Australia and the profound impact that this has on the lives of the peoples living in rural and remote areas, relatively little is known about families living in these areas of Australia compared to those living in major cities. This Facts Sheet describes how the characteristics of families differ between the 'city' and the 'country' or 'bush'. Using statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), this Facts Sheet explores the geographic distribution of Australian families, household types and family structure, access to services, how children spend their time, parents' expectations about their children's educational attainment, parents' views on the safety and desirability of their neighbourhood for their children, and children's developmental outcomes.


Families then and now: 1980–2010

This Facts Sheet has been prepared to celebrate the 30th anniversary of research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

In this 30th anniversary year, it is timely to reflect on ways in which Australian families have changed over the life of the Institute and to consider some of the trends that were underway prior to its establishment. This Facts Sheet begins with a brief outline of trends in basic family structure, and then examines transitions that have contributed to these structural changes and some of the key ways in which family functioning has changed. It addresses the following:


The best start: Supporting happy, healthy childhoods

To support the 2010 National Families Week, the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has prepared this Facts Sheet about the role that families and communities play in giving children the best possible start to life. The theme for Families Week in 2010 is "The best start: Supporting happy, healthy childhoods". This theme reflects the importance of the everyday things parents do with their children and the role this plays in ensuring children have both happy and healthy childhoods. This Facts Sheet addresses the following:


Diverse families making a difference

To support the 2009 National Families Week, the Australian Institute of Family Studies prepared this Facts Sheet about the diversity of families. The theme for Families Week in 2009 was "Celebrate how everyone makes a difference", which reflects the importance of encouraging all Australians to think about and celebrate the many different people within families who make families united and strong, and the many different types of families across society, each deserving respect and acknowledgement.


Snapshots of family relationships

Lixia Qu and Ruth Weston
To celebrate National Families Week in 2008, the Australian Institute of Family Studies prepared Snapshots of Family Relationships. This report, which was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), provides a brief outline of the following issues:


Work and family responsibilities through life

To support the 2008 National Families Week, the Australian Institute of Family Studies prepared this Facts Sheet about work and family balance. The theme for Families Week in 2008 was "Work and family: Getting the balance right", which reflects the importance of encouraging Australians, particularly working parents, to find ways to more effectively achieve work and family balance.


How Australian families spend their time

To support the 2007 National Families Week, the Australian Institute of Family Studies prepared this Facts Sheet about the time that families spend together. The aim of the 2007 National Families Week was to encourage families to take the time to do things together that will improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.


Australian families with adolescents

To support the 2006 National Families Week, the Australian Institute of Family Studies prepared this Facts Sheet about families with adolescent children aged 12 to 18 years - the group that was given special emphasis in the 2006 National Families Week.

Over the last few generations the composition of families and the roles and responsibilities of parents have changed substantially. Despite these transformations, the family unit remains the foundation of society and the place in which children are nurtured as they grow to maturity.