Determinants of aging living arrangements in Australia

Peter McDonald, Australian National University
Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi, Australian National University

Using the 2011 Census, this paper investigates demographic patterns of living arrangements of older people in Australia in the greater capital cities compared with regional areas. Data from the 2012 Disability, Ageing and Carers Survey is also utilised to examine to what the extent living arrangements of older Australians are associated with their socio-demographic characteristics and health condition. Living arrangement may change as people get older due to issues relating to social, financial or health conditions. Around 8.1% of older Australians resided in non-private dwellings. The proportion increases as they age with considerably higher rates for women; almost 1.5 times those of men. Nearly half of older Australians were partnered or married and living in private dwellings, and about 24% were single and living alone in private dwellings. Singlehood was not only twice as likely among women than men (30% versus 16%), it varies substantially by place of residence. Singlehood was more common in regional areas except in the capital cities of Hobart and Adelaide where about one third of women were single and living alone. Noteworthy, the proportion of older people who were living with spouse or partner in private dwellings was exceptionally low in regional Northern Territory; representing 44% of women and 26% of men. Across all ages, older women were less likely than men to be partnered, and they were more likely to live alone. As expected, older people with a disability were more likely to reside in non-private dwellings than those without disability (15% versus 5%). In addition, income, labour force participation, nationality background and migration movement are used in the analysis to explain living arrangement disparities. The findings of this study are expected to contribute to broader and more focused evidence-based polices in regional areas and the greater capital cities, and at the national level.

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Presented in Poster Session 1