Household changes expected

A RAPID growth in the number of one and two-person households will be one of the defining trends of the next decade, according to the WA Planning Commission.

Increasing female involvement in the jobs market is another key trend identified in the commission’s latest long-term outlook.

The commission has projected that WA’s total population will reach 2.43 million by the year 2016, up 38 per cent from its 1996 base. Over the same period, the number of households is expected to grow by 50 per cent.

“This will impact upon future dwelling design, size and densities,” the commission said.

It attributed the faster growth in the number of households to: decreasing fertility rates; increased divorce rates; increased life expectancy; and the tendency for older people to maintain separate households.

Perth’s share of the State’s total households is projected to decline from 73.8 per cent in 1996 to 71.9 per cent in 2016, reversing the trend of the past 30 years.

The main growth area is the South West, which is expected to increase its share of households to 11.8 per cent in 2016. This is a continuation of the South West’s growth since the 1970s.

In the jobs market, the female participation rate (defined as the number of females either employed or seeking employment as a percentage of working age females) is projected to continue increasing.

 “The female participation rate is projected to continue to grow to 56.2 per cent by 2006, before the ageing structure of the population reverses the trend and brings the rate down to 55.5 per cent by 2016,” the commission said.

The implications of this trend include an increased number of dual breadwinner families and increased demand for childcare facilities.

In contrast, the male participation rate will continue its long-term decline, from 92 per cent in 1921 to 74 per cent currently.

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