Welcome to the new world, where a snapshot of today’s modern family is quite different to that of thirty years ago. Cohabitation before marriage has increased, divorce rates have soared and family size has shrunk.
What does your family look like? Large? Small? Single parent? How is your family different to the one you grew up in?
Tell us below and you’ll go into the running to win one of two copies of the audiobook: How to Have “World Peace” at Home by Justin Coulson and Bruce Sullivan. This competition ends on the 15th October. Please make sure you enter your correct email address so we can contact you if you are a winner!
Listen to chapter 2 for free, Emotional Availability: the first key secret.
Statistics compiled by the Australian Institute of Family Studies:
• Marriage rates prior to the 1980s were already declining and cohabitation rates rising. These trends have continued with people living together becoming the normal pathway to marriage.
• The crude marriage rate (the number of marriages for every 1,000 Australians) fell from 9.3 in 1970 to 7.4 in 1980, falling to 5.3 in 2001 and only increasing slightly after that to 5.5 in 2008.
• In 1980 only 23 per cent of couples lived together before marrying, compared to 78% in 2008.
• The crude divorce rate (the number of divorces for every 1,000 Australians) more than doubled between 1975 and 1976, but then fell to levels that nonetheless remained much higher than before 1976 (2.7 in 1980 and 2.2 in 2008).
• The average size of households has fallen from 3.5 members in 1966, to 3.0 in 1981 and to 2.6 in 2006.
• The proportion of families with dependent children has fallen, while the proportion of couples living with no children has increased progressively.
• In 1976, 48% of all households containing families were couple families living with dependent children and 28% were couples living with no children. By 2006 there were equal numbers of households that were couple families with dependent children and couple families living with no children.
• Lone-parent families have increased from less than 7% in 1976 to 11% by 2006.
• In 2006-2007, 72% of families with at least one child under the age of 18 were "intact" families" (where there are no step children of one of the partners); 17% were families headed by lone mothers; 4% were step-families, 3% were blended families and 3% were lone-parent families headed by fathers.
• By 1980 young people were remaining longer in education and women were embracing post-secondary education and entering the workforce. With the wider availability of the contraceptive pill in the 1970s and greater education and employment opportunities, women started to delay marriage and children.
• In 1980, women most commonly had their first child in their early twenties. By 2007, most new Mums were in their late twenties, with marginally less in their early thirties.