Nationally, 22.3% of children aged 0-14 years were listed as living in households experiencing housing stress (households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs) in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. This proportion has decreased since 2011 (26.4%). There was very little difference in the rate of boys and girls living in households with housing stress (22.3% and 22.4% respectively). Younger children (0-4 years) were more likely to be living in households with housing stress than older children aged 5–14 years (23.2% compared to 21.9%).
Indigenous children were more likely to be living in households experiencing housing stress than non-Indigenous children (27.1% compared to 23.1%), and more children born overseas lived with housing stress (29.1%) than children born in Australia (22.7%). More than half of children from one-parent families were living in households with housing stress (52.2%). This was nearly three times the proportion of children from couple families (18.1%) and over five times the proportion of those from multiple family households (9.9%). Children living in Major cities were most likely to be living in households with housing stress, and children in Remote and very remote areas were least likely (23.9% and 9.4%, respectively). The proportion of children living in households with housing stress was higher in the lowest socioeconomic (SES) areas (29.1%) than the highest SES areas (16.9%).
Has there been a change over time?
The national rate of children living in households with housing stress has fluctuated over time between 2001 and 2016, increasing from 14.7% in 2001 to 22.1% in 2006 and 26.4% in 2011, then decreasing to 22.3% in 2016. This spike in 2011 was seen across all demographic groups except for Indigenous children, children in one-parent families and children in multiple family households. The proportion of Indigenous children living in households experiencing housing stress has increased with each Census collection, from 13.5% in 2001 to 27.1% in 2016. Similarly, the proportion of children living in one-parent families experiencing housing stress increased steadily from 35% in 2001 to 52.2% in 2016. In contrast, the proportion of children in multiple family households with housing stress was highest in 2001 (10.8%), decreasing slightly to 9.9% in 2016.