Key characteristics of households
At June 2021, key characteristics of households in the three main social housing programs (public housing, SOMIH and community housing) were (Table HOUSEHOLDS.4):
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of main tenants were female; 37% were male.
- Main tenants aged 55–59 (11%, or 44,500 households) was the largest 5 year age group.
- Almost a third (33% or 130,500) of main tenants were aged 65 or older.
- Around than 1 in 6 (15%, or 60,800) households included an Indigenous Australian.
- More than one third (36%, or 142,900) included a person with a disability.
- Most households consisted of a single adult (57% or 227,400).
The vast majority of ongoing public housing (95%) and SOMIH (96%) households were low income households (Table HOUSEHOLDS.4), noting that low income data was not available for community housing.
Length of household tenure
Social housing tenants may remain in tenure for long periods of time. Tenure length presented here relates to ongoing tenancy, rather than the total tenancy length of a household in a housing program.
At June 2021, about 44% of public housing, 21% of community housing and 29% of SOMIH households were in the same tenure for more than a decade. In contrast, 3.9% of public housing households and 8.2% of community housing households had been in the same tenure for six months or less (Figure HOUSEHOLDS.5; Table HOUSEHOLDS.6).
The tenancy length profile of community housing differs from public housing. At June 2021, around than 1 in 6 public housing (16%) tenancies were less than 2 years, compared to over 1 in 4 community housing (28%) tenancies. Conversely, public housing had a higher proportion of households with longer tenures, with over 3 in 5 (64%) households that stayed for 5 years or more, compared with 2 in 5 (44%) community housing tenancies (Table HOUSEHOLDS.6).
The length of time households stayed in the same social housing tenancy varied over time and between programs. The number of households with a tenancy length of 20 years or more has increased over time for public housing (37,400 in 2011 to 55,900 in 2021) and SOMIH (800 in 2014 to 1,300 in 2021). For community housing, the number of households with a tenancy length of 20 years or more also increased, from 400 in 2014 to 3,800 in 2021.
The length of tenure also differs considerably by the age of the main tenant in the household. At June 2021, for public housing, the number of shorter tenure lengths (less than 2 years) was relatively similar for all reported age groups (ranging from 17% to 19%) with the exception of the 15–24 years group (7.7%). As expected, the longer the tenure length, the higher the proportion of main tenants who were aged 65 or older. Of the over 17,000 households that had been in the same dwelling for 30 years or more, over three quarters (76%) were aged over 65 years (Table HOUSEHOLDS.5).
Figure HOUSEHOLDS.4: Households by tenure length and social housing program, at 30 June 2021