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Couples without children increasingly common

Image, 2013 census banner.

Couples without children make up an increasingly large proportion of families, and this trend has been on the rise since 1991, according to census results released by Statistics New Zealand today.

2013 Census QuickStats about families and households shows there are now 1.1 million families living in New Zealand.

“Couples without children make up just over 40 percent of all family types, up from 35 percent in 1991,” Census Customer Focus Manager Gareth Meech said.

“Couples with children are still the most common family type, but the proportion of these families continues to fall,” Mr Meech said.

Since 2006, the rise in the number of couples without children was almost double that of couples with children.

Marlborough was the only region where over half (53.2 percent) of the families were couples without children, reflecting the older age structure of people in these families in this region.

One-parent families make up around 18 percent of families, similar to in 2006.

Of the 1.5 million households in New Zealand, two-thirds contain one family, and just over 3 percent have two or more families.

2013 Census QuickStats about families and households contains information about different family types and the characteristics of people in these families. It includes information on dependent young people, grandparents in a parental role, and extended families. It also describes the types of households in New Zealand and the number of people within them.

Other key points include:

  • In one-third of one-parent families with dependent children, the parent is employed full-time.
  • 9,500 grandparents are in a parental role to their grandchildren (ie the parents are not part of the same household).
  • The number of extended families has increased by just over half since 2001.
  • Around 1 in 4 households were one-person households, with the West Coast region having the highest proportion, at 30.7 percent.
  • The average New Zealand household size remains at 2.7 people.

Families and households in New Zealand – infographic shows some of the key characteristics of families and households in New Zealand.


For media enquiries contact: Colin Marshall, Wellington 04 931 4600,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 4 November 2014

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