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Rates of living alone in New Zealand

This section looks at the number and proportion of people living alone in New Zealand, and whether these figures are rising. The information may have implications for the services and care provided by government and non-government organisations.

Using data from the 1986 to 2013 Censuses, three facts stand out:

  • The number of individuals living alone steadily increased from 204,000 people in 1986 to 355,000 in 2013.
  • The proportion of one-person households increased from 9 percent in 1986 to 12 percent in 2001.
  • Since 2001, no significant increase occurred in the proportion of people in one-person households.

We projected the proportion and the number of people living alone using simple regression analysis and the national population projections table for different scenarios. (Simple regression analysis allows us to summarise and study the relationships between two variables of interest.) Results showed the number of New Zealanders living alone is projected to increase from 355,000 people (11 percent of the population) in 2013 to between 491,000 and 522,000 people (13 percent of the population) in 2023 (see figure 1).

Figure 1

Graph, One-person households as percentage of people in households, 1986–2023.

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