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Childless couple and empty-nester numbers grow
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  27 October 2017

National Family and Household Projections: 2013(base)–2038 update  –  Media Release

Almost a quarter of a million more couples are projected to be living without children by 2038, Stats NZ said today.

Couple-without-children families account for more than half the projected growth of all families, increasing from 513,000 in 2013 to 757,000 in 2038 (up 244,000).

There are more couple-without-children families than other family types. Couple-without-children families include couples with no children and couples who have children living elsewhere.

"Couples whose children have left the parental home – the empty-nesters – are expected to be the most significant factor in the growth of couple-without-children families," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "An increasing proportion of couples who will never have children is also likely to contribute to the growing number of this group of families, but to a much lesser extent."

In 2013, 41 out of 100 families were couple-without-children families. This is projected to increase to 45 out of 100 families in 2038.


Note: The totals in the graph are from adding rounded figures so may not match the actual totals.

Two-parent families account for one-third of the growth of all families. Two-parent families are expected to drop to 38 families in 100 in 2038, from 40 in 100 in 2013.

One-parent families account for the smallest portion of growth of all families. 18 out of 100 families in 2013 are one-parent families. This is expected to decrease to 17 families out of 100 in 2038.

One-parent families with a male parent are projected to increase from 18 percent of one-parent families in 2013 to 22 percent of one-parent families in 2038.

One-parent families can include elderly parents who are dependent on their child as well as younger parents with dependent children.

These projections are not predictions. They should be used as an indication of the overall trend, rather than as exact forecasts. See National family and household projections in DataInfo+.

Diagram, Family projections, 2013(base) to 2038 update.  

See also: New Zealand may reach 2 million households within a decade – news story


For media enquiries contact: Kim Dunstan, Christchurch, 03 964 8700,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 27 October 2017

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