Analysis suggests Australia will become home for more childless couples

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Couple walks through heart installation
A young couple walks through a heart shaped installation in the Distillery District in Toronto, June 16, 2015. Reuters/Mark Blinch

Data analysis suggests childless couples will become the most common family type in Australia by 2023. A sociologist says the trend is happening already and whether or not the traditional family model continues will be determined by future government policy.

Based on an estimate from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there is going to be more couples living without children than families with kids between 2023 and 2029. Leah Ruppanner, a sociologist from the University of Melbourne, says the trend is already happening in the Down Under.

Ruppanner explains that while the trend of not having kids varied between countries, it is most felt in South Korea and Japan where the population shrinks because of low birth rate. She says one of the reasons why governments need the population to rise is because it means more taxes, more people supporting the economy and there will be younger people to take care of the older generation.

Edith Cowan University’s Bronwyn Harman supports Ruppanner’s claims, saying the society has become more accepting of non-traditional families."In the past, we had the traditional family of mum, dad and the kids- mum stayed at home, dad was the bread-winner. We know that's not true now," she told ABC.

Harman, whose study centres on social responses to childless couples, says she expects the 2016 Census data to indicate an increase in households with no kids. She believes there will be more couples without children in the future or even people without partner as society adapts to changes in policy and perspective. Initial reports from the latest Census are likely to be released in June.

Currently, the population of Australia is close to 24.5 million. It is expected to rise up to 40 million by the middle of the century if population growth remains at the current rate. But half of the population growth is due to immigration according to chairman of the National Australia Bank and former treasury secretary Ken Henry, ABC notes in a separate report. Henry thinks maybe seven million more will fit somehow into Melbourne or Sydney.

For several people that belong to the younger generation, social realities and changing financial situation are some factors in the choice to have children. Twenty three-year-old Karim Eldib, for instance, is currently in a relationship, but having kids is something he is not seriously considering. Right now, he wants to focus on the things he wants to do.

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