The proportion of lone-parent families in 2006 was similar to 2001, although the trends have changed historically.
Lone parents represented 15.9% of all census families in 2006, higher than any other recorded census figure in the last 75 years. However, the proportion was up only slightly from 15.7% in 2001, which could indicate that the upward trend may have recently stabilized.
Historically, the proportion of lone parents was high earlier in the 20th century. In 1931, 13.6% of families were headed by a lone parent, a level not surpassed until 1996, when it was 14.5%. The proportion of lone-parent families was low during the baby-boom (1946 to 1965) when more census families were comprised of married couples and children. The lowest proportion for lone-parent families in the past 75 years was 8.2% in 1966, but there has been a steady increase in recent decades.
Figure 2 The proportion of lone-parent families has been increasing since 1966