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our changing lifestyles

Almost a quarter of Australians currently live in medium to high-density housing. Between 1991 and 2001 the number of separate houses in Australia increased by 18% while the number of higher density dwellings increased by 37%. During the same period there was a 43% increase in the number of lone person households. This trend is set to continue, so in future we can expect to have even more people living closer together and in smaller groups or alone.

Dog in car

Australia’s social, cultural, political and technological environment is changing, influencing where we live and the way we live.

Australian Bureau of Statistics trends and urban planning guidelines all point to a dramatic increase in the density of accommodation in Australian cities. This will bring new challenges for many of us as we learn to live in smaller spaces and compete to use public services and public open space.


Along with changes in dwelling densities, there will also be changes to household structure; there are going to be more single-person households and our population will have a higher proportion of senior citizens. At the same time, lifestyles are becoming more hectic and people are working longer hours.


With all these social and practical lifestyle pressures it can be harder for some people to see how they could make pet ownership work. It’s true that not everyone can or should own a dog or cat, but with 85% of Australians owning a pet at some time in their lives, pet ownership is clearly a significant community interest. Pets in the City will help people understand the benefits and responsibilities pet ownership brings, especially for those living in high-density environments.


In preparing this guide, PIAS wanted to find out how many people actually do keep pets in the city and unearth information on how they managed them, discover any difficulties they might have experienced and ultimately find out how they overcame those difficulties.


Focus groups were interviewed and an extensive on-line survey was completed by over 800 respondents – all were pet owners or non-pet owners who’d like to own a dog or cat, and all were living in medium to high-density housing.


The research results were fascinating and informative. Most importantly, we learned that keeping pets in the city is very popular, with pet owners reporting very high levels of satisfaction.