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Present simple or continuous

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Language in context

Over the last twenty years, the average size of households has fallen dramatically. The number of one person households has grown, due largely to the ageing of the population, as has the number of one parent families. Couples having smaller families have also contributed to the fall in household size.

In 1976, 60% of families were couples with children. By 1996, this had fallen to 51%. Part of this change can be attributed to the increase in one parent families with dependent children, but most of the change is due to the increase in the proportion of couple-only families. People are now having children later in life, and are living longer. Therefore, they are spending more time living in couple-only families, both before they have families and after their children have left home.

However, children are leaving home later. In 1981, 34% of children aged 20-24 lived with their parents. By 1991, this had increased to 40%. This increase has, to some extent, countered the fall in the couples with non-dependent children only.

(Source: ABS Yearbook Australia 1997, Number 79, Australian Government Publishing Service, ACT, p.81)

Copyright in ABS data resides with the Commonwealth of Australia.

Used with permission ABS Opens in a new window

This is a present simple verb.

Here it is used to talk about something that is claimed to be true right now. the change is due to the increase...

Are having is a present continuous verb. It describes a trend which may be temporary and is occurring right now.
This is a present continuous verb. It describes a trend which may be temporary and is occurring right now.
This is a present continuous verb. It describes a trend which may be temporary and is occurring right now.

This is a present simple verb.

Here it is used to talk about a timeless fact: people have families. It is true now, will be true in the future, and was true in the past.

This is a present continuous verb. It describes a trend which may be temporary and is occurring right now.
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