Latest Census Results: The 'Typical Aussie'

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

As demographers and social researchers there are a few calendar events that cause for celebration. Among them include population milestones, special data set releases and, of course, the Census.

The preliminary results from the 2016 Census, released this morning, show a picture of a changing Australia. 

We now have a clearer picture of the ‘typical’ Australian

The typical Australian is a 38 year-old Gen X woman, born in 1979, who can expect to live past the age of 85. She is married with two children and lives in one of Australia’s capital city (like 3 in 5 Australians), which is worth $825,980 and which she owns with a mortgage. She has $427,847 equity in their home, which is the bulk of her wealth. She works full-time and gets to work by car, along with 69% of all commuters.

We also have a picture of a changing Australia

Evidence of an ageing Australia

The median age of Australians has increased from 37 to 38 (from the 2011 to the 2016 Census). Queensland has shown a strong leap in ageing (from 36 to 38), as has the Northern Territory (from a median age of 31 in 2011 to 34 in 2016). The median age is varied across Australia, with the youngest median age found in the NT (34) while the oldest median age is found in Tasmania (42).

Cultural Diversity – Growth in non-Anglo country of birth

  • Three states (NSW, VIC, and WA) now feature their ‘typical’ resident as a person who has at least one parent born overseas.
  • In NSW: China is now the top country of birth for residents born overseas, surpassing England since the 2011 Census.
  • In VIC: The top country for residents born overseas is India, which has surpassed England since the 2011 Census. A decade ago (2006) the top countries of birth for residents born overseas didn’t include India (They were England, Italy, New Zealand and Vietnam).

Housing affordability and home ownership

The typical person across all of the states and territories now no longer owns a home outright, but with a mortgage. Only NSW and TAS feature the typical person who owns a home outright, and in the NT, the typical person is renting their home.

Was #censusfail real?

No – despite some hiccups on 9 August 2016, the numbers show that the data is robust and up to the best-practice quality of previous census'.

  • 96% of Australians completed the Census (just slightly lower than in 2011, and higher than the required 93% for census quality data).
  • Just 11,000 refused to fill out the Census (lower than 13,000 who refused in 2011).
  • 58% completed the Census online (against an expected 65%) – yet this is twice the number from 2011

What's next?

Today's snapshot is just the start of the Census data release. On June 27, the official Census datasets will be released, with further data coming out in July, October and the final data to be released in early 2018.

The good news is that after discussions to relegate the Census to every ten years, the once-every-five-year Census is here to stay..
So it will all be on again on Tuesday 10 August 2021!

For any media enquiries please contact Kimberley Linco at, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422.

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