Australia’s population is more diverse and less religious, data shows

By on June 28, 2022 0

This does not mean that women in their thirties who are in a relationship with children are the largest demographic group. Rather, it represents a combination of the most popular answers in various categories, such as gender, parental status, and education.

For example, more than half of the population identify as female, while more than 1.85 million people are between the ages of 30 and 34 – the five-year age bracket with the most responses. in the census.

The highest number of people responding to the national survey said they had attended a public school and had completed grade 12 or equivalent education.

Charlotte Poulson, 37, is married and has a two-year-old son. She owns a beauty salon and lives in St Kilda. Her husband is an architect.

Because census data is used to inform policy decisions, Poulson said she hopes the data collected will lead to more funding for childcare and less tax for businesses.

“I have my son in nursery three days a week. If we could afford four days, that would be amazing, but it’s just not feasible,” she said.

Megan Chambers could be classed as an ‘average Australian’ based on the latest census data.

“I would like us to pay less taxes. It’s a massive drain on our business because we pay the GST, and the super just went up for our staff. It’s good for staff that they get more super, but it’s not fair for small businesses.

Ms Poulson, a Greens voter, said her main concern was climate change.

Megan Chambers, 32, could also be described as an “average” Australian. The public relations officer has a seven-month-old boy and lives in North Melbourne with her partner.

“Anything that helps women re-enter the labor market after having a child is always positive. likewise, anything that helps fathers and partners become more involved and have access to more free time to care for children is also great,” she said.

According to the 2021 ABS Census, the average Australian is a woman in her 30s, who has a partner and children.

According to the 2021 ABS Census, the average Australian is a woman in her 30s, who has a partner and children.Credit:Monique Westerman

Migration abroad

Almost half the population has a parent born overseas and more than a quarter of Australian residents were born outside the country, the data reveals.

The number of Australians born in India has increased significantly since 2016, and the country has now overtaken China and New Zealand in country of birth statistics to fall only behind Australia and England. The second largest increase in country of birth was Nepal, with an additional 70,000 people.

David Gruen, the bureau's Australian statistician, spoke about the census results.

David Gruen, the bureau’s Australian statistician, spoke about the census results.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Data on more than 250 ancestors and 350 languages ​​shows that the number of people who use a language other than English at home has risen to more than 5.5 million since 2016. Of these, 850,000 said they did not not speak English well or not at all.

Mandarin continues to be the second most common language, after English, with nearly 700,000 people speaking it at home. This is followed by Arabic. Punjabi recorded the highest increase.

While Australia has welcomed more than a million new migrants since 2017, the census confirms the majority arrived before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gruen noted that there were just 61,860 international visitors counted on census night, a significant drop from the 300,000 in the country on count night in 2016.

“Regions like the Gold Coast have seen the impact of restrictions on international travel with a significant drop in the number of people in hotels and motels,” Gruen told reporters.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status

The release of the national dataset marks 50 years since the 1971 census, which was the first to include results for Indigenous Australians.


The 2021 tally showed a 25% increase in the number of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and a 50% growth in those over 65.

Traditional languages ​​continue to be an important part of these households, with 167 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages ​​spoken at home in 2021 by more than 78,000 people.

But Professor Sandra Harding, chair of the 2021 Census Independent Statistical Assurance Group, said there was an undercount of Indigenous Australians in 2021, a problem that had existed in the previous two censuses.

“Despite increased ABS efforts and investments, an estimated 17% net undercount of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples persisted in 2021,” she said.


The proportion of married households fell from 37.9 to 37.2%, but there were 25,000 more same-sex marriages after marriage equality was introduced into law in 2017. No figures have been released. for same-sex divorces or separations.

For the first time, more than one million families in Australia are headed by a single parent – and in most cases that parent is a woman.


Dickenson said Australia was “going through a generational shift” as millennials caught up with baby boomers as the largest generation group in Australia.

gender identity

The census collected data on gender, giving options for male, female and non-binary, and sexual orientation, but did not ask about sexual orientation, Gruen said.

“The census did not collect information on gender identity and therefore cannot give you an estimate of the trans population,” he said.

“There will be an opportunity to revisit this for the 2026 census, and the ABS will be engaging in a public consultation process starting later this year to ask the community if there are any further questions that people think we should pose.”

It was also the first time the census collected information on people diagnosed with long-term health conditions. Mental health (2,231,543), arthritis (2,150,396) and asthma (2,068,020) were the most reported long-term health conditions.

Australia has become less religious over the past decade, with the proportion of self-identified Christians falling below 50% for the first time and a sharp increase in the number of people describing themselves as “non-religious”.

Only 44% of Australians now identify as Christian, down from 52% five years earlier and 61% in 2011.

In 1911, when the first census was taken, 96% of Australians listed some form of Christianity as their religion.

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