Who are we?

July 15, 2022
Myer Lipschitz

I’m talking about Australians, not in an existential sense but rather the composition of Australian society. Who is the average Australian, do they identify as male or female, how old are they, where are they living, how much do they earn, where were they born, do they believe in God and if so what type of God?

According to the results of the recently published 2021 Census the average Australian is female, aged 30 to 39 years, living in a coupled family with children, in a greater capital city area, with a household median weekly income of A$1759.

The Covid 19 pandemic actually did national statisticians a favour as the census was conducted in August 2020 when much of Australia was in lockdown, resulting in an increased participation rate and more accurate representation. 96% of Australia’s population of 25 million were at home on census night.

There were some interesting revelations as to who we are namely:

1.     Australia’s population has doubled in the last 50 years with more than 1 million new migrants arriving since 2017. Almost 80 per cent of Australian residents live in eastern Australia in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. 

2.     Sydney is Australia’s largest city with 5.2 million people, followed by Melbourne with 4.9 million people, and Brisbane with 2.5 million people.

3.      Approximately two thirds of people were in greater capital cities and one third in the rest of Australia. 

4.     The proportion of Australian residents born overseas or have one parent who was born overseas was more than 50% and a quarter of Australians speak a language other than English at home. Slightly more than a quarter of us were born overseas. This compares favourably to Canada with almost 22% of the population born overseas. The top five most commonly reported ancestries in the 2021 Census followed previous trends and included English at 33.0 per cent, Australian at 29.9 per cent, Irish at 9.5 per cent, Scottish at 8.6 per cent and Chinese at 5.5 per cent. 

5.     India moved into the top three countries of birth beating China and New Zealand, but by far the greatest number reported England as their country of birth. India was second. Other notable countries in the top 10 were South Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines. 

6.     As far as religion is concerned more than 43% of Australians had a Christian religious connection. 39% said they had no religion.

7.     More Australians are choosing to live in regional and rural areas, leaving behind big-city life taking up regional and rural lifestyles, citing lower cost of living and the ability to work remotely. This makes a bit of a mockery of a skilled migration policy that is largely focused on encouraging migrants to move to regional parts of Australia. ACT (Canberra) had the fastest growth in population with a 14.4% increase since 2016

8.     Baby boomers (those born between 1946 – 1965) and millennials (those born between 1981 – 1995) are the two largest sectors of Australia’s population. 

9.     For the first time questions were asked about long-term health conditions, and whilst 60% reported no long-term health conditions at least 2.2 million reported having some kind of long-term mental health condition (including depression or anxiety). I’m sure the extended periods of lockdown for those of us living in the state of Victoria didn’t help.

10.  I’m a bit embarrassed about the next one – women are still doing much more of the housework than men and doing approximately 30 hours of unpaid domestic work per week, and just in case my wife is reading this blog, darling I promise to increase my share.

When people ask me what does an Australian look like, they only need to look in the mirror given the varied places that everyone has come from. Australia is a truly multicultural society covering a multitude of different ethnicities and religions, and new migrants who move to Australia can easily feel at home the moment they arrive.

The First Nations people have inhabited Australia for approximately 40,000 years. While the oldest living surviving culture remains very much intact, over the last 50 years people from all over the world have been lucky enough to have moved to this great brown land Down Under.

If you are keen to join a vibrant, multicultural country where others from all over the world are welcome (Border Force is not the real Australia), you can register to attend one of our free seminars to learn more. 

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