2071.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the Census, 2016  
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SNAPSHOT OF AUSTRALIA

2016 CENSUS DATA SUMMARY

This data summary looks at the key stories collected in the Census, including the number of Australians counted, where we live, how old we are, where we were born, our religion, income, living arrangements and our housing.


WHERE AUSTRALIANS LIVE

The 2016 Census counted 23.4 million people living in Australia, an increase of 8.8% since the 2011 Census. Australia’s population has more than doubled in the 50 years since the 1966 Census, which counted 11.6 million people. The Census does not count Australians who were overseas at the time of the Census; however, these are included in the official population estimates which are updated every five years after the Census.

USUAL RESIDENCE CENSUS COUNT, 1966-2016(a)
Infographic showing the number people counted in the 1966, 1991, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Censuses.
(a)
Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors, includes Other Territories.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 1966, 1991, 2006, 2011, 2016

The majority of Australians continue to live in the eastern mainland states. Almost 80% lived in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory in 2016.

USUAL RESIDENCE CENSUS COUNT, BY STATE AND TERRITORY, 2016(a)
Infographic showing the number of people who lived in each state and territory.
(a) Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors, Other Territories are not included.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

The number of people living in all states and territories has increased since the 2011 Census. The Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia experienced the fastest growth between 2011 and 2016, with each increasing by 11%.

In 2016, more than two-thirds of Australians lived in a capital city. Between Censuses, the number of people living in capital cities grew nearly twice as fast as the number of people living outside of capital cities (10.5% and 5.7% respectively).

Sydney remained the largest city in Australia, growing by an average of 1,656 people per week between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses. Melbourne however is catching up, growing by an average of 1,859 people per week over the same period.


AGE AND SEX

The 1981 Census was the first to count more women than men in Australia. Women have continued to outnumber men since, making up 51% of the population in 2016.

USUAL RESIDENCE CENSUS COUNT BY SEX, 2016(a)
Infographic showing the number of people counted in the 2016 Census, 50.7% were female and 49.3% male.
(a) Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors, includes Other Territories.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

The median age of all Australians increased to 38 years in 2016, after remaining 37 years since the 2006 Census, reflecting Australia’s ageing population. This is also highlighted by the increase in the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over, from 14% in 2011 to 16% in 2016.

The proportion of the population that is female increased with age. Of those aged 65 years and over, 54% are female, compared to 63% of those aged 85 years and over.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

In the 2016 Census, 649,171 people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, making up 2.8% of Australians. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has increased by 18% since the 2011 Census, when they made up 2.5% of Australians.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES, 2016(a)
Shape of Australia showing 649,171 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, 2.8% of population.
(a) Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors, includes Other Territories.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

Over 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lived in New South Wales and Queensland in 2016. One-quarter of people living in the Northern Territory identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE BY STATE AND TERRITORY, 2016 (a)
The number and proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in each state/territory, and within that state/territory.
(a) Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors, includes Other Territories.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

Over one-third (35%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lived in capital cities in 2016, up from 33% in 2011.

The median age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 23 years in 2016. While considerably lower than the wider population, it has increased from 21 years in 2011.

For more information see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population.


COUNTRY OF BIRTH

Australia has a rich mix of cultural backgrounds and heritage, with the number of people living in Australia who were born overseas continuing to increase. The number of people born overseas increased by almost one million people between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, rising from 25% of the population in 2011 to 26% in 2016.

TOP FIVE COUNTRIES OF BIRTH AS A PROPORTION OF THE TOTAL POPULATION, 2016(a)
A map, with the top five countries of birth highlighted.
(a) Usual Residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2011, 2016

While England and New Zealand remained the most common countries of birth after Australia, the proportion of people born in China and India has increased since 2011.

For more information see Cultural Diversity in Australia.


RELIGION

The majority of Australians in 2016 (60%) reported they had a religion. The most commonly reported religious affiliations were Christian denominations. However, the proportion of people reporting a Christian religion has decreased from almost three-quarters (74%) of Australians in 1991 to just over half in 2016 (52%).

The proportions of Australians reporting a religion other than Christianity has increased from 2.6% in 1991 to 8.2% in 2016. The most commonly reported were Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Despite most Australians continuing to report a religion, almost one-third (30%) reported that they did not have a religion in 2016. This has increased from 13% of Australians in 1991.

For more information see Religion in Australia.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION OVER TIME - 1966, 1991, 2016(a)(b)
Infographic showing proportion reporting Christian, Other religions and No religion in 1966, 1991 and 2016.
(a) Other religions includes: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and other religions.
(b) No Religion includes: Secular Beliefs (e.g. Atheism) and Other Spiritual Beliefs (e.g. New Age).
Source: Census of Population and Housing 1966, 1991, 2016


INCOME

Across Australia, the median personal income was $662 per week. This has increased from $577 per week in 2011. The ACT remained the state or territory with the highest median income in 2016 - $998 per week. Tasmania also remained the state with the lowest median income - $573 per week.

MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME PER WEEK, 2016(a)
Infographic showing the median personal income reported in each state or territory.
(a) Median personal income has not been adjusted for inflation.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016


AUSTRALIAN HOUSEHOLDS

The 2016 Census counted almost 10 million dwellings across Australia. The vast majority of dwellings counted (8.9 million) were private households that had people living in them on Census night.

More than two-thirds of these households (69%) had one family living in them. Despite remaining the most commonly reported type of household, the proportion of one family households has continued to decrease in the last 25 years. In 1991 one family households made up three-quarters of Australian households.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION OVER TIME - 1991, 2016(a)
Infographic breaking down the changes in household composition between 1991 and 2016.
(a) Includes households in occupied private dwellings only. Excludes visitor only and non-classifiable households.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 1991, 2016

In 2016, almost one household in four was a lone person household. This increased from one in five households in 1991. Of the 2 million people living alone on Census night, over half (55%) were female.

Women living alone tended to be older than men who lived alone. The median age of females living on their own was 64 years, compared to 54 years for males.

AVERAGE PEOPLE PER HOUSEHOLD, 2016(a)
Infographic showing that, on average, 2.6 people lived in each Australian household.
(a) Includes households in occupied private dwellings only. Excludes visitor only and non-classifiable households.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

In 2016, the average number of people living in each household was 2.6 people, decreasing from 2.8 people in 1991. The Northern Territory has remained the state or territory with the highest average number of people per household, decreasing slightly from 3.0 people in 1991 to 2.9 people in 2016. Tasmania has remained the lowest, falling from 2.7 people in 1991 to 2.3 people in 2016.


FAMILIES IN AUSTRALIA

The 2016 Census counted 6.1 million families across Australia. There was little change in the composition of Australian families between 2011 and 2016, although there has been considerable change in the 25 years since 1991.

Couple families with children remained the most common type of Australian family in 2016. However the proportion of Australian families they make up has decreased over time. In 1991, 54% of families were couples with children, dropping to 45% in 2016.

The proportion of couple families without children and single parent families has increased since 1991. In 1991 32% of Australian families were couple families without children, increasing to 38% in 2016.

Similarly, single parent families have increased from 13% of families in 1991 to 16% in 2016. Over 900,000 single parent families were counted in 2016 and over 80% of single parents were female.

FAMILY COMPOSITION, 2016(a)
Infographic showing the composition of Australian families in 2016. Over 80% in single parents were female.
(a) Includes households in occupied private dwellings only. Excludes visitor only and non-classifiable households.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 2016

The 2016 Census counted 46,800 same-sex couples across Australia. This was an increase of 39% since the 2011 Census, which counted 33,700 same-sex couples.

The median age of people in same-sex couples was 40 years, considerably lower than people in opposite-sex couples at 48 years.

Female same-sex couples made up just under half (49%) of same-sex couples, however they were more likely to have children than male same-sex couples. While one-quarter (25%) of female same-sex couples had children, 4.5% of male same-sex couples had children.


AUSTRALIAN HOUSING

Separate houses continued to account for the largest proportion of Australian homes. However, separate houses decreased from 76% of households in 2011 to 73% in 2016. Semi-detached, row housing, town houses, flats and apartments increased to make up just over one-quarter of housing (26%).

DWELLING STRUCTURE AND TENURE TYPE, 2016(a)(b)(c)
Infographic on changes in tenure type between 1991 and 2016 and dwelling structure in 2016.
(a) Includes households in occupied private dwellings only. Excludes visitor only and non-classifiable households.
(b) Owned with a mortgage includes ‘Being rented under a shared equity scheme’.
(c) Rented includes ‘Being occupied rent free’.
Source: Census of Population and Housing 1991, 2016

In 2016, 35% of households were owned with a mortgage, making this the most common type of housing tenure. Outright ownership and renting were slightly less common (31% each).

While these proportions remained relatively similar to recent Censuses, 25 years ago it was much more common to own a house outright. In 1991 41% of households were owned outright, while the proportion of households being owned with a mortgage or being rented has continued to increase. While in 2016 houses being rented or owned with a mortgage made up 65% of households, 25 years ago they made up 54% of households.


For definitions of the terms used above, see the Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016 (cat. no. 2901.0). For more information about 2016 Census data release and products, go to www.abs.gov.au/census.

For a print-friendly version, go to the Downloads tab at the top of the page.

EXPLANATORY INFORMATION
‘Australians’ refers to all people in Australia at the time of the Census, excluding overseas visitors in Australia for less than a year. Australians who were overseas at the time of the Census were not included in Census counts. For more information see Population Measures.

Median age is where half the population is older, while the other half is younger.