Western Australia – A Population Overview

19 December 2012 | WA/60

Holiday makers and workers contributed to a 22 per cent increase in people counted in Western Australia – Outback on the last Census night, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed today. This was the greatest proportional difference of any region in Australia.

The latest in a series of analytical articles based on the 2011 Census, Western Australia – Outback: A Population Overview, profiles the usual resident, enumerated and working populations of the vast 2.3 million square kilometre area.

The article reveals there were 263,000 people in the area on Census night on 9 August, compared with 215,000 usual residents – amounting to 48,000 more people.

Census Products and Services Director, Alan Wong said the article provides valuable perspective on the population composition of Western Australia - Outback, and the different areas within this great outback expanse.

“The information gained through the Census program will help inform business decisions and government planning over the coming years,” Mr Wong said.

“Gascoyne on the western coast showed the greatest difference between the usual resident and Census night counts, with 67 per cent more people there on Census night than the number who usually lived there.

“Kimberley (40 per cent) and Pilbara (33 per cent) both had significantly more people on Census night, while there were slightly less people in Esperance on Census night than the number who usually lived there.”

The main industries for those who worked in Western Australia – Outback varied depending on the area. Mining was most concentrated in Pilbara, accounting for 41 per cent of employed people. It was also the most commonly reported industry for people employed in Goldfields (34 per cent).

In Mid West, the industries of employment were less concentrated. Mining was the most commonly reported (12 per cent) followed by Retail Trade (10 per cent) and Health Care and Social Assistance (9.5 per cent).

Further information is available in Western Australia – Outback: A Population Overview. This is one of a series of articles to be progressively released in Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census (cat. no. 2071.0).

The series and data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing is now available on the ABS website. Visit www.abs.gov.au/census.


Western Australia – Outback is a Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4). It is made up of six Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s) – Pilbara, Mid West, Kimberley, Goldfields, Esperance and Gascoyne. For more information on SA4s and SA3s see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 – Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).