Demographics of Australia

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Demographics of Australia Flag of Australia.svg
Indicator Rank Measure
Population
Population 52nd 23,601,900[1]
Economy
GDP (PPP) per capita 10th $40,073
GDP 12th $1.56 trillion
Unemployment rate ↓ 57th 6.40%
CO2 emissions 11th 18.3 t
Electricity consumption 16th 200.70 TWh
Economic freedom 3rd 82.5
Politics
Human Development Index 2nd 0.937
Political freedom 1st (equal)* 1
Corruption (A higher score means less (perceived) corruption.) ↓ 8th 8.7
Press freedom 18th 5.38
Society
Literacy Rate 21st 99%
Broadband uptake 17th 13.8%
Beer consumption 20th[2] 4.49 L
Health
Life Expectancy 5th 81.2
Birth rate 148th 13.8
Fertility rate 137th 1.969††
Infant mortality 202nd 4.57‡‡
Death rate 122nd 7.56
Suicide Rate 50th ♂ 14.9†‡
♀ 4.4†‡
HIV/AIDS rate 108th 0.10%
Notes
↓ indicates rank is in reverse order
   (e.g. 1st is lowest)
per capita
per 1000 people
†† per woman
‡‡ per 1000 live births
†‡ 100,000 people per year
♂ indicates males, ♀ indicates females

The demographics of Australia covers basic statistics, most populous cities, ethnicity and religion. The population of Australia is estimated to be 23,601,900 as of 18 September 2014.[1] Australia is the 52nd most populous country in the world. Its population is concentrated mainly in urban areas and is expected to exceed 28 million by 2030.[3]

Australia's population has grown from an estimated population of about 350,000 at the time of British settlement in 1788 due to numerous waves of immigration during the period since. Also due to immigration, the European component of the population is declining as a percentage, as it is in many other Western countries.

Australia has fewer than three persons per square kilometre of total land area. With 89% of its population living in urban areas, Australia is one of the world's most urbanised countries.[4] The life expectancy of Australia in 1999–2001 was 79.7 years, among the highest in the world.

Indigenous population[edit]

Indigenous Australians as a percentage of the population as of the 2011 census

The earliest accepted timeline for the first arrivals of indigenous Australians to the continent of Australia places this human migration to at least 40,000 years ago most probably from the islands of Indonesia and New Guinea.[5]

These first inhabitants of Australia were originally hunter-gatherers, who over the course of many succeeding generations diversified widely throughout the continent and its nearby islands. Although their technical culture remained static—depending on wood, bone, and stone tools and weapons—their spiritual and social life was highly complex. Most spoke several languages, and confederacies sometimes linked widely scattered tribal groups. Aboriginal population density ranged from approximately one person per 3 km2 (1 sq mi) along the coasts to one person per 90 km2 (35 sq mi) in the arid interior. Food procurement was usually a matter for the nuclear family, requiring an estimated 3 days of work per week. There was little large game, and outside of some communities in the more fertile south-east, they had no agriculture.

Dutch navigators landed on the coasts of modern Western Australia and Queensland several times during the 17th century. Captain James Cook claimed the east coast for Great Britain in 1770, the west coast was later settled by Britain also. At that time, the indigenous population was estimated to have been between 315,000 and 750,000,[6] divided into as many as 500 tribes[citation needed] speaking many different languages. In the 2011 Census, 495,757 respondents declared they were Aboriginal, 31,407 declared they were Torres Strait Islander, and a further 21,206 declared they were both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.[7]

Since the end of World War II, efforts have been made both by the government and by the public to be more responsive to Aboriginal rights and needs. Today, many tribal Aborigines lead a settled traditional life in remote areas of northern, central and western Australia. In the south, where most Aborigines are of mixed descent, most Aboriginal people live in the cities.[citation needed]

Cities[edit]

Australia contains five cities that consist of over one million people, which is significant for a small population.[citation needed]

Population density[edit]

The population density in Australia was last reported as 2.91 /km2 (7.5 /sq mi). The density was 2.8 /km2 (7.3 /sq mi) in 2008 and 2.86 /km2 (7.4 /sq mi) in 2009. That made Australia the 3rd least densely populated country in the world, after Namibia and Mongolia.

General demographic statistics[edit]

Much of the data that follows has been derived from the CIA World Factbook and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, through censuses.

Population[edit]

Estimated resident population of Australia since 1981

The following figures are ABS estimates for the resident population of Australia, based on the 2001 and 2006 Censuses and other data.

23,601,900 (as of 18 September 2014)[1]
21,262,641 (July 2009 – CIA World Factbook)
21,180,632 (end December 2007 – preliminary)
20,848,760 (end December 2006 – preliminary)
20,544,064 (end December 2005)
20,252,132 (end December 2004)
20,011,882 (end December 2003)
19,770,963 (end December 2002)
19,533,972 (end December 2001)[9]

States and territories[edit]

State/territory Land area
(km²)
Population
(2011 census)
Population density
(/km²)
 % of population
in capital
 Australian Capital Territory 2,358 357,222[10] 151.49 99.6%
 New South Wales 800,642 6,917,658[11] 8.64 63%
 Victoria 227,416 5,354,042[12] 23.54 71%
 Queensland 1,730,648 4,332,739[13] 2.50 46%
 South Australia 983,482 1,596,572[14] 1.62 73.5%
 Western Australia 2,529,875 2,239,170[15] 0.89 73.4%
 Tasmania 68,401 495,354[16] 7.24 41%
 Northern Territory 1,349,129 211,945[17] 0.16 54%

Age structure[edit]

Australia's age and gender structure in 2005, illustrated in a population pyramid.[18]
Australian population by age and sex (demographic pyramid) as of 01 July 2013
0–14 years – 18.2%
15–65 years – 67.5%
15-24 years – 13.5%
25-54 years – 42.2%
55–64 years – 11.8%
65 years and over – 14.4% (2012 estimate)[19]

Median age[edit]

Map of the median age of Australians by Statistical Local Area in the 2011 census
Total: 37.3 years
Male: 36.6 years
Female: 38.1 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

As of the end of September 2012, the population growth rate was 1.7%.[20] This rate was based on estimates of:[21]

  • one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,
  • one death every 3 minutes and 32 seconds,
  • a net gain of one international migrant every 2 minutes and 19 seconds leading to
  • an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 23 seconds.

In 2009, the estimated rates were:

At the time of Australian Federation in 1901, the rate of natural increase was 14.9 persons per 1,000 population. The rate increased to a peak of 17.4 per thousand population in the years 1912, 1913 and 1914. During the Great Depression, the rate declined to a low of 7.1 per thousand population in 1934 and 1935. Immediately after World War II, the rate increased sharply as a result of the start of the post–World War II baby boom and the immigration of many young people who then had children in Australia. A rate plateau of over 13.0 persons per 1,000 population occurred for every year from 1946 to 1962.

There has been a fall in the rate of natural increase since 1962 due to falling fertility. In 1971, the rate of natural increase was 12.7 persons per 1,000 population; a decade later it had fallen to 8.5. In 1996 the rate of natural increase fell below seven for the first time, with the downward trend continuing in the late 1990s. Population projections by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that continued low fertility, combined with the increase in deaths from an ageing population, will result in natural increase falling below zero sometime in the mid-2030s. However, in 2006 the fertility rate rose to 1.81, one of the highest rate in the OECD.

Since 1901, the crude death rate has fallen from about 12.2 deaths per 1,000 population, to 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population in 2006.[22]

Vital statistics since 1900[edit]

Source:[23]

Average population (x 1,000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1,000) Crude death rate (per 1,000) Natural change (per 1,000) Fertility rates Net overseas migration[24]
1900 3,715 102,221 44,060 58,161 27.3 11.8 15.5
1901 3,765 102,945 46,330 56,615 27.1 12.2 14.9
1902 3,824 102,776 48,078 54,698 26.7 12.5 14.2
1903 3,875 98,443 47,293 51,150 25.3 12.1 13.2
1904 3,916 104,113 43,572 60,541 26.4 11.0 15.4
1905 3,974 104,941 43,514 61,427 26.2 10.9 15.3
1906 4,032 107,890 44,333 63,557 26.6 10.9 15.7
1907 4,091 110,347 45,305 55,042 26.7 11.0 15.7
1908 4,161 111,545 46,426 55,119 26.6 11.1 15.5
1909 4,232 114,071 44,172 59,899 26.7 10.3 16.4
1910 4,323 116,801 45,590 61,211 26.7 10.4 16.3
1911 4,425 122,193 47,869 74,324 27.2 10.6 16.6
1912 4,573 133,088 52,177 80,911 28.6 11.2 17.4
1913 4,746 135,714 51,789 83,925 28.2 10.7 17.5
1914 4,893 137,983 51,720 86,263 28.0 10.5 17.5
1915 4,971 134,871 52,782 82,089 27.1 10.6 16.5
1916 4,969 131,426 54,197 77,219 26.6 11.0 15.6
1917 4,917 129,965 48,029 81,936 26.3 9.7 16.6
1918 4,982 125,739 50,249 75,490 25.0 10.0 15.0
1919 5,080 122,290 65,930 56,360 23.6 12.7 10.9
1920 5,303 136,406 56,289 80,117 25.5 10.5 15.5
1921 5,411 136,198 54,076 82,122 24.9 9.9 15.0 3.12
1922 5,510 137,496 51,311 86,185 24.7 9.2 15.5 3.11
1923 5,637 135,222 56,236 78,986 23.7 9.9 13.8 3.02
1924 5,755 134,927 54,980 79,953 23.2 9.4 13.8 2.97
1925 5,882 135,792 54,658 81,134 22.9 9.2 13.7 2.95
1926 6,000 133,162 56,952 76,210 22.0 9.4 12.6 2.85
1927 6,124 133,698 58,282 75,716 21.6 9.4 12.2 2.80
1928 6,251 134,078 59,378 74,700 21.3 9.4 11.9 2.77
1929 6,355 129,480 60,857 68,623 20.2 9.5 10.7 2.64
1930 6,436 128,399 55,331 73,068 19.8 8.6 11.2 2.58
1931 6,500 118,509 56,560 61,949 18.2 8.7 9.5 2.36
1932 6,552 110,933 56,757 54,176 16.9 8.6 8.3 2.19
1933 6,603 111,269 59,117 52,152 16.8 8.9 7.9 2.17
1934 6,656 109,475 62,229 47,246 16.4 9.3 7.1 2.11
1935 6,707 111,325 63,599 47,726 16.5 9.4 7.1 2.12
1936 6,755 116,073 63,932 52,141 17.1 9.4 7.7 2.18
1937 6,810 119,131 64,496 54,635 17.4 9.4 8.0 2.21
1938 6,871 120,415 66,451 53,964 17.4 9.6 7.8 2.21
1939 6,935 122,891 69,147 53,744 17.6 9.9 7.7 2.22
1940 7,004 126,347 68,384 57,963 17.9 9.7 8.2 2.26
1941 7,077 134,525 71,176 63,349 18.9 10.0 8.9 2.36
1942 7,143 136,708 75,191 61,517 19.1 10.5 8.6 2.38
1943 7,201 149,295 74,486 74,809 20.6 10.3 10.3 2.57
1944 7,269 153,344 69,596 83,748 21.0 9.5 11.5 2.63
1945 7,347 160,560 70,231 90,229 21.7 9.5 12.2 2.74
1946 7,430 176,379 74,661 101,718 23.6 10.0 13.6 2.99
1947 7,517 182,384 73,468 108,916 24.1 9.7 14.4 3.08
1948 7,637 177,976 76,839 101,137 23.1 10.0 13.1 2.99
1949 7,792 181,261 75,260 106,001 22.9 9.5 13.4 3.03
1950 8,045 190,591 78,187 112,404 23.3 9.6 13.7 3.07
1951 8,307 193,298 81,788 111,510 23.0 9.7 13.3 3.06
1952 8,527 201,650 81,597 120,053 23.4 9.5 13.9 3.18
1953 8,739 202,235 80,188 122,047 22.9 9.1 13.8 3.19
1954 8,902 202,256 81,805 120,451 22.5 9.1 13.4 3.20
1955 9,089 207,677 82,036 125,641 22.6 8.9 13.7 3.28
1956 9,311 212,633 86,088 126,545 22.5 9.1 13.4 3.33
1957 9,530 220,358 84,953 135,405 22.9 8.8 14.1 3.42
1958 9,744 222,504 83,723 138,481 22.6 8.5 14.1 3.42
1959 9,947 226,976 89,212 137,765 22.6 8.9 13.7 3.44
1960 10,160 230,326 88,464 141,862 22.4 8.6 13.8 3.45
1961 10,391 239,986 88,961 151,025 22.8 8.5 14.3 3.55
1962 10,642 237,081 93,163 143,918 22.1 8.7 13.4 3.43
1963 10,846 235,689 94,894 140,795 21.5 8.7 12,8 3.34
1964 11,055 229,149 100,594 128,555 20.5 8.7 11.8 3.15
1965 11,280 222,854 99,715 123,139 19.6 8.8 10.8 2.97
1966 11,505 223,731 103,929 119,802 19.3 9.0 10.3 2.89
1967 11,704 229,796 102,703 127,093 19.4 8.7 10.7 2.85
1968 11,912 240,906 109,547 131,359 20.0 9.1 10.9 2.89
1969 12,145 250,175 106,496 143,681 20.4 8.7 11.7 2.93
1970 12,407 257,516 113,048 144,468 20.5 9.0 10.5 2.94
1971 12,663 276,361 110,650 165,711 21.5 8.6 12.9 2.98
1972 13,067 271,960 110,191 161,769 20.6 8.4 12.2 2.74
1973 13,303 255,848 111,336 144,512 19.1 8.3 10.8 2.49
1974 13,504 243,658 110,179 133,479 17.9 8.1 9.8 2.32
1975 13,722 239,794 114,501 125,293 17.4 8.3 9.1 2.15
1976 13,892 231,135 110,610 120,525 16.6 7.9 8.7 2.06
1977 14,033 226,954 111,490 115,464 16.1 7.9 8.2 2.01
1978 14,192 226,359 108,059 118,300 15.9 7.6 8.3 1.95
1979 14,359 223,370 108,315 115,055 15.5 7.5 8.0 1.91
1980 14,515 223,664 106,654 117,010 15.3 7.3 8.0 1.89
1981 14,695 230,920 109,429 121,491 15.6 7.4 8.2 1.94
1982 14,923 237,076 110,990 116,086 15.7 7.4 8.3 1.93 128,100
1983 15,184 241,764 112,918 128,846 15.8 7.4 8.4 1.92 73,300
1984 15,393 240,544 110,887 129,657 15.5 7.2 8.3 1.84 49,100
1985 15,579 241,814 114,197 127,617 15.4 7.3 8.1 1.92 73,800
1986 15,788 239,115 116,069 123,046 15.0 7.3 7.7 1.87 100,500
1987 16,018 242,977 116,139 126,838 15.0 7.2 7.8 1.85 125,800
1988 16,263 246,200 120,463 125,737 15.0 7.3 7.7 1.83 149,400
1989 16,532 250,155 118,767 131,388 15.1 7.1 8.0 1.84 157,500
1990 16,814 257,521 125,112 132,409 15.3 7.4 7.9 1.90 124,700
1991 17,065 261,158 119,572 141,586 15.2 7.0 8.2 1.85 86,500
1992 17,284 259,186 120,836 138,350 14.9 6.9 8.0 1.89 68,600
1993 17,494 259,959 121,338 138,621 14.8 6.9 7.9 1.86 30,100
1994 17,667 258,314 123,496 134,818 14.5 7.0 7.5 1.84 46,600
1995 17,854 258,210 126,232 131,978 14.4 7.0 7.4 1.82 80,200
1996 18,071 250,438 126,400 124,038 13.8 6.9 6.9 1.80 104,000
1997 18,310 253,660 127,298 126,362 13.7 6.9 6.8 1.78 87,200
1998 18,517 249,105 129,255 119,850 13.4 6.9 6.5 1.75 79,100
1999 18,711 249,965 128,278 121,487 13.3 6.8 6.5 1.75 96,500
2000 18,925 249,310 128,392 120,918 13.1 6.7 6.4 1.75 107,200
2001 19,153 247,500 128,913 118,587 12.8 6.7 6.1 1.73 135,700
2002 19,413 250,988 133,707 117,281 12.9 6.9 6.0 1.771 110,600
2003 19,651 246,663 132,239 114,424 12.5 6.7 5.8 1.75 116,500
2004 19,895 249,082 133,231 115,851 12.4 6.7 5.7 1.76 100,000
2005 20,127 255,934 131,354 124,580 12.6 6.5 6.1 1.79 123,800
2006 20,394 263,540 134,041 129,499 12.8 6.5 6.3 1.82 146,700
2007 20,697 274,330 134,785 139,545 13.2 6.4 6.8 1.87 232,700
2008 21,015 302,300 2.02 277,400
2009 21,262 295,700 140,800 154,900 13.9 6.6 7.3 1.90 299,800
2010 22,183 297,900 143,500 157,978 13.4 6.4 7.0 1.89 172,038
2011 22,340 301,617 146,932 156,050 13.5 6.6 6.9 1.917 205,679
2012 22,723 309,582 147,098 161,782 13.6 6.5 7.1 1.933 241,151
2013 160,357 235,797

In 2012, the total fertility rate of Australian born women was 1.95, while for overseas born women, it was 1.88.[25]

Urbanisation[edit]

Urbanisation population: 89% of total population (2008)
Rate of urbanisation: 1.2% annual rate of change (2005–2010)

Sex ratio[edit]

At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

Total: 80.62 years
country comparison to the world: 70
Male: 79.99 years
Female: 84.15 years

Total fertility rate[edit]

1.969 children born/woman (2008)[26]

For more detailed regionwise TFR details see Birth rate and fertility rate in Australia.

country comparison to the world: 159

HIV/AIDS[edit]

Adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2007 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 18,000 (2007 est.)
Deaths: fewer than 200 (2003 est.)[27]

Country of birth[edit]

Countries of birth of Australian estimated resident population, 2006.
Source:Australian Bureau of Statistics[28]

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in mid-2011 there were 6,018,180 residents who were born outside Australia, representing 27% of the total population.[28] The Australian-resident population consists of people who were born in these countries:

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics[28]
Country of Birth Estimated Resident Population
 United Kingdom 1,196,000
 New Zealand 543,950
 People's Republic of China (Excluding SARs and Taiwan Province) 387,420
 India 337,120
 Vietnam 207,620
 Italy 201,680
 Philippines 193,030
 South Africa 161,590
 Malaysia 134,140
 Germany 125,750
 Greece 121,180
 Sri Lanka 99,740
 United States 90,090
 Lebanon 90,030
 Netherlands 87,660
 Hong Kong (SAR of China) 85,990
 South Korea 85,930
 Ireland 78,620
 Indonesia 73,060
 Croatia 67,580
 Fiji 65,470
 Poland 57,900
 Singapore 55,820
 Iraq 54,980
 Thailand 52,990
 Macedonia 51,140
 Malta 47,960
 Canada 46,230
 Egypt 42,080
 Japan 41,390
 Turkey 39,980
 Iran 39,640
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 39,440
 Serbia 34,850
 Zimbabwe 34,610
 Pakistan 34,150
 Taiwan 33,450
 Afghanistan 32,970
 Cambodia 32,510
 Bangladesh 31,620
 Papua New Guinea 30,650
 France 29,770
 Sudan 29,282
 Chile 28,520
   Nepal 27,810
 Mauritius 26,780
 Burma 24,430
 Hungary 23,065
 Samoa 21,820
 Russia 21,500
 Cyprus 21,150

For more information about immigration see Immigration to Australia.

Ancestry of Australian population[edit]

Main article: Australians


Indigenous[edit]

Indigenous Australians are descendants of the original inhabitants of the Australian continent.[29] Indigenous Australians migrated from Africa to Asia around 70,000 years ago[30] and arrived in Australia around 50,000 years ago.[31][32] The Torres Strait Islanders are indigenous to the Torres Strait Islands, which are at the northernmost tip of Queensland near Papua New Guinea. The term "Aboriginal" is traditionally applied to only the indigenous inhabitants of mainland Australia and Tasmania, along with some of the adjacent islands, i.e.: the "first peoples". Indigenous Australians is an inclusive term used when referring to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.

Dispersing across the Australian continent over time, the ancient peoples expanded and differentiated into hundreds of distinct groups, each with its own language and culture.[33] More than 400 distinct Australian Aboriginal peoples have been identified across the continent, distinguished by unique names designating their ancestral languages, dialects, or distinctive speech patterns.[34]

James Cook claimed the east coast for Great Britain in 1770; the west coast was later also settled by Britain. At that time, the indigenous population was estimated to have been between 315,000 and 750,000,[6] divided into as many as 500 tribes[citation needed] speaking many different languages. In the 2006 Census, 407,700 respondents declared they were Aboriginal, 29,512 declared they were Torres Strait Islanders, and a further 17,811 declared they were both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.[35] After adjustments for undercount, the indigenous population as of end June 2006 was estimated to be 517,200, representing about 2.5% of the population.[6]

Modern era[edit]

Although some observers stress Australia's convict history, the vast majority of early settlers came of their own free will.[36] Far more Australians are descended from assisted immigrants than from convicts, the majority were British and Irish.[37] About 20% of Australians are descendants of convicts.[38] Most of the first Australian settlers came from London, the Midlands and the North of England, and Ireland.[39][40][41] Settlers that arrived throughout the 19th century were from all parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, a significant proportion of settlers came from the Southwest and Southeast of England, from Ireland and from Scotland.[42] Anglo-Celtic Australians (Northern European settlers from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland) have been highly influential in shaping the nation's culture. By the mid-1840's, the numbers of freeborn settlers had overtaken the convict population. In 1888, 60 percent of the Australian population had been born in Australia, and almost all had British ancestral origins. Out of the remaining 40 percent, 34 percent had been born in the British Isles, and 6 percent were of European origin, mainly from Germany and Scandinavia.[43] In the 1840's, Scots-born immigrants constituted 12 percent of the Australian population. There were 1.3 million British migrants to Australia in the period from 1861–1914, of which 13.5 percent were Scots. 5.3 percent of the convicts transported to Eastern Australia between 1789 and 1852 were Scots.[44] By 1850, there were 290,000 Aboriginal Australians. The European population grew from 0.3 percent of the population of the continent at 1800 to 58.6 percent at 1850.[45] Germans formed the largest non-British community for most of the 19th century.[46] The census of 1901 showed that 98 percent of Australians had British ancestral origins, which was considered as "more British than Britain itself".[47] Between 1901 and 1940, 140,000 non-British European immigrants arrived in Australia (about 16 percent of the total intake).[48] Before World War II, 13.6 percent were born overseas, and 80 percent of those were British.[49] In 1939 and 1945, still 98 percent of Australians had British/Anglo-Celtic ancestral origins.[50] Until 1947, the vast majority of the population were of British origin.[51] During the 1950's, Australia was the destination of 30 per cent of Dutch emigrants and the Netherlands-born became numerically the second largest non-British group in Australia.[52] In 1971, 70 percent of the foreign born were of European origin. In 1984, 29 percent of the foreign born were from Europe.[53] Abolition of the White Australia Policy in the mid-1970s led to a significant increase in non-European immigration, mostly from Asia and the Middle East.

Almost one Australian in four was born elsewhere. In 1981, around 50 percent of immigrants were from Europe, and 2.7 percent were from Asia.[54] In 1998 about 40 percent of all immigrants to Australia had been born in Asia.[55] People from the United Kingdom remain the largest group amongst those born aboard.[56] In 2001 were 51 percent from Europe, 29 percent from Asia, 11 percent from Oceania, and 4 percent came from the Americas.[57]

In 1996, over 8 million Australians had at least three ancestries, and over 3 million had four or more.[58]

By 2000, a majority of Australia's population was native born, and over 90 percent were descended from people from the British Isles.[59] In 2007, more than 92 percent of all Australians descended from Europeans.[60]

In the 2006 Census 455,026 people (or 2.3% of the total Australian population) reported they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.[35]

Religion[edit]

Main article: Religion in Australia

Australia is a religiously diverse country and it has no official religion.

Christianity is the predominant faith of Australia, although its popularity is diminishing. According to the 2011 census, 61.1% of the population classified themselves as being affiliated with a Christian faith, down from 67.3% ten years earlier at the 2001 census.[61] The largest religious denomination was Roman Catholicism, with 25.3% of the population. The next largest Christian denomination was Anglican at 17.1%, and all other Christian denominations accounted for a further 18.7% of the population.[62]

The second-largest group, and the one which had grown the fastest, was the 22.3% who claimed to have no religion. Over the ten years since the 2001 census, this group grew from 15.3% to 22.3% of the population; an increase of 7%, which was the largest change of any religious classification in that period.[61][62]

Minority religions practiced in Australia include Buddhism (2.5% of the population), Islam (2.2%), Hinduism (1.3%) and Judaism (0.5%). The Census question about religion is optional, and 8.6% of people did not respond.[62]

The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census Dictionary statement on religious affiliation states the purpose for gathering such information:

Data on religious affiliation are used for such purposes as planning educational facilities, aged persons' care and other social services provided by religion-based organisations; the location of church buildings; the assigning of chaplains to hospitals, prisons, armed services and universities; the allocation of time on public radio and other media; and sociological research.

As in many Western countries, the level of active participation in religious services is lower than would be indicated by the proportion of the population identifying themselves as affiliated with a religion; weekly attendance at Christian church services is about 1.5 million, or about 7.5% of the population.[63] Christian charitable organisations, hospitals and schools play a prominent role in welfare and education services. The Catholic education system is the second biggest sector after government schools, with more than 650,000 students (and around 21 per cent of all secondary school enrolments).

Languages[edit]

English is the national language of Australia and is spoken by the vast majority of the population.[64]

The most commonly spoken languages other than English are Italian, Greek, German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese languages, Indian languages, Arabic and Macedonian, as well as numerous Australian Aboriginal languages.[65] Australia's hearing-impaired community uses Australian Deaf Sign Language. As of February 2012, more than 15 per cent of Australians speak non-English languages at home and more than 200 languages are practised.[64]

Language Speakers
Only English 15,581,333
Italian 316,895
Greek 252,226
Cantonese 244,553
Arabic 243,662
Mandarin 220,600
Vietnamese 194,863
Spanish 98,001
Filipino 92,331
German 75,634
Hindi 70,011
Macedonian 67,835
Croatian 63,612
Australian Aboriginal Languages 55,705
Korean 54,623
Turkish 53,857
Polish 53,389
Serbian 52,534
French 43,216
Indonesian 42,036
Maltese 36,514
Russian 36,502
Dutch 36,183
Japanese 35,111
Tamil 32,700
Sinhalese 29,055
Samoan 28,525
Portuguese 25,779
Khmer 24,715
Assyrian (Aramaic) 23,526
Punjabi 23,164
Persian 22,841
Hungarian 21,565
Bengali 20,223
Urdu 19,288
Afrikaans 16,806
Bosnian 15,743

Literacy[edit]

Definition: aged 15 years and over can read and write
Total population: 99%
Male: 99%
Female: 99% (2003 est.)

Education expenditure[edit]

4.5% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 55

Nationality[edit]

  • noun: Australian(s)
  • adjective: Australian

Historical population estimates[edit]

Note that population estimates in the table below do not include the Aboriginal population before 1961. Estimates of Aboriginal population prior to European settlement range from 300,000 to one million, with archaeological finds indicating a sustainable population of around 750,000.[66]

Historic population (Estimated) [67][68]
Year Indigenous population
pre 1788 750,000 to 1,000,000 [69]
Year Non-Indigenous population
1788 8590
1798 4,5880
1808 10,2630
1818 25,8590
1828 58,1970
1838 151,8680
1848 332,3280
1858 1,050,8280
1868 1,539,5520
1878 2,092,1640
1888 2,981,6770
1898 3,664,7150
Year Total population
1901 3,788,1230
1906 4,059,0830
1911 4,489,5450
1916 4,943,1730
1921 5,455,1360
1926 6,056,3600
1931 6,526,4850
1936 6,778,3720
1941 7,109,8980
1946 7,465,1570
1951 8,421,7750
1956 9,425,5630
1961 10,548,2670
1966 11,599,4980
1971 13,067,2650
1976 14,033,0830
1981 14,923,2600
1986 16,018,3500
1991 17,284,0360
1996 18,310,7140
2001 19,413,2400
2006 20,848,7600
2011 21,507,7170

See also[edit]

Ethnicities[edit]

References[edit]

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General references

Further reading[edit]

  • Jupp, James. The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, its People and their Origins (2002)
  • O'Farrell, Patrick. The Irish in Australia: 1798 to the Present Day (3rd ed. Cork University Press, 2001)
  • Wells, Andrew, and Theresa Martinez, eds. Australia's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook (ABC-CLIO, 2004)

External links[edit]