Demography of Australia

Last updated

Demographics of
Flag of Australia.svg  Australia
IndicatorRankMeasure
Population
Population 53rd25,246,100 [1]
Economy
GDP (PPP) per capita 19th $63,699
GDP 12th $1.56 trillion
Unemployment rate ↓ 57th5.80% [2]
CO2 emissions 11th18.3 t
Electricity consumption 17th213.5 TWh
Economic freedom 3rd82.5
Politics
Human Development Index 3rd0.939
Political freedom 1st (equal)*1
Corruption (A higher score means less (perceived) corruption.) 11th80
Press freedom 18th5.38
Society
Literacy rate 21st99%
Broadband uptake 17th13.8%
Beer consumption 20th [3] 4.49 L
Health
Life expectancy 4th81.2
Birth rate 148th13.8
Fertility rate 137th1.969††
Infant mortality 202nd4.57‡‡
Death rate 122nd7.56
Suicide rate 50th♂ 14.9†‡
♀ 4.4†‡
HIV/AIDS rate 108th0.10%
Notes
↓ indicates rank is in reverse order
(e.g. 1st is lowest)
per capita
per 1000 people
†† per woman
‡‡ per 1000 live births
†‡ per 100,000 people per year
♂ indicates males, ♀ indicates females

The demography of Australia covers basic statistics, most populous cities, ethnicity and religion. The population of Australia is estimated to be 25,246,100 as of 5February2019. [1] Australia is the 52nd most populous country in the world and the most populous Oceanian country. Its population is concentrated mainly in urban areas and is expected to exceed 28 million by 2030. [4]

Contents

Australia's population has grown from an estimated population of between 300,000 and 1,000,000 at the time of British settlement in 1788 due to numerous waves of immigration during the period since. Also due to immigration from other continents, the European component's share of the population is declining as a percentage.

Australia has an average population density of 3.3 persons per square kilometre of total land area, which makes it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. This is generally attributed to the semi-arid and desert geography of much of the interior of the country. Another factor is urbanisation, with 89% of its population living in a handful of urban areas, Australia is one of the world's most urbanised countries. [5] The life expectancy of Australia in 1999–2001 was 79.7 years, among the highest in the world.

It is estimated that around 70% of the population is of European ancestry and descent. [6] Australia generally doesn't collect data on race and ethnicity, with the exception of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.

Indigenous population

Indigenous Australians as a percentage of the population as of the 2011 census Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Australia by SLA - BCP field 0054 Indigenous Persons Total Persons.svg
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. [7]

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 wrote that he claimed the east coast for Great Britain in 1770 while standing on Possession Island off the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. 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, [8] divided into many tribes 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. [9]

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, most of Australia's Indigenous population live on the east coast of Australia, where almost 60% of Indigenous Australians live in New South Wales (208,476) and Queensland (188,954) which roughly represents 2–5% of those state's populations. The Northern Territory has an Indigenous population of almost 70,000 and represents about 30% of the total Northern Territory population.

Cities

Australia contains five cities that consist of over one million people. Most of Australia's population live close to coastlines. [10]

Population density

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.

Life expectancy at birth from 1921 to 2015

Sources: Our World In Data and the United Nations.

1921-1950

Years1921192219231924192519261927192819291930 [13]
Life expectancy in Australia61.062.961.762.563.262.962.862.963.164.9
Years1931193219331934193519361937193819391940 [13]
Life expectancy in Australia65.365.665.464.865.165.265.865.865.866.2
Years1941194219431944194519461947194819491950 [13]
Life expectancy in Australia66.165.966.468.068.568.068.668.569.169.0

1950-2015

PeriodLife expectancy in
Years
PeriodLife expectancy in
Years
1950–195569.41985–199076.2
1955–196070.41990–199577.7
1960–196570.91995–200078.8
1965–197070.82000–200580.3
1970–197571.82005–201081.5
1975–198073.62010–201582.3
1980–198575.1

Source: UN World Population Prospects [14]

Total Fertility Rate from 1850 to 1899

The total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman. It is based on fairly good data for the entire period. Sources: Our World In Data and Gapminder Foundation. [15]

The following figures show the total fertility rates since the first years of the English colonization.

Years18501851185218531854185518561857185818591860 [15]
Total Fertility Rate in Australia4.945.014.075.034.865.325.195.635.715.755.71
Years1861186218631864186518661867186818691870 [15]
Total Fertility Rate in Australia5.675.85.595.755.645.335.415.435.195.19
Years1871187218731874187518761877187818791880 [15]
Total Fertility Rate in Australia5.094.975.014.934.814.814.694.744.84.73
Years1881188218831884188518861887188818891890 [15]
Total Fertility Rate in Australia4.734.624.664.774.784.744.774.764.654.69
Years189118921893189418951896189718981899 [15]
Total Fertility Rate in Australia4.624.524.44.134.073.813.783.643.66

Vital statistics since 1900

Source: [16]

Average populationLive birthsDeathsNatural changeCrude birth rate (per 1,000)Crude death rate (per 1,000)Natural change (per 1,000) Total fertility rates [upper-alpha 1] [15] Net overseas migration [17] [18] [19]
19003,715,000102,22144,06058,16127.311.815.53.66
19013,765,000102,94546,33056,61527.112.214.93.64
19023,824,000102,77648,07854,69826.712.514.23.39
19033,875,00098,44347,29351,15025.312.113.23.58
19043,916,000104,11343,57260,54126.411.015.43.54
19053,974,000104,94143,51461,42726.210.915.33.51
19064,032,000107,89044,33363,55726.610.915.73.35
19074,091,000110,34745,30555,04226.711.015.73.35
19084,161,000111,54546,42655,11926.611.115.53.35
19094,232,000114,07144,17259,89926.710.316.43.35
19104,323,000116,80145,59061,21126.710.416.33.35
19114,425,000122,19347,86974,32427.210.616.63.51
19124,573,000133,08852,17780,91128.611.217.43.51
19134,746,000135,71451,78983,92528.210.717.53.51
19144,893,000137,98351,72086,26328.010.517.53.51
19154,971,000134,87152,78282,08927.110.616.53.51
19164,969,000131,42654,19777,21926.611.015.63.07
19174,917,000129,96548,02981,93626.39.716.63.35
19184,982,000125,73950,24975,49025.010.015.03.07
19195,080,000122,29065,93056,36023.612.710.93.07
19205,303,000136,40656,28980,11725.510.515.53.07
19215,411,000136,19854,07682,12224.99.915.03.12
19225,510,000137,49651,31186,18524.79.215.53.11
19235,637,000135,22256,23678,98623.79.913.83.02
19245,755,000134,92754,98079,95323.29.413.82.97
19255,882,000135,79254,65881,13422.99.213.72.95
19266,000,000133,16256,95276,21022.09.412.62.85
19276,124,000133,69858,28275,71621.69.412.22.80
19286,251,000134,07859,37874,70021.39.411.92.77
19296,355,000129,48060,85768,62320.29.510.72.64
19306,436,000128,39955,33173,06819.88.611.22.58
19316,500,000118,50956,56061,94918.28.79.52.36
19326,552,000110,93356,75754,17616.98.68.32.19
19336,603,000111,26959,11752,15216.88.97.92.17
19346,656,000109,47562,22947,24616.49.37.12.11
19356,707,000111,32563,59947,72616.59.47.12.12
19366,755,000116,07363,93252,14117.19.47.72.18
19376,810,000119,13164,49654,63517.49.48.02.21
19386,871,000120,41566,45153,96417.49.67.82.21
19396,935,000122,89169,14753,74417.69.97.72.22
19407,004,000126,34768,38457,96317.99.78.22.26
19417,077,000134,52571,17663,34918.910.08.92.36
19427,143,000136,70875,19161,51719.110.58.62.38
19437,201,000149,29574,48674,80920.610.310.32.57
19447,269,000153,34469,59683,74821.09.511.52.63
19457,347,000160,56070,23190,22921.79.512.22.74
19467,430,000176,37974,661101,71823.610.013.62.99
19477,517,000182,38473,468108,91624.19.714.43.08
19487,637,000177,97676,839101,13723.110.013.12.98
19497,792,000181,26175,260106,00122.99.513.42.99
19508,045,000190,59178,187112,40423.39.613.73.01
19518,307,000193,29881,788111,51023.09.713.33.06
19528,527,000201,65081,597120,05323.49.513.93.15
19538,739,000202,23580,188122,04722.99.113.83.23
19548,902,000202,25681,805120,45122.59.113.43.3
19559,089,000207,67782,036125,64122.68.913.73.35
19569,311,000212,63386,088126,54522.59.113.43.39
19579,530,000220,35884,953135,40522.98.814.13.41
19589,744,000222,50483,723138,48122.68.514.13.42
19599,947,000226,97689,212137,76522.68.913.73.41
196010,160,000230,32688,464141,86222.48.613.83.39
196110,391,000239,98688,961151,02522.88.514.33.35
196210,642,000237,08193,163143,91822.18.713.43.3
196310,846,000235,68994,894140,79521.58.712.83.24
196411,055,000229,149100,594128,55520.58.711.83.17
196511,280,000222,85499,715123,13919.68.810.82.97
196611,505,000223,731103,929119,80219.39.010.32.89
196711,704,000229,796102,703127,09319.48.710.72.85
196811,912,000240,906109,547131,35920.09.110.92.89
196912,145,000250,175106,496143,68120.48.711.72.93
197012,407,000257,516113,048144,46820.59.010.52.94
197112,663,000276,361110,650165,71121.58.612.92.98
197213,067,000271,960110,191161,76920.68.412.22.74
197313,303,000255,848111,336144,51219.18.310.82.49
197413,504,000243,658110,179133,47917.98.19.82.32
197513,722,000239,794114,501125,29317.48.39.12.15
197613,892,000231,135110,610120,52516.67.98.72.06
197714,033,000226,954111,490115,46416.17.98.22.01
197814,192,000226,359108,059118,30015.97.68.31.95
197914,359,000223,370108,315115,05515.57.58.01.91
198014,515,000223,664106,654117,01015.37.38.01.89
198114,695,000230,920109,429121,49115.67.48.21.94
198214,923,000237,076110,990116,08615.77.48.31.93128,100
198315,184,000241,764112,918128,84615.87.48.41.9273,300
198415,393,000240,544110,887129,65715.57.28.31.8449,100
198515,579,000241,814114,197127,61715.47.38.11.9273,800
198615,788,000239,115116,069123,04615.07.37.71.87100,500
198716,018,000242,977116,139126,83815.07.27.81.85125,800
198816,263,000246,200120,463125,73715.07.37.71.83149,400
198916,532,000250,155118,767131,38815.17.18.01.84157,500
199016,814,000257,521125,112132,40915.37.47.91.90124,700
199117,065,000261,158119,572141,58615.27.08.21.8586,500
199217,284,000259,186120,836138,35014.96.98.01.8968,600
199317,494,000259,959121,338138,62114.86.97.91.8630,100
199417,667,000258,314123,496134,81814.57.07.51.8446,600
199517,854,000258,210126,232131,97814.47.07.41.8280,200
199618,071,000250,438126,400124,03813.86.96.91.80104,000
199718,310,000253,660127,298126,36213.76.96.81.7887,200
199818,517,000249,105129,255119,85013.46.96.51.7579,100
199918,711,000249,965128,278121,48713.36.86.51.7596,500
200018,925,000249,310128,392120,91813.16.76.41.75107,200
200119,153,000247,500128,913118,58712.86.76.11.73135,700
200219,413,000250,988133,707117,28112.96.96.01.77110,600
200319,651,000246,663132,239114,42412.56.75.81.75116,500
200419,895,000249,082133,231115,85112.46.75.71.76100,000
200520,127,000255,934131,354124,58012.66.56.11.79123,800
200620,394,000263,540134,041129,49912.86.56.31.82146,700
200720,697,000274,330134,785139,54513.26.46.81.87232,700
200821,015,000302,272143,946158,32614.46.87.62.02277,400
200921,262,000295,700140,760154,94013.96.67.31.90299,800
201022,183,000297,900143,473154,42713.46.47.01.89172,038
201122,340,000301,617146,932156,05013.56.66.91.92205,679
201222,723,000309,582147,098161,78213.66.57.11.91241,151
201323,162,000308,065147,708160,35713.36.46.91.88235,797
201423,413,000299,697153,400146,30012.86.56.31.8179,000
201523,858,000305,377159,052146,32512.86.76.11.81181,000
2016 [20] 311,104158,504152,60012.96.56.41.789243,800
201724,770,700 [21] 309,142160,909148,23312.66.56.11.741240,400

In 2012, the total fertility rate of Australian-born women was 1.94, while for overseas-born women, it was 1.81, [22] while in 2013, it was 1.91 and 1.79 respectively. [23]

States and territories

State/territoryPopulation
(2016 census)
Land areaPopulation density% of population
in capital
Notes
km2 mi2 per km2per mi2
Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales 7,797,800800,642309,1308.64363% [24]
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg  Victoria 6,244,200227,41687,80623.54971% [25]
Flag of Queensland.svg  Queensland 4,883,7001,730,648668,2072.50146% [26]
Flag of Western Australia.svg  Western Australia 2,567,8002,239,170864,5480.89073.4% [27]
Flag of South Australia.svg  South Australia 1,717,000983,482379,7251.62173.5% [28]
Flag of Tasmania.svg  Tasmania 519,10068,40126,4107.24341% [29]
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg  Australian Capital Territory 406,4002,358910151.4958100% [30]
Flag of the Northern Territory.svg  Northern Territory 245,0001,349,129520,9020.16054% [31]

Other general demographic statistics

As of February 2018, the population growth rate was 0.9%. [32] This rate was based on estimates of: [1]

Much of the data that follows has been derived from the CIA World Factbook [19] and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, through censuses.

Population

Estimated resident population of Australia since 1981 ABS-3101.0-AustralianDemographicStatistics-EstimatedResidentPopulationStatesTerritories-EstimatedResidentPopulation-Persons-Australia-A2060842F.svg
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.

25,246,100 (as of 5February2019) [1]
23,470,145 (July 2018 est.)
23,232,413 (July 2017 est.)
21,262,641 (July 2009 – CIA World Factbook)

Age structure

Population pyramid of Australia in 2017 Australiapop.svg
Population pyramid of Australia in 2017
Australia's age and gender structure in 2005, illustrated in a population pyramid. Population Pyramid- Australia 2005.svg
Australia's age and gender structure in 2005, illustrated in a population pyramid.
Australian population by age and sex (demographic pyramid) as of 1 July 2013 Australia Sex by Age 20130701.png
Australian population by age and sex (demographic pyramid) as of 1 July 2013
0-14 years: 17.75% (male 2,138,080 /female 2,027,583)
15-24 years: 12.62% (male 1,520,528 /female 1,442,461)
25-54 years: 41.35% (male 4,944,587 /female 4,760,752)
55-64 years: 11.84% (male 1,379,681 /female 1,398,177)
65 years and over: 16.44% (male 1,786,595 /female 2,071,701) (2018 est.)
0–14 years: 17.8% (male 2,122,139/female 2,012,670)
15–24 years: 12.79% (male 1,524,368/female 1,446,663)
25–54 years: 41.45% (male 4,903,130/female 4,725,976)
55–64 years: 11.83% (male 1,363,331/female 1,384,036)
65 years and over: 16.14% (male 1,736,951/female 2,013,149) (2017 est.)

Median age

Map of the median age of Australians by Statistical Local Area in the 2011 census Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Australia by SLA - BCP field 0109 Median age of persons.svg
Map of the median age of Australians by Statistical Local Area in the 2011 census
total: 38.8 years. Country comparison to the world: 58th
male: 38.1 years
female: 39.7 years (2018 est.)
total: 38.7 years
male: 37.9 years
female: 39.5 years (2017 est.)
Total: 36.9 years [34]
Male: 36.6 years
Female: 38.1 years (2009 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.7 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.77 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 155th

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.4 years (2018 est.)
male: 79.9 years (2018 est.)
female: 85 years (2018 est.)

Birth rate

12 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 165th
12.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
12.47 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) (Rank 164)

Death rate

7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 118th

Net migration rate

5.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 21st
6.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population. (2009 est.) (Rank 15)

Population growth rate

1.01% (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 107th
1.03% (2017 est.)

Mortality rate

6.68 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.) (Rank 146)

Languages (spoken at home)

English 72.7%, Mandarin 2.5%, Italian 1.2%, Arabic 1.4%, Greek 1.2%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.2%, other 19.8% (2016 est.) [35]

Religions

Protestant 23.1% (Anglican 13.3%, Uniting Church 3.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.3%, Baptist 1.5%, Pentecostal 1.1%, Lutheran .7%, other Protestant .5%), Roman Catholic 22.6%, other Christian 4.2%, Muslim 2.6%, Buddhist 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3% (Eastern Orthodox 2.1%, Oriental Orthodox .2%), Hindu 1.9%, other 1.3%, none 30.1%, unspecified 9.6% (2016 est.)

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 rates 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. [36]

Urbanisation

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

Sex ratio

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)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 51.1
youth dependency ratio: 28.5
elderly dependency ratio: 22.6
potential support ratio: 4.4 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS

Adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2007 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 18,000 (2007 est.)
Deaths: fewer than 200 (2003 est.) [37]

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 20 years
male: 20 years
female: 21 years (2014)

Incarceration and punishment

In June 2018, there was 42,855 adults imprisoned in Australia, which was an incarceration rate of 222 prisoners per 100,000 adult population. [38] , or 172 per 100,000 total population. [39] Additionally, there was 69,397 people in community corrections (various non-custodial punishments such as parole, bail, probation and community service). [40]

In June 2017, there was 964 minors imprisoned in Australia. [41]

Country of birth

In 2016, 28.6% of the Australian resident population, or 6,912,100 people, were born overseas. [42]

The Australian resident population consists of people who were born in the following countries:

Country of birth of Australian residents (2016) Australian Residents by Country of Birth 2016 Census.png
Country of birth of Australian residents (2016)
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) [44]
Place of birthEstimated resident population [upper-alpha 2]
Flag of Australia.svg Australia15,615,531
Flag of England.svg England [upper-alpha 3] 1,002,100
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 568,200
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Mainland China [upper-alpha 4] 557,700
Flag of India.svg India 489,400
Flag of the Philippines.svg Philippines 252,700
Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam 243,200
Flag of Italy.svg Italy 195,800
Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa 180,500
Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia 152,900
Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland [upper-alpha 5] 137,800
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka 124,500
Flag of Germany.svg Germany 116,700
Flag of Greece.svg Greece 113,400
Flag of South Korea.svg South Korea 111,600
Flag of the United States.svg United States 105,700

For more information about immigration see Immigration to Australia.

Ancestry of Australian population

The earliest accepted timeline for the first arrivals of indigenous Australians to the continent of Australia places this human migration to at least 65,000 years ago, [45] most probably from the islands of Indonesia and New Guinea. [7]

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, [8] divided into as many as 500 tribes speaking many different languages.

For generations, the vast majority of both colonial-era settlers and post-Federation immigrants came from the British Isles, although the gold rushes also drew migrants from other countries, notably from China. Since the end of World War II, Australia's population more than doubled, spurred by large-scale European immigration during the immediate post-war decades. At this time, the White Australia policy discouraged non-European immigration.

Abolition of the White Australia Policy in the mid-1970s led to a significant increase in non-European immigration, mostly from Asia.

Until the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles, and a majority of Australians have some British or Irish ancestry. These Australians form an ethnic group known as Anglo-Celtic Australians. In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were: [46]

At the 2016 census, 47.3% of people had both parents born in Australia and 34.4% of people had both parents born overseas. [48]

Religion

Australia was, historically, a majority Protestant nation. [49] [50] This is no longer the case. Australia has become a religiously diverse country with 22% being Catholic, 30% having no religion and there are significant numbers of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others. While Australia has no official religion, the various governments of Australia refer to the Christian God in their ceremonies, as do the various Australian Courts.

In an optional question on the 2016 Census, 52.1% of the Australian population declared some variety of Christianity. Historically the percentage has been far higher and the religious landscape of Australia is changing and diversifying. [51] Also in 2016, 30.1% of Australians stated "no religion" and a further 9.6% chose not to answer the question. [51] The remaining population is a diverse group which includes Muslims (2.6%), Buddhists (2.4%), Hindus (1.9%), Sikhs (0.5%), and Jews (0.4%). [51] [52]

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. [53] 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

Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the de facto national language. [54] Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, [55] and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling. [56] General Australian serves as the standard dialect.

According to the 2016 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 72.7% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are: [57]

A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.

Over 250 Indigenous Australian languages are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact, of which less than 20 are still in daily use by all age groups. [58] [59] About 110 others are spoken exclusively by older people. [59] At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home. [60] Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people. [61]

Literacy

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

Education expenditure

4.9% of GDP (2013)
country comparison to the world: 55

Nationality

Australian nationality law determines who is and who is not an Australian citizen. The status of Australian nationality or Australian citizenship was created by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 (in 1973 renamed the Australian Citizenship Act 1948) which came into force on 26 January 1949. The 1948 Act was amended many times, notably in 1973, 1984, 1986 and 2002. The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 replaced the 1948 Act, commencing on 1 July 2007. Australian citizenship law is administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection which can issue certificates of citizenship on naturalisation or on request provide other proof or evidence of Australian citizenship. Australian passports are issued to Australian citizens by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In Australia, the terms "nationality" and "citizenship" can be used interchangeably, but the term "citizenship" (or citizen) is more commonly used, while "nationality" is more commonly used on official documents and forms. A person may acquire citizenship automatically, "by operation of law", or by application after a period of residence in Australia. The process of acquiring citizenship by application is referred to as "naturalisation".

Historical population

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. [62] Where available, actual population figures from census years are included.

Historic population (estimated)
Pre-1788
YearIndigenous population±%
pre 1788300,000 to 1,000,000    
Source: [63]
Settlement   Federation
YearNon-indigenous population±% p.a.
1788 859    
1798 4,588+18.24%
1808 10,263+8.38%
1818 25,859+9.68%
1828 58,197+8.45%
1838 151,868+10.07%
1848 332,328+8.15%
1858 1,050,828+12.20%
1868 1,539,552+3.89%
1878 2,092,164+3.11%
1888 2,981,677+3.61%
1898 3,664,715+2.08%
Source: [64]
Post-Federation
YearTotal population±%
1901 3,788,123    
1906 4,059,083+7.2%
1911 4,489,545+10.6%
1916 4,943,173+10.1%
1921 5,455,136+10.4%
1926 6,056,360+11.0%
1931 6,526,485+7.8%
1936 6,778,372+3.9%
1941 7,109,898+4.9%
1946 7,465,157+5.0%
1951 8,421,775+12.8%
1956 9,425,563+11.9%
1961 10,548,267+11.9%
1966 11,599,498+10.0%
1971 13,067,265+12.7%
1976 14,033,083+7.4%
1981 14,923,260+6.3%
1986 16,018,350+7.3%
1991 17,284,036+7.9%
1996 18,224,767+5.4%
2001 18,769,249+3.0%
2006 19,855,288+5.8%
2011 21,507,717+8.3%
2016 23,401,892+8.8%
Note: Estimated populations prior to 1961 do not include the Indigenous population.
Source: [65] [66] [67] [68] [69]

See also

General
Cities

Notes

  1. In fertility rates, 2.1 and above is a stable population and have been marked blue, 2 and below leads an aging population and the result is that the population reduces.
  2. Only countries with 50,000 or more are listed here.
  3. The Australian Bureau of Statistics source lists England and Scotland separately although they are both part of the United Kingdom. These should not be combined as they are not combined in the source.
  4. In accordance with the Australian Bureau of Statistics source, this figure does not include Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
  5. The Australian Bureau of Statistics source lists England and Scotland separately although they are both part of the United Kingdom. These should not be combined as they are not combined in the source.

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General references

Further reading