The typical Australian is a 38 year-old Gen X woman who is married with two children, lives in a mortgaged 3 bedroom home, and was born in Australia with English ancestry. Both her parents were born in Australia, too. She is working full-time and gets to work by car (like 69% of commuters), and her car likely clocks up 14,000kms per year. Not only does she work full-time, she also does between 5 and 14 hours of housework per day.
Sounds like a busy woman. Further analysis of demographic data shows that the typical Australian is living in a capital city (where 3 in 5 of us live), where the median capital city house price is now $825,980. The ‘typical’ Australian is employed full-time (68% of all employees) and probably earning $60,330 per year (average of all employees, before tax). After tax her household’s total disposable annual income is $88,551. Her family has lived in their home for five years. As a household they have $427,847 of equity in the home which is also the bulk of their wealth. They also have $65,880 worth of household goods, furniture, and equipment (excluding cars).
If we get even more prescriptive, her height is likely to be 164cm and weight 68kg.
24 year-old male the typical Aussie of 100 years ago
This is very different from the ‘typical’ Australian a century ago. In 1915, the typical Aussie was more likely to be male and aged just 24 years of age. Back then, Australia’s population was 4.9 million (now we sit at 24.4 million), and the average household size significantly larger (4.5 compared to 2.6 today). Life expectancy for this 24 year-old Aussie bloke was just 62, compared to 82 (for males) today.
Today’s Census release shows a changing Australia
The preliminary results from the 2016 Census released earlier today reveal a changing picture of the typical Australian.
Evidence of an ageing Australia:
The median age of Australians has increased from 37 to 38 (from the 2011 to the 2016 Census). Queensland has shown a strong leap in ageing (from 36 to 38), as has the Northern Territory (from a median age of 31 in 2011 to 34 in 2016). The median age is varied across Australia, with the youngest median age found in the NT (34) while the oldest median age is found in Tasmania (42).
Growth in non-Anglo country of birth among residents born overseas:
Three states (NSW, VIC, and WA) now feature their ‘typical’ resident as a person who has at least one parent born overseas.
In NSW: China is now the top country of birth for residents born overseas, surpassing England since the 2011 Census.
In VIC: The top country for residents born overseas is India, which has surpassed England since the 2011 Census. A decade ago (2006) the top countries of birth for residents born overseas didn’t include India (These were England, Italy, NZ, Vietnam).
Home ownership continues to shift due to housing affordability:
The typical person across all of the states and territories no longer owns a home outright but with a mortgage. Only New South Wales and Tasmania feature the typical person who owns a home outright, and in the Northern Territory, the typical person is renting their home.
Who completed the 2016 Census?
Despite some hiccups in August 2016 on Census Night, an estimated 96% of Australians completed the Census (compared to 97.5% in 2011). This figure is well above the requirement for quality data (93.3%).
Just 11,000 Australians refused to complete the Census (down from 13,000 in 2011), and just two percent of Census forms were missing identifier (name/address) details.
Tasmania and South Australia were the most diligent with completing the Census (highest completions, less than 3% non-completes), and WA and the NT had the lowest completions (more than 4% non-completes).
Why the Census?
The Census is used as the population model for GST distribution to the states, and the setting of electoral boundaries. $500 billion of government investment into communities will be made over the next 5 years based on Census data. It is a key resource for policy makers as well as local government, community groups, and businesses.