Snapshot of Australia: Latest batch of Census data revealed

The latest Census results have revealed most Australians live in the city, identify less with religion and are more culturally diverse than ever before.

The latest batch of information from last year’s Census, undertaken less than 10 months ago by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealed two thirds of the population live in Australia’s capital cities.

It also shows a fascinating cross section of people and our cultures are in our capital cities, which are getting bigger, more diverse and growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the country.


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Within capital city areas, there was a 10.5 per cent growth in population since 2011, nearly double the rate found in other areas (5.7 per cent). In fact, more than 15 million people (67 per cent) are now living in a capital city.

The crown jewel of New South Wales, Greater Sydney, remains Australia’s largest population centre, with 4,823,991 usual residents on Census night – a 9.8 per cent increase since 2011.

Either from interstate or overseas, 1,656 people made the move to Sydney every week since the last Census in 2011.

Greater Melbourne is catching up fast, with 4,485,211 usual residents of Victoria’s capital on Census night, a 12.1 per cent increase from 2011. That’s the equivalent of 1,859 new residents a week in Greater Melbourne since the 2011 Census.

Meanwhile, Greater Brisbane’s count of 2,270,800 people means that almost half of all Queensland residents live in the Sunshine State’s capital.

Greater Perth can lay claim to being home to the fastest growing region in Australia, where Serpentine – Jarrahdale saw a population increase from 18,000 people in 2011 to 27,000 people in 2016, a jump of more than 50 per cent (51 per cent).

On the Apple Isle, Greater Hobart recorded the highest median age of any capital city, with a median age of 40, while Greater Darwin had the youngest median age at 33. Hobart can boast the country’s lowest housing costs – a median monthly mortgage payment of $1,402, and a median weekly rent of $260.

Darwin recorded Australia’s highest median weekly income at $1,052. Darwin is also home to the country’s joint-highest median monthly mortgage payments, $2,200 a week, a title they share with Sydney. Unsurprisingly, Sydneysiders pay the highest median weekly rent in Australia at $440 per week.

At the opposite end of the scale, Greater Adelaide recorded Australia’s lowest median weekly personal income at $617.

Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch said Census data is high quality, thanks to the participation of Australians.

“2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years,” he said.

It also revealed more than a third of migrants from New Zealand settle in Queensland.

On the Gold Coast, Ormeau-Oxenford was the fastest growing region outside of the State’s capital, with its population increasing to 121,000 people, up from 94,000 people in 2011.

People are flocking to the sand and surf, with high growth rates since 2011 in the coastal regions of Buderim (19.1 per cent), Surfers Paradise (15.6 per cent), and Caloundra (15.6 per cent).

The Gold Coast recorded a 12.4 per cent increase in the population since 2011 to 555,721 people.

Data also revealed Australians haven’t done too badly in the past five years when it comes to wages growth.

The median weekly income is $662, up from $577 in 2011 and a near 15 per cent increase compared with a rise of around 10 per cent in the consumer price index.

Weekly wage growth among households was even greater, rising to $1438, a 16.5 per cent increase since 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of people paying off a mortgage has actually grown in the past 25 years but fewer people own their homes outright.

31 per cent of people paid off their mortgage – down from 32.1 per cent in 2011 and 40 per cent in 1991 – while those paying off a mortgage held steady at around 35 per cent over recent surveys, but up from 27 per cent a quarter of a century ago.

However, there has been a shift towards renting, with nearly 31 per cent now paying a landlord, up from just under 30 per cent five years ago and 27 per cent in 1991.