2011 Census release

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2011 Census release

Posted 22/06/2012 by Joanne Simon-Davies

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the first data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Australia’s population has risen to over 21.5 million, with more people born overseas. There has also been an increase in the proportion of Australians identifying as Indigenous, and fewer people now identify a religious affiliation.

Australia’s migrant population is growing and changing

In the decade to 2011, the proportion of the population who were born overseas increased from 27.4% to 30.2%.

Over the same period, the proportion of Australians with at least one parent born overseas increased from 42.7% to 46.3%

There was a shift away from Europe and towards Asia.
  • The number born in India more than trebled, from 95 452 in 2001 to 295 362 in 2011.
  • The number born in China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) more than doubled from 142 780 to 318 969.
The top five countries for overseas born are now:
  • UK 20.8% of the overseas born (down from 25.2% in 2001)
  • New Zealand 9.1% of overseas born (up slightly from 8.7% 2001)
  • China 6.0% of overseas born (up from 3.5% in 2001)
  • India 5.6% of overseas born (up from 2.3% in 2001)
  • Italy 3.5% of overseas born (down from 5.3% in 2001)

Our religious base becomes less Christian and more diverse

Between 2001 and 2011, the proportion of the Australian population citing Christian as its religious affiliation fell from 68.0% to 61.1%. At the same time the major non-Christian religions of Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam increased their share of the population from 4.4% to 6.4%. The two largest non-Christian religious groups are Buddhism, 2.5% of the population and Islam, 2.2% of the population.

Then there are those Australians who have no religion. The proportion of Australians falling into this group was 22.3% in 2011, up from 15.5% in 2001. It is now the second biggest group after Catholic (25.3% of the population) and larger than Anglican (17.1%).

Snapshot for selected electorates

Census data is available for a range of geographic areas, including electoral divisions The following summary describes how Australia has changed since the last census in 2006, and compares Australia in 2011 with two electorates—Sydney and Durack in regional Western Australia.

The median age of people in Australia was 37 years (the same as in 2006).

  • For Sydney, the median age was 33 years
  • For Durack, the median age was 34 years
Children aged 0—14 years made up 19.3% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 14.0% of the population.
  • For Sydney, the proportions were 9.1% and 7.9% respectively
  • For Durack, the proportions were 21.3% and 7.8% respectively
The Indigenous population represented 2.5% of the total population in 2011, up from 2.3% in 2006.
  • For Sydney, Indigenous representation was 1.3%
  • For Durack, indigenous representation was 16.3%
Of those people aged 15 years and over, 49.2% of people were in a registered marriage (down from 50.4% in 2006) and 9.5% were in a de facto marriage (up from 8.8% in 2006). 
  • For Sydney, 28.6% were in a registered marriage and 17.9% were in a de facto marriage
  • For the electorate of Durack, 45.0% were in a registered marriage and 16.8% were in a de facto marriage
Median total personal income has increased from $466 in 2006 to $577 per week in 2011. 
  • For Sydney, median total personal income was $888 in 2011
  • For Durack, median total personal income was $818 in 2011
Median total household income has increased from $1025 in 2006 to $1234 per week in 2011. 
  • For Sydney, median total household income was $1738 in 2011
  • For Durack, median total household income was $1476 in 2011
Average household size in Australia has remained the same at 2.6. 
  • For Sydney, average household size was 2.1
  • For Durack, average household size was 2.7
Of the families in Australia, 44.6% were couple families with children (45.3% in 2006), 37.8% were couple families without children, and 15.9% were one parent families. 
  • Of the families in the electorate of Sydney, 26.9% were couple families with children, 56.9% were couple families without children, and 11.5% were one parent families
  • Of the families in the electorate of Durack, 44.1% were couple families with children, 39.5% were couple families without children, and 15.0% were one parent families  
Of those who were attending primary or secondary schools, 63.3% attended government schools (down from 65.3% in 2006) compared to 36.7% who attended Catholic and other non-government schools (34.7% in 2006).  
  • In Sydney, 56.1% were attending government schools compared to 43.9% attending Catholic and other non-government schools
  • In Durack, 71.2% were attending government schools compared to 28.8% attending Catholic and other non-government schools
For further information on obtaining data from the 2011 Census, Senators and Members can contact Statistics and Mapping team in the Parliamentary Library.


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