Australia’s demographic statistics

On 19 December 2016  the resident population of Australia is projected to be: 24,302,302

This projection is based on the estimated resident population at 30 June 2016 and assumes growth since then of:
one birth every 1 minute and 40 seconds,
one death every 3 minutes and 17 seconds,
a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 25 seconds, leading to
an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 24 seconds.

  • According to the estimated population by the ABS (2015), children aged 0-14 years make up 19% of the population while people aged 65 years and older account for 15% of the population. That is, two-thirds of the population are 15-64 years old (66%) – the group that is traditionally treated as being of “working age”.
  • Australia’s population is culturally and ethnically diverse.
    • According to the 2011 Census data, about one-quarter of the population was born overseas and many residents who were born in Australia have a parent who was born in another country.
    • Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders represent 2.5% of the population.

  • The 2011 Census data revealed that there were about 8.18 million households and 5.68 million families.
    • Around one in four households is occupied by one person. For statistical purposes, the ABS defines families as: Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. That is, members of families who live in different households are not treated as part of the same family unit.
  • Around one-half of the population aged 15 years and older is married.
    • The median age at first marriage is 29.9 years for men and 28.3 years for women in 2013.
    • Over the last decade, between 11 to 14 couples in every 1000 marriages are granted a divorce each year.
    • Women who become mothers do so typically at age 25 to 34 years. In 2012, the median age of women who gave birth to their first child was 29 years.
  • couple families with children will decrease from 44.1% in 2011 to 40.2% in 2036
  • couple families without children will increase from 37.9 in 2011 to 41.1% in 2036
  • couple families without children will outnumber couple families with children by 2030.

The choice of celebrant for marriage ceremonies changed significantly over the last century:

  • in 1902, almost all marriages were performed by ministers of religion (96.2%)
  • in 1999, more marriages were conducted by civil servants than ministers of religion (51.3% compared to 48.7%)
  • in 2013, 72.5% of all marriage were conducted by civil servants, compared to 27.4% by ministers of religion.

It is important to distinguish between day-time only contact and overnight stays because the latter provides greater opportunities for family activities to occur, which encourages emotional bonds to develop between children and their non-resident parents. According to the Family Characteristics Survey (ABS 2012-13):

  • 51% of children did not spend a single night at their non-resident parent
  • 16% of children spent 1-35 nights with their non-resident parent
  • 11% of children spent at least 110 nights with their non-resident parent.

Some basic facts about Australian families

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