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Census reveals changing shape of Australia

Julie Cross, June 28, 2022 7:00PM Kids News

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Among other insights, the 2021 Census shows that the number of Millennials (those aged 25 to 39) has increased to match the number of Baby Boomers (those aged 55 to 74), with 5.4 million in each age group. Picture: file image media_cameraAmong other insights, the 2021 Census shows that the number of Millennials (those aged 25 to 39) has increased to match the number of Baby Boomers (those aged 55 to 74), with 5.4 million in each age group. Picture: file image

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Australia’s population is growing fast, is more diverse* and less religious.

One in 10 of us now lives in a unit.

And for the first time, there are more than one million single-parent families.

Data from the 2021 Census released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday reveals a fascinating ­insight into the rapidly changing face of Australia, the make-up of families and the way we live.

Waving Australia flag in the air media_camera2021 Census released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday reveals a fascinating ­insight into the rapidly changing face of Australia, the make-up of families and the way we live. Picture: file image

It shows the population has more than doubled since 1971, with almost 25.5 million people (25,422,788) counted on August 10 last year, ­excluding overseas visitors.

The number of Millennials (those aged 25 to 39) has also increased to match the number of Baby Boomers (those aged 55 to 74) with 5.4 million in each age group.

“Every stat tells a story and today we are sharing a glimpse into the stories of almost 25.5 million Australians,” said the bureau’s chief statistician*, Dr David Gruen AO.

“This accurate and valuable data reveals who we are as a nation and how we have changed.”

Senate Estimates media_cameraAustralian Bureau of Statistics chief statistician, Dr David Gruen, said that every stat tells a story. Picture: Gary Ramage

IMMIGRATION

The findings reveal more than a million new residents arrived in the country from 2017 to 2021.

With these new arrivals, the proportion of Australian residents that are born overseas or have parents born overseas is now more than half (51.5 per cent).

The biggest increase in country of birth, outside Australia, is India with 217,963 additional people counted, overtaking China and New Zealand to become the third-biggest country of birth behind Australia and England.

media_cameraSushil and Neha Teli with their kids Parva and Niti at their citizenship ceremony last year. India has become the third-biggest country of birth for Australians behind Australia and England. Picture: file image

LANGUAGE

With the increase in people born overseas, the number who use a language other than English at home also ­increased to more than 5.5 million people, with 852,706 of this group unable to speak ­English well or at all.

Mandarin* continues to be the most common language other than English used at home, followed by Arabic*.

Education activities in classroom, Muslim teacher showing Koran to kid media_cameraAfter English and Mandarin, Arabic is the third most common language spoken at home, according to the 2021 Census. Picture: file image

RELIGION

The number of people identifying as Christian continues to fall, down to 43.9 per cent from 52.1 per cent in 2016 and more than 60 per cent in 2011.

Almost 40 per cent classed themselves as having “no religion”.

Hinduism* has grown by 55.3 per cent to 684,002 people, or 2.7 per cent of the population, while Islam* has grown to 813,392 people, or 3.2 per cent of the population.

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has increased by a quarter since 2016, to more than 800,000, making up 3.2 per cent of the total counted.

media_cameraHinduism has grown by 55.3 per cent. Pictured is an artisan applying final touches to a statue of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha. Picture: Narinder Nanu/AFP

FAMILY

The changing profile of families was also recorded, with almost 16 per cent being one-parent families, and four out of five of those parents being female.

About 46.5 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 are married, and almost 24,000 are in same-sex marriages. More than 1.8 million people are divorced and more than 670,000 are separated.

Covid-19 might also have changed the way children are being cared for, with the number of people over 55 looking after other people’s children, probably grandchildren, dropping by 50,000 since 2016 to less than 775,000.

QLD_CM_REALESTATE_FIRSTHOMEBUYERHOTSPOTS_BRISBANE_30APR22 media_cameraBriana Morris and her daughter, Scarlett Pearce, are among Australia’s almost 16 per cent of one-parent families, with four out of five of those parents being female. Picture: Nigel Hallett

HEALTH

When it comes to the ­nation’s health, the Census found that almost 4.8 million Aussies have long-term health conditions, with asthma* and mental illness the top two for males and arthritis* and mental illness the most common for females. Asthma was the most common health condition for children under 14.

“For the first time, we have data on long-term health conditions across the whole population,” Dr Gruen said.

“This is critical data to ­inform planning and service delivery decisions about how treatment and care is provided for all Australians”.

New Housing Estate In Australia Growing City Melbourne media_cameraAustralian homes are changing too. According to the 2021 Census, out of almost 11 million private dwellings counted in 2021, 70 per cent are separate houses. Picture: file image

HOUSING

The types of homes we are living in has also changed. Out of almost 11 million private dwellings counted in 2021 – an increase of almost a million since 2016 – 70 per cent are separate houses, 16 per cent are units and 13 per cent townhouses. More than half a million people live in high-rise apartments, while more than 2.5 million live in units.

The Census also found more than 58,000 were living in caravans and 29,000 in cabins and houseboats.

We are also a nation of drivers, with 91.3 per cent of households having at least one vehicle and more than half of households having two.

GLOSSARY

  • diverse: including many different types of people and things
  • statistician: someone whose job is to produce and study statistics
  • Mandarin: the standard literary and official form of Chinese language
  • Arabic: the language spoken in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Hinduism: an Indian religion with many gods and a belief in reincarnation
  • Islam: the Muslim religious faith, with Allah as the sole deity and Muhammad as his prophet
  • asthma: a lifelong condition affecting the airways in the lungs
  • arthritis: condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint or joints

EXTRA READING

What is the Census all about?

Migrant population shrinks for first time in decades

Resilient middle child disappearing from families

QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many additional people indicated India as their country of birth?
  2. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, how many do not speak English well or at all?
  3. Of one-parent families, what proportion of parents is female?
  4. How many Australians have long-term health conditions?
  5. How many people live in units?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Interesting facts
The Census data involves lots of interesting facts about how we as Australians live and how our population is made up.

Choose three facts that you find the most surprising or interesting and write why you find it interesting in a couple of sentences.

CENSUS FACT:

WHY YOU FIND IT INTERESTING:

1.

2.

3.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Mathematics; Personal and Social; Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
If the population has more than doubled since 1971 to what it is now at 25,422,788, what was it back in 1971?

Do you think we have enough space and facilities for our population to continue to increase? Explain your answer.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: Mathematics

VCOP ACTIVITY
This is me!
Australia is changing. Where we live, what we live in, and who we live with, is not what it used to be.

Share a few facts about where your family fits in this new Australia.

Answer the where, what, and who questions above with the heading “This is me!”

Try to give full and extended sentence responses, not just one or two words and not a fragment sentence, where the reader might not know what exactly you are talking about e.g. “In a house” is a fragment sentence.

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