Australia in snapshot
The 2021 Census counted nearly 25.5 million people in Australia, excluding overseas visitors, on Census night – an increase of over two million people or 8.6%, since the 2016 Census. The population who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander increased by 25% from 2016 to 812,000 people in 2021.
- We can see that Australia is a nation with a population that is ageing, and the data suggests that as we age our mental health burdens grow.
> How do we invest to build a nation whose people age with joy, connection and dignity?
- The Australian dream of owning a home continues to put an incredible financial burden on young families.
> How do we tackle housing affordability and keep that dream within reach of all?
- Today, women are carrying greater levels of responsibility for unpaid caring and domestic duties while our gender scorecard goes backwards.
> How do we chase a more equal society for women and girls?
These are just some of the challenges the Census puts to us. We must rise to meet the challenges of our times. We feel positive about the sector stepping up to that challenge because we have more tools to use – like the data in the report and available on the Seer platform. And we have the insight and judgement and sheer hard work of people like the civil society leaders who’ve contributed to this paper.
They give us hope.
Population growth by State 2006 – 2021
Australia’s retirement age population (aged 65+ years) has grown by 65.56% from 2,644,369 in 2006 to 4,378,092 in 2021. Between the 2016 and 2021 Census counts, the retirement age population increased from 15.71% of the total population to 17.22% of the total population in 2021.
Income and gender pay gap
The number of households reporting Total Household Income above $4,000 per week more than doubled (increased 103.35%) from 566,811 households in 2016 to 1,152,627 households in 2021. Men are significantly more represented in all personal weekly income brackets above $1,000 per week. For the highest income bracket of $3,500 or more 73% are men and only 27% are women.
Increasing living costs
The number of mortgages with monthly repayments greater than $5,000 increased 60.92% from 81,947 in 2016 to 131,873 in 2021. In the 12 months since the 2021 Census, all five household types reflected in the ABS Living Cost Indexes have risen by between 4.6% and 5.2%. Age pensioner households had the highest annual increase with the rising cost of Transport the main contributor from Jun Qtr 2021 to Jun Qtr 2022.
- The number of people never married increased 43.66% from 5,278,608 in 2006 to 7,583,392 in 2021.
- The number of people divorced increased 40.17% from 1,306,915 in 2006 to 1,831,952 in 2021.
- The number of people in de facto marriages increased 74.47% from 1,242,792 in 2006 to 2,168,347 in 2021.
- LGBTQI+ communities were not reflected in relationship status despite advocacy and campaigning.
- The number of same-sex couples in Australia increased 67.68% from 46,770 in 2016 to 78,425 in 2021.
Health & Caring
More than 1 in 10 Australians between the age of 15 and 54 reported suffering a long term mental health condition (including depression or anxiety).
More than 1 in 5 females between the age of 15 and 44 report suffering from one or more long-term health conditions.
Around one in eight (12.6%) Baby Boomers are providing care for other peoples’ children, often their grandchildren. Two thirds are female (67.5%). They are also the generation most likely to volunteer and provide unpaid assistance to others.
2021 Generational population composition
Notes on generational population change:
- Gen Alpha has increased from 6.3% of the population in 2016 to 12% of the population in 2021
- Gen Z has increased from 13% of the population in 2006 to 18% of the population in 2021
- Millennials stayed consistently around 21% of the population from 2006 to 2021
- Gen X has decreased from 21% of the population in 2006 to 19% of the population in 2021
- Baby Boomers decreased from 28.6% of the population in 2006 to 21.6% of the population in 2021
- Interwar has decreased from 15% of the population in 2006 to 21.6% of the population in 2021