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What the 2021 Census reveals about us

More than half of all Australians are first- or second-generation migrants, according to census figures.
The results of the 2021 census, released Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), show that 48.2 percent of Australians have a parent who was born abroad and 27.6 percent are outside Australia. born.
Meanwhile, the number of people using a language other than English at home has risen by nearly 800,000 to more than 5.5 million people.

The ABS said the data showed that Australia is a “rapidly changing, growing and culturally diverse nation”.


The 2021 census counted 25,422,788 people in Australia, not counting foreign visitors, and provides insights into areas such as cultural diversity, families and homes, and how the country changed during the pandemic.

Colorful silhouettes of people standing in front of the map of Australia with number 25, 422, 788 on top.

Source: australiabusinessblog News

This is more than double the number counted 50 years ago, with the 1971 census covering 12,493,001 people.

Rising number of residents born abroad

The Census aims to provide a snapshot of the cultures and languages ​​that make up Australia by providing data on cultural diversity, country of birth, ancestry and languages ​​used at home.

From 2017 to 2021, more than a million people (1,020,07) arrived in Australia, increasing the proportion of first- or second-generation residents to 51.5 percent.


India becomes third largest country of birth

The biggest increase in country of birth for people born outside Australia has been India, which has passed China and New Zealand to become the third largest country of birth, after Australia and England.

An additional 217,963 people born in India were counted in the 2021 Census.

Map of Australia with flags of different countries and arrows pointing to Autsralia

The Census shows that Australia has welcomed more than a million people to Australia since 2017. The largest increase in homeland, outside of Australia, was India. Source: australiabusinessblog News

The second largest increase in homeland was Nepal, with an additional 67,752 people. According to the data, the population of Nepal-born Australian residents has more than doubled since 2016, increasing by 123.7 percent.

When it comes to ancestry, the top five reported followed previous trends, with English, Australian, Irish, Scottish and Chinese the top five most reported.

Long-term health problems admitted for the first time

The Census also collected long-term health information, finding that more than eight million Australians were diagnosed with a chronic condition.
Of the most commonly reported conditions, 2,231,543 people reported having mental illness, 2,150,396 said they had arthritis, and 2,068,020 reported having asthma.

Women were more likely to report a long-term health condition than men.

Colored silhouettes of people over the map of Australia with numbers of people with mental illness, arthritis and asthma.

For the first time, the 2021 census includes information on the number of people with long-term health problems. Source: australiabusinessblog News

dr. Australian statistician David Gruen AO said the information would help provide a more detailed picture of Australians’ health.

“For the first time, we have data on long-term health problems for the entire population,” he said.

“This is critical data to help make planning and service decisions about how treatment and care is provided to all Australians.”

Population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander is increasing

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is growing, with a 25 percent increase since 2016.
The census found 812,728 people (3.2 percent of the population) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

That’s more than 649,200 (2.8 percent of the population) in 2016.


The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 65 and over rose to more than 47,677 in 2021, up from 31,000 in 2016 and 21,000 in 2011.
Traditional languages ​​also remain an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, with 167 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages ​​spoken at home among 78,656 people in 2021.

The most reported language groups spoken were the languages ​​of Arnhem Land and Daly River Region, Torres Strait Island Languages, Western Desert Languages, Yolngu Matha and Arandic.

Christianity remains most popular religion despite 8% decline

Christianity remains the most common religion in Australia with 43.9 percent of people identifying as Christian.
This has decreased from 52.1 percent in 2016 and from 61.1 percent in 2011.

While fewer people report their religion as Christian, more people report ‘no religion’, with 38.9 percent of the Australian population reporting no religion in the 2021 census, up from 30.1 percent in 2016 and 22.3. percent in 2011.


Hinduism has grown to 2.7 percent of the population and Islam has grown to 3.2 percent of the Australian population.
“The religion issue has a special place in the Census – it’s one of the few topics covered in each of Australia’s 18 Censuses and it’s the only question that’s voluntary,” said Dr. grub.

“Census religion data reveals a feature of Australia that has changed significantly over the past two decades.”

Bar chart showing numbers of Christians and non-religious in 2016 and 2021

Source: australiabusinessblog News

Language diversity continues to grow

The number of people using a language other than English at home increased by nearly 800,000 in 2016 to more than 5.5 million people (5,663,709).
About 850,000 of this group indicated that they did not speak English or did not speak it well.

Mandarin remains the most common language, except for English used at home, followed by Arabic.


Punjabi had the largest increase, with more than 239,000 people using Punjabi at home, an increase of more than 80 percent from 2016.

Census data collected information on more than 250 ancestors and 350 languages, said Dr. grub.

Decline in new migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic

While Australia has welcomed more than a million new migrants (1,020,07) since 2017, most of them arrived before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Census data for the year of arrival in Australia show that more than 850,000 people arrived in the three-year period between 2017 and 2019.

In contrast, during the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years, arrivals fell to 165,000 people.


The Changing Face of Australian Families

For the first time, the Census recorded more than one million single-parent families (1,068,268), of which four in five of those parents were women.

The 2021 census counted more than 5.5 million families, of which 53 percent have children living with them and 47 percent do not.


In 2016, the Census saw an increase from nearly 140,000 over-55s caring for other people’s children to more than 825,000. In 2021, however, that figure fell by 50,000 to below 775,000.

Millennials overtake Boomers as largest generation group

By a very small margin, numbers of millennials (aged 25-39) have overtaken the baby boomers (aged 55-74) as the largest generational group in Australia.
Baby boomers and millennials each have more than 5.4 million people, with only 5,662 more baby boomers than millennials counted as of August 10, 2021, the census night.
Over the past ten years, the number of millennials has increased from 20.4 percent of the population in 2011 to 21.5 percent in 2021. At the same time, the number of baby boomers has decreased from 25.4 percent in 2011 to 21.5 percent in 2021.

In the 1966 census, nearly two in five people (38.5 percent) were baby boomers.

More people at home on census evening

The 2021 census counted two million more people (2,178,094) at home on the night of the census than in 2016.

With COVID-19 restrictions across the country on census night, 96 percent of people counted were at home rather than traveling.


This means that more families and households were together in the data collected, providing a unique picture of Australian homes and families.

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions and limits on travel abroad can also be seen, with a drop of more than 80 percent in the number of foreign visitors counted in the Census, from 315,531 in 2016 to 61,860 in 2021.

Response rate and fines

The 2021 census included data from 10,852,208 homes during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The response rate for housing was 96.1 percent, compared to 95.1 percent in 2016.

Census form and beautiful documents with superimposed figures.

The 2021 census included data from 10,852,208 homes and 16 cases were referred to the CDPP. Source: australiabusinessblog News

The census is mandatory, and under the Census and Statistics Act, if someone refuses to participate in the Census, the Australian statistician may direct him or her to complete a form by formal written notice.

If someone continues to refuse after being led by the Australian statistician, they could be prosecuted and fined up to $222 a day and face a criminal conviction.

As of the 2021 census, 16 cases have been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration as people failed to comply with a Notice of Direction.


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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