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The average Aussie

The average AustralianAustralian 2011 census data has just been released and it’s painting an interesting picture of the average Aussie stereotype you may be used to: a cork hat wearing, crikey-exclaiming, tanned bloke? Not any more. Read on to discover what the average Australian looks like in the 21st century.

Overview

The Australian census data revealed that Australians:

  • Come from more than 200 countries
  • Speak over 300 languages at home
  • Belong to more than 100 different religious groups
  • Work in more than 1,000 different occupations

Man or woman?

The average Australian is a woman. In 2011, just over half of Australia’s population was female. In fact, since 1979, women have slightly outnumbered men.

How old?

In 2011, the average Australian was 37 years old.

Where were they born?

In 2011, only 3% of Australians reported they were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Although Australia’s known for its long history of immigration, the average Australian was born in Australia – and so were both their parents:

  • 74% of people were born in Australia
  • 54% had both parents born in Australia

The largest group of people born overseas continues to be those born in the United Kingdom – they make up 5% of Australia’s population and 21% of all overseas born people living in Australia.

However, amongst recent arrivals (so people that arrived in Australia after 2006), the top position is held by India. UK-born people made up 12% of recent arrivals, and India-born people 13%.

What is their ethnic background?

Australians come from a large number of different cultural and ethnic grounds. Most commonly reported ancestry:

  • English (36%)
  • Australian (35%)
  • Irish (10%)
  • Scottish (9%)

Nearly three-quarters of Australians had at least one of these ancestries.

What language do they speak?

The average Aussie only speaks English at home – 81% of the population reported only speaking English at home. But nearly one in five people spoke a language other than English at home.

The most common languages spoken, apart from English:

  • Mandarin (1.6%)
  • Italian (1.5%)
  • Arabic (1.4%)
  • Cantonese (1.3%)
  • Greek (1.2%)
  • Vietnamese (1.1%)

Where/how do they work?

According to the 2011 census, 67% of men and 56% of women were employed.

For both men and women the most common occupation in Australia was sales assistant.

Other common occupations for men:

  • Truck driver
  • Electrician
  • Retail manager

Other common occupations for women:

  • General clerk
  • Primary school teacher
  • Office manager

Men work an average of 41 hours, compared with 32 hours for women.

Where do they live?

The average Aussie lives in one of the state or territory capitals.

60% of people lived in a capital city, with 35% living in either Sydney or Melbourne.

Capitals and other major cities accounted for over two-thirds of Australia’s population in 2011 – 69%.

The average Australian lives in a free-standing, three-bedroom house.

In summary: profile of the average Australian

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

“According to the 2011 Census, the average Australian is a 37 year old woman, born in Australia and with both of her parents also born in Australia. She has English, Australian, Irish, or Scottish ancestry. She speaks only English at home and belongs to a Christian religion, most likely Catholic.

She is married, and lives with her husband and two children (a boy and a girl aged nine and six) in a separate house with three bedrooms and two cars in a suburb of one of Australia’s capital cities. They have lived in that house for at least five years, and have a mortgage where they pay $1800 a month.

She has a Certificate in Business and Management, and drives to her job as a sales assistant, where she works 32 hours a week. She also does unpaid work around the house for five or more hours a week.

While many people will share a number of characteristics in common with this ‘average’ Australian, out of the nearly 22 million people counted in Australia on Census Night, 9 August 2011, no single person met all these criteria.

While the description of the average Australian may sound quite typical, the fact that no-one meets all these criteria shows that the notion of the ‘average’ masks considerable (and growing) diversity in Australia.”

Keen to read more?

See the full report of Australian social trends.

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