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First Round Release of the 2016 ABS Census: Religious Affiliation and Home Ownership Drop, whilst Immigration from Asia Increases

July 5, 2017

Last week, the ABS launched its first round of releases of the 2016 Census, featuring Community Profile data. Some of the most notable changes from 2011 Census results were seen in religious affiliation, country of birth and home ownership.

The number of residents in Australia grew to 23.4 million in 2016, up from 21.5 million in 2011, whilst the median age increased from 37 years of age to 38. Australia is becoming more multi-cultural with the proportion of residents born in Australia falling 3.1 percentage points to 66.7%. Migration to Australia has grown strongly from China and India, with the proportion of the Australian population born in these countries increasing by 0.7 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively. The proportion of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander grew from 2.5% to 2.8% over the five-year period.


One of the most prominent changes was seen in religion, in which the percent who reported ‘no religion’ increased by 7.8 percentage points to 29.6%, making it the most common response for religious status. This could, in part, be due to the re-ordering of the question which had ‘no religion’ listed first.


High density living is increasing, with the proportion of occupied dwellings which are semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouse, etc increasing 2.8 percentage points to 12.7%, whilst the proportion of separate houses fell by 2.7 percentage points. Home ownership has declined, however, with the percent of residents who own their dwelling outright falling 1.1 percentage points and the percent who owned with a mortgage falling 0.4 percentage points whilst the percent of households renting rose by 1.3 percentage points.


Additional details regarding the first 2016 ABS Census release are available from:

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