Census 2016: Meet the ‘typical Australian’

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Her profile says she’s 38, has two children, a high school education and owns her own home.

Her name is ‘Claire’, and she is the ‘typical’ Australian, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which on Tuesday released a series of profiles based on the most common responses to last year’s national census.

It’s the first insight into the controversial 2016 census, which was dogged by a flawed roll-out that spawned the viral hashtag #censusfail.

The ‘typical’ Australian was born in Australia of English ancestry.

A high school graduate, ‘Claire’ is married with two kids and lives with her family in a three-bedroom, two-car home, which is owned with a mortgage. A decade ago, the ‘typical’ Australian owned their home outright.

In 1911, when the first census was taken, the ‘typical’ Aussie was a 24-year-old man.

The ‘typical’ Australian male, meanwhile, is younger at 37. He spends less than five hours on domestic work each week, compared with between five and 14 hours a week for the ‘typical’ woman.

The bureau also released profiles for each state and territory, and defined the ‘typical’ indigenous Australian and person born overseas.

While the ‘typical’ age in most states was 37 or 38, the ordinary Tasmanian was 42, while Northern Territorians and Canberrans were much younger, at 34 and 35 respectively.

The ‘typical’ Aboriginal or Torres Islander, is a woman, but significantly younger at 23 years old.

The Northern Territory was the only place were the ‘typical’ person was unmarried.

Although the most common home has three bedrooms, Western Australians are more likely to enjoy one extra bedroom.

The census also confirmed Australia’s growing cultural diversity, finding that in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, the ‘typical’ Australian had one parent that was born overseas.

The ‘typical migrant’ was a 44-year-old born in England, but in Queensland they were more likely to be from New Zealand, in Victoria from India, and New South Wales migrants were most commonly from China.

Changing demographics

McCrindle Research demographer Eliane Miles said that Australia’s cultural diversity was one of the key takeaways from the data.

That migrants in New South Wales and Victoria were most likely to be from China and India, rather than England, showed “the changing demographic in our cities and our closeness to Asia”, she said.

Miles said the younger ‘typical’ age in the ACT reflected its wealth of young professionals, while the older median age in Tasmania was fuelled by low population growth.

“That means low migration. Migrants tend to have a younger age than the average Australian,” she said.

Last year’s census was dogged by technical issues, including a lengthy online outage, which authorities said cost the government an extra $30 million.

Miles said the full census data, which will be released on June 27, will be vital for policy makers examining areas such as the distribution of the GST receipts.

“It will also be used for planning so that government departments can make decisions about infrastructure, like where hospitals, or roads or schools should be built,” she said.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said the 2016 census had a preliminary response rate of around 96%, which he said was on par with the 2006 census and the 2011 census.

He said more than 58% of Australians completed their census online, an increase of 2.2 million households compared to 2011.

“The census is a large, complex undertaking and every five years it gives us a picture of our great nation and valuable information about our country,” he said.

This article was first published by The New Daily. You can read it here


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