In this article, we provide you with some information on the demography of Australia. Demography is the science of populations, and studies areas such as births, deaths, migration, income and ageing. This allows us to understand the dynamics of the population that is being studied (in other words, how the population changes over time). Now that we have explained exactly what demography is, let’s have a brief look at the Australian demographics.
When people think of Australian demographics, one of the first things they think about is population size. As of 2 May 2018, Australia had an estimated population of 24,921,737 people. Approximately 50% of the population lives in the three major Australian cities (approximately 5,000,000 people living in each of Sydney and Melbourne, and a further 2,500,000 living in Brisbane). A staggering 80% (approximately) of the entire population lives on the eastern coast of Australia.
As Australia has a very large area of 7.692 million km² (making it the sixth largest country in the world), and a relatively low population, the population density of Australia is a very low 3.2 persons per square kilometre. This makes Australia the third least densely populated country in the world.
According to ABS projections, the Australian population is increasing by one person every 1 minute and 24 seconds. This projection is based on the following assumptions: one birth every 1 minute and 43 seconds,
- one death every 3 minutes and 16 seconds,
- one person arriving to live in Australia every 1 minute and 1 seconds,
- one Australian resident leaving Australia to live overseas every 1 minute and 49 seconds,
- an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 24 seconds.
People think about population size when they're wondering about Australian demographics. They also think about life expectancy.
According to the United Nations, Australia has the third highest life expectancy in the world, with only Japan and Switzerland having higher life expectancies. The WHO puts Australia at number four in the world, after Japan, Switzerland and Singapore.
As of 2015, the life expectancy at birth in Australia was 82.5 years (for males and females combined), compared to a world average of 70.8 years during 2010-2015, and compared to an Australian average of 49 years during 1881-1890. As shown, not only does Australia enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world, but life expectancy in Australia itself has improved a great deal during the last 100 years.
As with most developed countries, Australia is experiencing an ageing population due to low fertility rates and rising life expectancies. The proportion of people aged 65 years and older has been steadily increasing over the last 100 years.
The ageing of Australia’s population is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. For example, in 2016, 15% of the Australian Population was aged over 65 years, and this is expected to increase to 22% of the Australian population over the next forty years.
According to the Constitution, Australia doesn’t have an official language. However, English has always been the most widely spoken language and is therefore commonly regarded as the National Language. Approximately 70% of the population speak only English at home.
Australian English, commonly referred to as Strine or Australian Slang, definitely takes some getting used to for non-native speakers. If you would like to become more comfortable with Australian English, we have prepared numerous resources to help you out. These resources include a comprehensive slang guide, our famous slang dictionary, and a fun slang quiz.
Urbanisation may not be the first thing you think of when wondering about Australian demographics, however, it is interesting to note that Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised countries. In fact, an incredible 90% of the Australian population lives in cities (compared to 82% in the USA and 58% in China).
The upwards trend in the urbanisation of Australia does not appear to be slowing, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane accounting for more than 70% of Australia’s population growth in 2016-17 (ABS).
Australia has an increasing and ageing population with most people living in the major east coast cities. We’re sure you’ve learned something new about Australian demographics - we certainly have - and we hope you enjoyed our brief summary of Australia’s changing population.