Advertisement
The 'typical Australian' has been identified, providing the first glimpse into the data produced by the 2016 Census.
English
By
Jarni Bakkarly, Jackson Gothe-Snape, Virginia Padovese

11 Apr 2017 - 1:33 PM  UPDATED 11 Apr 2017 - 1:33 PM

The 2016 Census has delivered its first insight, revealing what characteristics make up the 'typical Australian'.

According to the ABS, the typical Australian is:

  • 38 years old
  • female
  • born in Australia
  • of English ancestry
  • married
  • living in a couple family with two children in a house with three bedrooms
  • and has two motor vehicles

The description of the 'typical Australian' is based on the most common responses to last year’s Census.

The 2011 Census data showed the 'average Australian' was a 37-year-old woman, living with her husband and two children in a three bedroom house in a suburb of one of Australia's capital cities.

In the 2016 Census the 'typical person' varies from state to state - the average Tasmanian is the oldest at 42 years, while the average person from the Northern Territory is the youngest at 34.

The ‘typical’ home in Tasmania and New South Wales is owned outright, while the ‘typical’ Northern Territory home is rented. In 2006, the ‘typical’ Australian home was owned outright.

The 'typical' migrant was from England, but the 'typical' migrants in each state come from a range of countries -the average in Queensland was born in New Zealand, in Victoria it's India-born, and in New South Wales it's China.

Dr Amanda Elliot, form the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, said she understood why the ABS produced this information, but she argued the 'typical Australian' doesn’t reveal very much about the ordinary Australian experience in everyday life.

"It’s fairly meaningless to ordinary people, and it’s fairly meaningless statistically as well,” she said.

"The idea of what’s typical really masks our rich diversity, it masks the quite extraordinary multiculturalism, it renders all of that invisible."

Michael Turkic and William Uy Vu Le are a couple from Lidcombe, in NSW, and say they share the same pressures and stresses of a 'typical' couple.

“When people ask me what makes us a typical Australian family or couple, we say the same things that make you a typical family - we have got children to look after,” Mr Turkic said.

“We are putting a child through university, we have to worry about the rent, the mortgage the phone bills, the pick-ups and drop offs.

“Regardless of the coupling or sexuality you’re in, they're the things that affect us every day."

Mr Uy Vu Le also has total hearing loss, one of a group that represents just 0.1 per cent of the population.

“For me, to be a typical Australian is to be exposed to a multicultural society from an early age and to be exposed to a diverse range of Australians from a diverse range of backgrounds,” he said.

"It’s not just one type of Australian anymore.”

Blue Mountains resident Julie Brett, one of 1048 followers of Druidism or Druidry at the 2011 Census, said her religion is not mainstream "but it is a spirituality I feel a lot of people would be born to because of the beauty of nature”.

"I think a typical Australian's beliefs are diverse and really difficult to explain in a one question answer,” she said.

The next ABS Census release, due on June 27, will include datasets for small population groups and small geographic areas, such as suburbs.