The average Australian

  • Median age of Australians was 37 years in 2006, compared to 34 years in 1996.
  • Females outnumbered males in 2006 – for every 100 females there were 97 males.
  • Average age for men was slightly younger (36) than the average female (37).
  • Of people attending TAFE institutions and university, 52% and 57% respectively were women.
  • Men have a higher median income ($600–$799), while the median income of women is lower ($250–$399).
  • In 2006, there were six unpartnered men who had never been married for every five unpartnered women never married.
  • Just over 85% of couples were in registered marriages, and 15% of couples were in defacto relationships.
  • Reflecting the persistence of traditional gender roles in 2006 Australian society, the average Australian woman (aged 15 years and over) spent more time doing domestic work (a median of 5–14 hours) than an average man (less than 5 hours, but more than none).
  • Young men were more likely to live at home with their parents than young women of the same age. Almost 62% of 15–24 year old men lived with their parents, compared to 55% of young women.
  • Just over 39% of males and almost 29% of females aged 15–19 years did no housework in the week prior to the Census.
  • A smaller number of Australian homes were fully-owned in 2006 (2,478,267) than in 1996 (2,657,971). Over this time the proportion of dwellings that were fully-owned also decreased from 41% to 33%, and the proportion that were being purchased increased from 26% to 32%. These changes in home ownership have occurred mostly since 2001.
  • The two largest overseas-born groups have continued to be those born in England (19% of all overseas-born) and New Zealand (9%). China overtook Italy as the third largest birthplace group.
  • Among the smallest ancestry groups recorded in the Census were Hmong (2189 people), Manx (1853), Tatar (299), Mayan (127), and Masai (32).
  • Sixty two per cent of all unpaid carers in Australia were women. Women of every age were more likely to provide unpaid care than men of the same age, except those aged 75 years and over.


  • Christianity remained the dominant religion in Australia, although non-Christian religions continued to grow at a much faster rate.
  • Australia’s three most common non-Christian religious affiliations were Buddhism (2.1% of the population), Islam (1.7%) and Hinduism (0.7%). Of these groups, Hinduism experienced the fastest proportional growth since 1996, more than doubling to 150,000, followed by Buddhism which doubled to 420,000.
  • Since 1996, the number of Australian residents who stated no religion increased from 2.9 million to 3.7 million (17% of all residents in 1996 and 19% in 2006).

Indigenous Australia

  • People identifying as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origins increased from 352,970 (2.0% of the population) to 455,026 (2.3%) from 1996 to 2006.
  • The Indigenous population is relatively young, with a median age of 20 years compared with 37 years for the non-Indigenous population. Older Indigenous people (those aged 65 years or more) comprised just 3% of the Indigenous population compared with 13% of the non-Indigenous population.
  • The number of Indigenous people who indicated they were attending TAFE or university increased from 14,180 in 1996 to 17,443 in 2006, an increase of 21%.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken in the home by 46,959 or 12% of Indigenous Australians (aged 5 years and over), of whom the majority (78%) were also proficient English speakers. The top five Indigenous languages spoken at home were Torres Strait Creole (5769 speakers), Arrernte (2797), Djambarrpuyngu (2730), Pitjantjatjara (2592) and Warlpiri (2469).

In preparing the 2006 Census:

  • More than 20,000 km of paper Census form pages were processed, more than enough to stretch the full length of Australia’s mainland coastal highway, Highway 1. Alternatively, the pages processed would stretch from Melbourne to New York with enough kilometres spare to cover the full stretch of Route 66.

For full Census results click here.

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Peter Fray
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