The results are in: using data from the 2011 national census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has attempted to paint a picture of the "average Australian".
"The Census shows that if there was an average Australian, they would be a married woman, living with her husband and two children in a three-bedroom house in a suburb of one of Australia's capital cities," said Jane Griffin-Warwicke, director of Social and Progress Reporting at the ABS.
"They have lived in that house for at least five years, and have a mortgage where they pay $1800 a month.
"The average Australia was also born in Australia, as were both of her parents."
However, as the ABS website states, “While many people will share a number of characteristics in common with this ‘average’ Australian, out of the nearly 22 million people counted in Australia on Census Night, 9 August 2011, no single person met all these criteria.”
A breakdown of the elusive ‘average’ Aussie in 2011:
• She is female, like just over half of the population. There have been slightly more women than men here since 1979; the ratio has been pretty constant at around 99 men for every 100 women for several years.
• The average Aussie is 37 years old.
• The average citizen was born in Australia. In fact, 74 per cent of the population was born in Australia, and more than 54 per cent had both their parents born here, too.
• She only speaks English at home, compared to the one in five who speak another language. The most common languages other than English are Mandarin (1.6 per cent), Italian (1.5 per cent), Arabic (1.4 per cent), Cantonese (1.3 per cent), Greek (1.2 per cent) and Vietnamese (1.1 per cent).
• She identifies with a Christian religion, most probably Catholic. This has changed a lot over the past 100 years – in 1911, 96 per cent of people considered themselves Christian, but that number has now fallen to 61 per cent.
• Both the average man and woman are in paid employment. Across the sexes, the most common occupation is sales assistant, reflecting the number of casual or part-time staff in the workforce. Other common occupations for men were truck driver, electrician, and retail manager; for women, the list included general clerk, primary school teacher, and office manager.
• Of those who worked in the week before Census night, men worked an average of 41 hours, compared with 32 hours for women. But this was switched when it came to domestic work; the average woman did five hours or more of housework a week, while the average man did less than five hours.
• She travels by car to work, usually as the driver – and the average family now has two or more cars.
• Like just over half of the adult population (54 per cent), she is married.
• The average woman lives in a home with her husband, son and daughter – and the children’s median ages are nine and six. It's most common for families to have two children; in those, 52 per cent have a girl and a boy, 25 per cent have two boys, and 23 per cent have two girls. (While the number of same-sex couples continues to increase, they still only make up less than 1 per cent of all couples who live together.)
• The average family lives in a suburb of a state or territory capital, in a free-standing, three-bedroom home.
• The average family is paying $1800 a month to pay off their mortgage (35 per cent). Just over a third of families (33 per cent) own their homes outright, and 29 per cent are renting.
See more details of the average Australian at the ABS website.
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