aus population
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  • Nearly two-thirds of all households are homeowners according to 2021 Census
  • Our national population has more than doubled in 50 years
  • More than half of all residents now born overseas or at least one parent who was

Once every five years, Australia’s national census provides a snapshot of our nation.

This time it was conducted during a pandemic and moved to an online format, but even such a massive global disruption didn’t sway our love of home ownership.

Results from the 2021 Census show that nearly two-thirds of all households were homeowners, with one million more dwellings being counted in the national survey than five years before.

Across Australia, about 11 million private dwellings were counted, with houses comprising 70 per cent of the stock, apartments 16 per cent, and townhouses 13 per cent.

As our population has increased, especially in capital cities like Brisbane, we have seen a rise in the volume of apartments over the past decade.

According to the latest census, the proportion of apartments accounts for nearly one-third (30.9 per cent) of the increase in private dwellings nationally since 2016.

The 2021 Census separately identified high rises (nine or more storeys) for the first time and found that over half a million people (550,592) live in Australia’s 370,000 (368,943) high-rise apartments. So over 2.5 million people (2,620,903) or 10.3 per cent of us now live in apartments, too.

While the census won’t have incorporated the record number of new homeowners over the past year, it showed that about two-thirds of households owned their homes either outright or with a mortgage, which has been the same proportion for almost 25 years.

It’s also not a big surprise that more people own a property with a mortgage than during that time, though – up from 26 per cent in 1996 to 35 per cent in 2021 – because of the big influx of overseas migrants into our country over the past quarter of a century.

Cultural diversity

Indeed, the latest national census results revealed that our country is a fast-changing, growing, and culturally diverse nation.

The 2021 Census counted nearly 25.5 million people in Australia, excluding overseas visitors, on Census night, a staggering increase of more than two million people, or 8.6 per cent, since the 2016 Census.

The census population count has more than doubled in the past 50 years, with the 1971 survey counting over 12 million people versus 25.5 million in 2021.

Our overseas solid migration program is the predominant reason for our strong population growth. Plus, it is making our nation a much more culturally diverse place to live.

According to the census results, more than one million new residents arrived in Australia from 2017 to 2021. Plus, over four out of every five (83.7 per cent) of these arrivals were in 2017 to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, so this figure should have been much higher.

With these new arrivals, the proportion of Australian residents that are born overseas (first generation) or have a parent born overseas (second generation) has now moved above 50 per cent (51.5 per cent).

The census provides an excellent opportunity for our nation to understand who we are and how we are changing, but one thing that never seems to change is our love of property and our desire to own a home.

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