The ACT has recorded the largest population growth of any state or territory over the past five years according to 2016 Census data released today.
An extra 40,175 residents have been added to the ACT since the 2011 Census, with 397,397 usual residents counted on Census night – an increase of 11.2 per cent.
The Gungahlin area in Canberra’s North is driving our population growth and is the second-fastest growing region in Australia.
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With its new suburbs, continual roadworks and upcoming city access through the light rail corridor, Gungahlin has grown from 47,000 residents in 2011 to 71,000 in 2016 – an extra 24,000 people.
A total of 25,973 new migrants have come to call the ACT home since 2011, forming part of the 26 per cent of the Territory’s population who reported being born overseas on Census night.
The most commonly reported countries of birth apart from Australia were England (3.2 per cent of the ACT’s population), China (2.9 per cent) and India (2.6 per cent).
The large increase in the ACT’s population has also meant a significant increase in the number of occupied private dwellings – rising from 129,430 in 2011 to 142,670 in 2016.
Income high but so are rents
According to Census data released today, the Territory’s residents have a median weekly income of $998, which is significantly higher than the national median weekly income of $662.
However, we pay much more for our housing, with the equal-highest median weekly rent of $380 of all states and territories. This is unchanged since 2011 but is $45 a week more than the national median weekly rent of $335.
The ACT’s median monthly mortgage repayments of $2,058 are also the second-highest in Australia even though they have decreased by five per cent since 2011.
Higher proportion never married
A higher proportion of Territory residents have never married (37.9 per cent) compared to the national figure of 35 per cent. The proportion of single or lone person households in the ACT has also increased from 23.4 per cent in 2011 to 24.8 per cent in 2016.
The 2016 Census data shows that ACT residents have a median age of 35, which is three years younger than the national figure.
The number of ACT residents who have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origins has increased by 1,324 people since 2011 to a total of 6,508.
Who are we and how do we live?
The 2016 Census was carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) less than 10 months ago and is designed to find out “who we are, how we live, what we do, and where we’re headed”.
A total of 23,717,421 people were counted in Australia on Census night, which included 23,401,892 people who usually live in Australia – representing an 8.8 per cent increase from 2011.
NSW was found to be Australia’s most populous state, with 7,480,228 people counted. Second was Victoria with 5,926,624 people and third was Queensland with 4,703,193 people.
Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch said the Census data is of high quality thanks to the participation of Australians. He said the Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent, with 63 per cent of people completing it online.
“The Independent Assurance Panel I established to provide extra assurance and transparency of Census data quality concluded that the 2016 Census data can be used with confidence,” Mr Kalisch said.
“2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years,” he said.
Census data is free online. To find out more please go to the ABS website at http://www.abs.gov.au/
Are you surprised to know we’ve had the largest population growth in Australia? Why do you think that has happened? Can Canberrans cope with having such high rents and mortgage repayments? Let us know in the comments below.