These Ten Charts Show Some Of The Stunning Changes In Australian Life


The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its Social Trends report yesterday, with one of the big shifts tracked being the changing face of the average Australian, who is now a 37-year-old female sales assistant.

One nugget from the material published yesterday is that in our increasingly overweight society even the doctors are fat.

We’ve combed through the contents and pulled out this set of graphs that highlight some of the biggest social changes in Australia over recent decades. They include the declining use of Italian and Greek language and the rise of Chinese, the stunning fall in the proportion of Australians who identify their religion as Anglican and some key stats on the changing profile of the younger Australians who will be tomorrow’s business leaders and policymakers.

Start here to get into the full reports.

The proportion of Australians who report themselves as Anglican has HALVED since 1961. There are now more people in Australia who say they have no religion than those who say they are Anglican. The proportion of Catholics remains steady.

The number of young Australians stating they have no religion has DOUBLED since 1976.

Four decades ago the numbers of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus in Australia was tiny. Now there are many hundreds of thousands of practitioners.

In 1976, less than half of women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties had jobs. Nowadays more than two-thirds of them are working.

Conversely, the proportion of young men working is lower than it was in the 70s.

This is the scary one - the relentless rise in the median age in the population. The ageing of the Australian population has widespread implications for the economy and the welfare system.

The number of people speaking Chinese languages such as Cantonese and Mandarin at home has exploded. 13% of the Mandarin speakers were born in Australia. Italian and Greek are steadily declining in use.

Australians are marrying less often and later in life. Back in 1976 the vast majority of people under 35 were, or had been, married. Nowadays the rate is much lower, with only around half of Australians being married by the time they're 30.

Australians are way more educated. In 1976 only 5% of people in their 20s and early 30s had a degree or higher qualification. These days, around a quarter of young Australians have a degree or higher qualification.

The proportion of young people born in the UK and Ireland is slowly dwindling, while the proportion of young people born in Asia is rising rapidly. Overall, the proportion of young adults born overseas is on an upward trend.

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