Census data shows WA’s population is getting older and wealthier, with fewer foreign-born
WA’s population has bucked the national trend, with a declining share of millennials compared to baby boomers.
And even though millennials still make up a larger proportion of the state than the older cohort, the state’s average age is increasing.
There’s a lot more we’ve discovered about WA from today’s census data drop.
Here are the top six takeaways.
WA’s population is aging and slower
Since 2016, WA’s population has grown by 185,612, or 7.5%. This is slightly slower than the national growth of 8.6%.
And like the rest of the country, WA is aging, with the median age now standing at 38.
Overall, millennials and baby boomers now make up roughly the same proportion of Australia’s population.
But in WA, the proportion of millennials has increased from 22.4% in 2016 to 21.6% in 2021.
However, they are still a larger group than baby boomers, who have grown from 19.5% to 21.1%.
Overall, this means more than one in five Western Australians are now over 60.
Nationally, the number of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander jumped 25% – but in WA it is slightly lower at 17%.
The median age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is now 24.
Our family demographics are changing
More West Australians were born in Australia compared to 2016, with this group now accounting for 62% of people compared to 60.3%.
The figure has increased by more than eight times the national rate, which now stands at 66.9%.
The share of Western Australians born in England and New Zealand has fallen, but the percentage from India and the Philippines has increased.
Over the past generation, a greater proportion of people in WA had both foreign-born parents, up to 41.6% from 40.5% in 2016.
WA lose faith faster
One of the big stories to come from this year’s census is how many people are turning away from religion.
And West Australians have done just that, at a rate just above the nation as a whole, with 42.5% of Sandgropers no longer declaring any religion, up from 32.5% in 2016.
The proportion of people who say they are Christian, but without further description, remains stable at 3.4%, which is higher than the national rate of 2.7%.
West Australians are getting richer
Overall, West Australians are getting richer, with the share of households earning less than $650 a week falling to 16.3% and more than a quarter earning more than $3,000.
Mortgage repayments also take up, on average, a smaller share of Western Australians’ budgets.
Another 13,000 apartments have been added to WA’s housing stock, but the share of people living in apartments remains at less than half the national rate.
And we found that Western Australian homes tend to be larger, averaging four bedrooms compared to three nationally.
More West Australians live alone, 25.4% to be precise, while the share of family households has fallen to 71.2%.
The share of people who own their own home is lower in WA than the rest of the country at 29.2%, just below the national rate of 31%.
More unpaid homework, less volunteering
The average number of hours of unpaid domestic work is also on the rise.
Fewer West Australians work less than five hours a week, and more than a quarter work between five and 14.
That’s much closer to national rates than it was in 2016.
The pandemic also appears to have had an impact on the volunteering habits of Western Australians, with a 3.1% drop in the number of people who volunteered their time to an organization or group over the past year.
Changing trends in education
The number of West Australians taking part in TAFE jumped by around 13,000, but at a slightly slower pace than the rest of the country.
And compared to the rest of the country, fewer people attend university in WA at 13.9%, compared to the national rate of 15.4%.
But WA has more children attending kindergarten (5.6% of the population, compared to 3.9%) and high school (21.8 compared to 20.5%).