Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Australia's youth, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 09 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Australia's youth. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-youth
Australia's youth. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 25 June 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-youth
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia's youth [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2023 Feb. 9]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-youth
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Australia's youth, viewed 9 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-youth
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In 2020, an estimated 3.2 million young people aged 15–24 lived in Australia, making up 12% of the whole population (ABS 2020a). Key demographic information for young people based on 2020 data (or the latest data available) follows. Updates to some of the demographic information will be available from the 2021 Census:
47% (or 1.5 million) of young people were aged 15–19 and 53% (or 1.7 million) were 20–24
51% (or 1.7 million) were male and 49% (or 1.6 million) were female
see Technical notes
6.1%* (or 181,000) identified as gay, lesbian or having an ‘other’ sexual orientation in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) General Social Survey in 2019
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people made up 5.1% (or 164,000) of the young person population in 2019, with 2.6% (or 84,300) males and 2.5% (or 80,200) females
25% (or 814,000) were born overseas, with the largest populations from China (excluding special administrative regions and Taiwan) (4.5% or 148,000), India (2.7% or 87,600), New Zealand (1.9% or 63,200) and England (1.7% or 56,500) in 2019
Around 3,700 young people aged 12–24 permanently resettled under the Refugee and Humanitarian program in 2019–20; with around 1,800 being 12–17 year olds and around 2,000 being 18–24 year olds
9.3% (or 291,000) of young people had disability in 2018, with 4.7% (or 147,000) being males and 4.6% (or 145,000) females (ABS 2019a)
6.0% (or 188,000) of young people were informal carers in 2018, with similar rates in males and females. 0.6% (or 18,600) were primary carers, with 0.4% (or 7,000*) of males and 0.9% (or 13,700) of females
The most common religious affiliations in 2016 were Christianity (45% or 1.3 million), no religious affiliation (37% or 1.1 million), Islam (3.3% or 97,000) and Buddhism (2.5% or 75,000)
In 2020, the population distribution of young people aged 15–24 is similar to that for all Australians. Most young people lived in New South Wales (31% or 1.0 million) followed by Victoria (27% or 850,000), Queensland (21% or 658,000), Western Australia (10% or 321,000), South Australia (6.8% or 216,000), Tasmania (2.0% or 62,700), the Australian Capital Territory (1.8% or 56,500) and the Northern Territory (1.0% or 31,200) (ABS 2020a). All states and territories had similar proportions of young people, ranging between 12% and 13% (ABS 2020a).
In 2019, of young people aged 15–24:
From 1971 to 2020, among young people aged 15–24 in Australia:
From 2021 to 2066, projections suggest that:
Note: The vertical line indicates 2020. Population projections (from 2021 onwards) are based on ABS Projection Series B. See ABS 2018b for the assumptions on which Projection Series B is based.
Sources: ABS 2017b, 2018a, 2018b, 2020a.
In 2017–18, the majority of young people aged 15–24 lived with their parent or parents as either a dependent student (46% or 1.4 million) or a non-dependent child (a person without a spouse or offspring in their own household who is not a full-time student) (29% or 884,000). For information on young people in out-of-home care, see Young people in out-of-home care.
A far greater proportion of young people aged 15–19 lived as a dependent student (74% or 1.1 million) than in other living arrangements. The next most common living arrangements were:
20–24 year olds had a broader range of living arrangements than 15–19 year olds, with most living as non-dependent children (37% or 613,000) followed by:
From 2007–08 to 2017–18, the proportion of young people aged 15–24 living with their parent/s (as a dependent student or non-dependent child) increased from 69% (or 2.0 million) to 75% (or 2.3 million):
A 2019 analysis of longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey compared how the rates of young people aged 18–29 who moved out of and back in to their parental home changed over time. This analysis found that the higher proportion of young people living at home in recent years is driven by a lower proportion moving out, and not a growth in the proportion moving back in to their parental home (Wilkins et al. 2020).
The analysis suggests that young people are living with parents for longer due to social developments and economic, educational and cultural reasons. These include broad trends such as:
See also COVID-19 and the impact on young people for information on young people who reported changes to their living arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2017a. Religion in Australia—Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the Census, 2016. ABS cat. no. 2071.0. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 19 April 2021.
ABS 2017b. Australian demographic statistics, Jun 2017. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 19 April 2021.
ABS 2018a. Australian demographic statistics, Jun 2018. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 19 April 2021.
ABS 2018b. Population projections, Australia, 2017 (base) to 2066. ABS website. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 19 April 2021.
ABS 2019a. Microdata: Disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2018. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder data.
ABS 2019b. Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings. ABS website. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 19 April 2021.
ABS 2020a. National, state and territory population. ABS website. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 15 December 2020.
ABS 2020b. General Social Survey: summary results, Australia. ABS website. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 15 December 2020.
ABS 2020c. Estimated resident population, country of birth, age and sex – as at 30 June 1996 to 2019, People, Population. Viewed 6 November 2020.
DoHA (Department of Home Affairs) 2020. Settlement data reports — financial year 2019–2020. Viewed 6 November 2020. www.data.gov.au
Wilkins R, Laß I, Butterworth P & Vera-Toscano E 2020. The household, income and labour dynamics in Australia survey: selected findings from waves 1 to 19: the 14th annual statistical report of the HILDA survey. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute. Viewed 19 April 2021.
The Australian Refugee and Humanitarian program can be accessed by people in humanitarian need who are: outside Australia (offshore), and need to resettle to Australia when they do not have any other durable solution available; and already in Australia (onshore), and who want to seek protection after arriving in Australia.
For general technical notes relating to this report, see also Methods.
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