Who are Australia's males?

As at June 30 2016, there were nearly 12 million males living in Australia (49.7% of the total population), which means there were 98.8 males for every 100 females [1]. Most males (68%) were younger than 50 and 14% were 65 or over. Their median age was 36.5 years, which is lower than the median age for females of 38.3 years.

Males are a diverse population, with differing health behaviours, conditions and health service use across a range of characteristics. The characteristics of five particular population groups are described below.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status

In 2017, around 373,000 Australian males (3.1%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander [1, 2]. Indigenous males tend to be younger than non-Indigenous males (34% aged less than 15, compared with 19% of non-Indigenous males), they are culturally diverse (17% speak an Indigenous language and 61% identify with a clan, tribal or language group) and they are outnumbered by females in later life (85 males for every 100 females aged 65 or over) [2, 3].


From the 2011 ABS census, 69% of the Australian male population live in Major cities, 19% live in Inner regional areas, 9.3% live in Outer regional areas, and 2.5 per cent live in Remote and Very remote areas [4]. Males living in Remote and Very remote areas outnumber females (116 males for every 100 females) and are community-minded (19% volunteer for a group or organisation, compared with 14% of males living in Major cities)[4].

Socioeconomic disadvantage

Some Australian males are more disadvantaged than others. Thirteen per cent of males are experiencing poverty and around 59,000 are homeless [5, 6]. There are nearly 36,000 Australian male prisoners in adult corrective services custody [7]. Two out of three (66%) males aged 15 and over are employed and 60% of 15–74 year old males have a non-school qualification [8, 9].

Region of birth

More than a quarter (27%) of the Australian male population were born overseas. Of those born overseas, the majority were born in the United Kingdom (followed by New Zealand and China), and overseas-born males are outnumbered by overseas-born females (98 males for every 100 females) [10].

Age group

In 2016, 23% of the total male population were aged under 18, 62% were aged 18–64, and 14% were aged 65 or over [1]. The number of men aged 65 and over is increasing (by the year 2026 they are predicted to account for 17 to 18% of the total male population), they are outnumbered by females (88 males for every 100 females), 11% are widowed, 17% live alone, and 16% need assistance with one or more of the core everyday activities of self-care, mobility and communication [11].


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016a. Australian Demographic Statistics: June 2016. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  2. ABS 2016b. Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026. ABS cat. no. 3238.0. Canberra: ABS.
  3. ABS 2016c. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15. ABS cat. no. 4714.0. Canberra.
  4. ABS 2012a. Census of population and housing, 2011: Microdata (Table Builder). ABS.
  5. Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) 2016. Poverty in Australia 2016. NSW: ACOSS.
  6. ABS 2012b. Census of population and housing: Estimating homelessness, 2011. ABS cat. no. 2049.0. Canberra: ABS.
  7. ABS 2016d. Prisoners in Australia, 2016. ABS cat. no. 4517.0. Canberra: ABS.
  8. ABS 2017a. Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2017. ABS cat. no. 6202.0. Canberra: ABS.
  9. ABS 2016e. Education and work, Australia, May 2016. ABS cat. no. 6227.0. Canberra: ABS.
  10. ABS 2017b. Migration, Australia, 2015–16. ABS cat. no. 3412.0. Canberra: ABS.
  11. ABS 2013. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–13. ABS cat. no. 2071.0. Canberra: ABS.