Thursday, 21 June 2012

What sort of place is Australia?

The results of last year's census have been made public at last. The census results help government departments plan appropriately for the future so that less money is wasted and facilities may be available when they are needed. Of course it does not always work, but it is a beginning.

I have copied some results from an article in The Australian, a major newspaper in this country. The journalist is Pia Ackerman. I have not used all the article but selected the parts I found interesting.

The current population of Australia is officially 21.5 million. On census night 21,727,158 people were counted in Australia including 219,440 overseas visitors. There are more women than men, and the median age is 37 years. Life expectancy at birth in Australia is almost 82 years.

English is the most popular language spoken at home, Mandarin is second, and Italian is third.

Approximately 60% of the population regard themselves as Christian, but 22% have no religion at all.

More than 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job. (That does not mean a full-time job of course!) The median weekly wage per person is $362. Overall however the median weekly income is $577. The median household rent is $285. The median monthly household mortgage repayments are now $1800.

Around 45% of the population consider themselves as part of a couple with children. The rate of marriage remains the same as previous census results. The ratio of one-parent families has remained constant at 16%. If you are from another country you may not know that there is no such category as an 'illegitimate child' in Australia. All children have the same legal status.

I found the information presented a snapshot of my country that I do not usually see. I do not know many people who consider themselves to be Christians. When I was teaching children very few had ever been inside a church and they relied on the religious instruction teachers to tell them information about Christianity. I do not know of any place where the rent would be as low as stated by the census results. I do know of a town where the rent for a three bedroom house is $3,000 per week. The apartments in my building are rented for around $400 per week for a one bedroom place and go up lots from there. Even an unpowered tent site in the suburbs is over $100 per week, but you would have access to a toilet and water.

Australia has a pretty good welfare system that helps lots of people and is probably abused by some as well. The political system is stable. Politicians are elected and all adults over the age of 18 years are entitled to vote unless they are in a corrections facility. Of the people I know, most choose not to marry their partners. Education is available to children, although it may be difficult to access in some remote areas. There is a public health system, although its efficiency and accuracy varies from place to place. There are free public hospitals.

If you are looking for a good place to live, Australia should definitely be top of your list.

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