According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the ‘average Australian’ is a 37-year-old woman. Unfortunately, she doesn’t exist.
Using the most recent census numbers, the ABS has ascertained that the average Australian is a 37-year-old woman who has one son and one daughter, aged six and nine. She lives in a three-bedroom, free-standing house and has $200,000 remaining on her mortgage.
She is 5' 4" (162cm) tall and weighs 71.1kgs, which is technically overweight. Both her parents were Australian-born, but her family originates from somewhere in Britain.
The problem is: who is this woman? After all the census papers were filled out and reviewed, it became clear that not one actual person fit this average.
The ABS said, “While the description of the average Australian may sound quite typical, the fact that no-one meets all these criteria shows that the notion of the 'average' masks considerable and growing diversity in Australia.”
While women have been the statistically dominant sex in Australia since 1979, some have criticised the census findings as being one-dimensional, as they ignore the native and immigrant populations of this country.
“It’s a nonsense”, says Multicultural Council chairman Sev Ozdowski. “Australia is not one Australia. It is many Australias”, he says.
Australia is home to 200 different migrant groups speaking more than 300 different languages. Today, about one-third of Australians were born overseas. The most recent census revealed that only about 35 per cent of new Australian migrants have come from Europe, while more than 40 per cent came from Asia.
The ABS data might be able to tell us who the ‘average Australian’ is, but it seems statistics do not reflect the truth.
Do you think the ABS data reflects the people you know in your life? How do you think the average Australian has changed during Australia’s development?
Read more at The Age.
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