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Neil Mitchell’s census breakdown: Religion and multiculturalism lead the agenda

Neil Mitchell

Religion, multiculturalism and the rapid growth of Melbourne headline today’s census new figures.

Neil Mitchell got a simple breakdown from demographer Simon Kuestenmacher (click PLAY above for the full chat).


“The atheists have finally taken over,” Kuestenmacher said.

“The biggest surprise was that Catholicism is not the number one religion in Australia.”

– Catholics: 25.3%
– No Religion: 22.3%

– No Religion: 30.1%
– Catholics: 22.6

Kuestenmacher said that while it was not possible to say less believe believe in a god, “we can see the trend towards a more secular society”.

Father Bob Maguire told 3AW News it’s a sign the Catholic Church needs to “smarten up their act”.

“We’ve almost lost the high moral ground to say anything about anything!”


Sydney (43%) and Melbourne (40%) saw growth in residents born overseas.

“So we are truly international, multicultural cities,” Kuestenmacher said.

England-born residents (907,570) still top the list for people born outside Australia, but the biggest growth has come from Chinese and Indian immigrants.

  • Chinese: 318,969 to 509,555
  • Indian: 295,362 to 455,389


Melbourne (4,485,211) is fast catching Sydney (4,823,991) as the Australia’s biggest city.

“We expect Melbourne to catch Sydney very soon, probably by the mid-2020s,” Kuestenmacher said.

It’s also younger the rest of the country, with an average age of 36 compared to the nation’s average of 38.

But the growth doesn’t seem to have come at a massive cost to home-ownership.

Only 30% of Melburnians are renting, compared to 34% in Sydney.


Neil Mitchell