For many people around the world, including those coming to (or already in) Australia, what they know about the country is little more than a few iconic or stereotypical images, quite possibly all gained from that episode of The Simpsons. While it’s true that a degree of naivety can enhance the spirit of adventure when abroad, you don’t want to have too much of it.
This collection of facts and figures may give visitors some indication of what to expect of modern Australia. And perhaps more usefully, these facts may help impress people and give the impression of intelligence and worldliness when dropped casually into a conversation.
Australia is the 6th largest country in the world. It’s as wide as the distance between London and Moscow.
With a population of 24 million, Australia is only the 53rd most populated country in the world. The population grows by approximately 500,000 people per year.
There are approximately 100,000 more women than men
27% of Australians were born overseas. Almost half (46%) have at least one parent born overseas. Of Australia’s immigrants, most come from the UK (5% of Australia’s population), followed by New Zealand (2.5%), China (2.2%), India (1.9%) and the Philippines (1%).
Melbourne has the second largest Greek population in the world. Athens has the largest.
Despite the reputation as a country of great wilderness, and the stereotype of the rugged Australian bushman/woman, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with 89% of its population living in urban areas. This is more than industrialised nations like the USA (82%), the UK (79%) and Germany (73%).
According to the Mercer Quality of Living Index, Sydney is the 10th best city in the world for quality of life in 2017. Melbourne is 16th and Perth is 22nd. Vienna is 1st.
Australia is the 26th most obese country in the world, with 29.9% of the population obese. The most obese countries are mainly small island nations – Palau, Samoa etc. Of the major industrialised nations, Australia is 4th behind the USA (35% obesity) New Zealand (30.6%) and Canada (30.1%).
Per capita, Australian’s spend more on gambling than any other country. 20% of the world’s poker machines are in Australia.
According to the World Health Organisation, Australians consume 12.6 litres of pure alcohol per year, ranking it 19th in the world for alcohol consumption (Belarus is first, with 17.5 litres). Despite its reputation as beer lovers, Australia also sits 19th for beer consumption, with each adult drinking 74.2 litres each year, a long way behind leaders the Czech Republic, who consume 142.6 litres.
Australia is home to 21 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world, but there are on average only 2 deaths a year from snake bites. Sharks also only claim 2 people a year, while crocodiles take only 1 person. Despite all the venomous spiders, there hasn’t been a death from a spider bite in Australia since 1979. The deadliest animals in the country are horses, with 20 people dying each year from riding accidents. Cattle are in 2nd place, dogs 3rd.