Who are Australia's females?

In 2018, there were 12.6 million females in Australia—just over half (51%) of the country’s population. Overall, there were 101.6 females for every 100 males (ABS 2018a).

The typical Australian female is 38.1 years old, lives in a major city, is employed and has a non-school qualification (ABS 2018b, 2018c, 2018d, 2019a).

The female population is ageing

In 2018, most of the female population were of working age. In a group of 20 females, 4 (18%) would be girls aged 0–14 years, 13 (65%) would be women of working age (15–64 years) and 3 (17%) would be women aged 65 years and over (ABS 2018a).

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of the female population in older age groups has been increasing, particularly the 70–74 years age group, which has grown by 6.2% since 2006. In comparison, the proportion of females in the 0–4 years age group has grown by 0.2% in the same time period (ABS 2018a).

Some females are more disadvantaged than others

In 2015–16, just under 3 in 20 females (13%) were experiencing poverty, and in 2016 around 49,000 were homeless (ACOSS 2018, ABS 2018e). In 2019, there were around 3,600 Australian female prisoners in adult corrective services (ABS 2019a) and 1 in 20 females (5.3%) were unemployed (ABS 2019b).

Australian females have diverse backgrounds—3 in 10 females were born overseas

Almost one-third (29%) of Australia’s females were born overseas. Of these, the most common countries of birth were England (14%), China (9.3%) and New Zealand (7.7%) (ABS 2018f).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females

In 2016, the estimated resident population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females was nearly 400,000 (3.2% of the female population) (ABS 2018a).

Indigenous females tend to be younger than non-Indigenous females. Around 3 in 10 (34%) were aged under 15, compared with around 2 in 10 (18%) non-Indigenous females (ABS 2018a).

Around 3 in 5 Indigenous females (63%) identify with a clan, tribal or language group and 1 in 5 (19%) speak an Indigenous language. They outnumber males in older age groups (122 Indigenous women for every 100 Indigenous men aged 65 or over) (ABS 2016, ABS 2018a).

Females outnumber males in Major cities

The density of the female population varies across the country. For example, females outnumber males in Major cities and Inner regional areas (104 and 103 females to every 100 males, respectively) and males outnumbered females in Outer regional areas and Remote and very remote areas (98 and 89 females for every 100 males, respectively) (ABS 2018b).

According to the 2016 ABS Census (ABS 2018b):

7 in 10 (71%) females live in Major cities

2 in 10 (18%) live in Inner regional areas

nearly 1 in 10 (8.3%) live in Outer regional areas

less than 1 in 50 (1.9%) live in Remote and very remote areas.