Seasonally adjusted greetings from the ABS

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20 December 2017

Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Seasonally adjusted greetings from the ABS

As stockings and turkeys around the country get stuffed in the run-up to Christmas, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is taking the wrapping off its statistical gifts.

One of the traditions at this time of year is taking a trip.

Denise Carlton, the Program Manager for Population Statistics, said: “Many people are travelling at this time of year and in 2016, 47,800 Australians left for an overseas trip on Christmas Day itself.

“ABS data also shows the most popular overseas short-term travel destinations for Australians were New Zealand, the USA and Indonesia in 2015-16.

“In December 2016, 971,800 short-term visitors arrived in Australia and the top-five countries of origin were New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and Singapore.”

Recent ABS Tourism Satellite Account data shows that in 2016-17, Australians spent on average $818 per domestic trip (with at least one overnight stay), and around $115 on a domestic day trip. International visitors, meanwhile, spent on average $4,347 per trip to Australia.

And how much is spent on popular Christmas gifts? The ABS 2015-16 Household Expenditure Survey shows that on average Australians spent $202 a year on toys and $27 per year on Christmas decorations.

Christmas isn’t all Santa, shopping and holidays. The traditional meaning of Christmas still resonates with over 52 per cent of the Australian population who identified as Christian in the 2016 Census.

The religious make-up of Australia has changed over the past 50 years. In 1966, Christianity (88 per cent) was the main religion. By 1991, this figure had fallen to 74 per cent.

Santa will be busy this Christmas visiting the 2 million Australian families with children under the age of 12. The 2016 Census shows that most children live in New South Wales (1.2 million), Victoria (947,408) and Queensland (795,908).

While the ABS doesn't record official reindeer numbers, the Census recorded 35 deer farmers in Australia who we’re sure could help Santa should any of his deer get tired.

And if you are celebrating your birthday on Christmas Day you are in rare company as the last 10 years of data shows it is the second least common birthday, after February 29. However, the Christmas and New Year holidays are the most likely time for babies to be conceived.

Media note:

  • For a detailed definition of each industry group and subgroup in terms of its ANZSIC 2006 classes, please refer to paragraph 6 of the Explanatory Notes.
  • Estimates of online retail turnover are only available in original terms and are not available in seasonally adjusted or trend terms.
  • Along with the monthly current price estimates that reflect both price and volume changes, the March, June, September and December publications also present quarterly estimates that reflect volume and price changes separately.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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