In the 2021 Census, the number of people counted as usual residents of Western Australia (WA) was 2.7 million. This was up from 2.5 million in 2016. Fifty years ago, in 1971, the Census counted almost 1.0 million people. In 2021, almost four out of five people in WA lived in the capital city area of Greater Perth (2.1 million).
Snapshot of Western Australia
High level summary data for Western Australia in 2021
The median age (AGEP) for people from WA has been on the rise. In 1971, the median age was 25 years. The median age was 36 years in 2016 and 38 years in 2021 in WA. The Australian median age was 38 years in 2021.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
In the 2021 Census, 89,000 people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin (INGP) in WA, making up 3.3% of the population. This was an increase from 76,000 counted in 2016, and higher than the Australian percentage of 3.2% in 2021.
For more information, see Western Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population summary.
Country of birth
Most people in WA were born in Australia (BPLP). The proportion of people who were born overseas has increased over time. In 1971, 27.3% of people were born overseas. This has increased to 32.2% in both 2016 and 2021.
In 2021, the top five countries of birth in WA were:
- Australia (62.0%)
- England (7.4%)
- New Zealand (2.8%)
- India (2.3%)
- South Africa (1.7%)
In 2021, most people only used English at home (75.3%) (LANP). This was up from 75.2% in 2016.
After English the most common languages used were Mandarin (1.9%), Italian (1.0%), Vietnamese (0.9%) and Punjabi (0.8%).
In 2021, the main religious affiliation (RELP) in WA was Christianity (41.1%). This proportion has decreased over time as people reporting non-Christian religions and no religious affiliation have increased. In 2016, Christian affiliation was 49.8%, and in 1971 it was 85.5%.
In 2021, 8.0% of people in WA were affiliated with a non-Christian religion. The most common were Islam (2.5%), Buddhism (2.2%) and Hinduism (2.0%).
The percentage of people who identified as having no religious affiliation was 42.9% in 2021. This was an increase from 33.0% in 2016, and 8.7% in 1971.
Household and families
Households are getting smaller in WA. In 2021, the average number of people who lived in each household in WA was 2.5, a decrease from 3.4 people in 1971.
In 2021, 71.2% of households were family households. This was a slight decrease from 72.7% in 2016.
The most common type of family in WA was families with children. In 2021, 44.6% of families were couples with children and 15.1% were one parent families.
Based on place of enumeration. Excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households.
Source: Household composition (HHCD)
The 2021 Census counted 1.0 million dwellings across WA. This was an increase from 0.9 million in 2016. In 1971 there were 0.3 million occupied private dwellings in WA.
In 2021, most people lived in separate houses (79.7%), rather than flats, apartments or other dwelling types. This was a slight increase from 79.1% in 2016. Over this time the proportion of people who lived in flats or apartments also increased from 5.7% to 6.5%.
In 2021, 69.2% of households in WA were homeowners (owned outright or with a mortgage). This was a slight increase from 68.2% in 2016.
Refers to occupied private dwellings and excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households. Owned with a mortgage includes dwellings being purchased under a shared equity scheme. Rented excludes dwellings being occupied rent-free. Other tenure type and tenure type not stated represent remaining 3.5%.
Source: Tenure type (TEND)
For more detailed state specific data see the Snapshot of Western Australia data cube, available for download on the Snapshot of Australia page.