Every stat tells a story.

2021 Census will help deliver better outcomes for veterans

Media Release

For the first time, the 2021 Census asked about current and former service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This new data will assist in the development of policy and planning, including determining the most beneficial locations across Australia to offer services to veterans.

The 2021 Census found more than half a million Australians (581,139) have served, or are currently serving, in the ADF. There are 84,865 current serving members and 496,276 former serving members. Less than one in seven (13.4 per cent) of Australia’s former serving members are female, although the proportion is a bit higher at over one in five (20.6 per cent) for current serving members.

Dr David Gruen AO, Australian Statistician, said “The ADF data in the 2021 Census will help the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Defence and community groups to provide the services needed by current and former serving members”.

The Census data shows that more than one quarter of former serving members (26.1 per cent) are 65-74 years of age. This group of nearly 130,000 Australians (129,437) are mainly males (90 per cent) and represents the cohort resulting from the scheme of selective conscription in Australia under the National Service Act 1964. The largest demographic group of current serving members are aged between 25-29 years (17.2 per cent).

One in twenty (5.3 per cent) of Australian households reported at least one person who have served or are serving in the ADF. With the largest Australian Army base, it is not surprising that Townsville (QLD) is the region with the highest number of current serving ADF members (5,500) and forming serving members (8,700). 

For further information about 2021 Census data, tune into the 2021 Census data release launch on 28 June at 10am AEST at http://www.abs.gov.au/census/events or explore the data at www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data.  

Media notes

  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on media@abs.gov.au or 1300 175 070. 

  • Further information on 2021 Census is available in the Census media backgrounders.

  • Note: Due to the self-reporting nature of the Census, 2021 Census data on current serving members may not align with the data reported by Defence.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
Back to top of the page