Population doubles in a decade as census reveals Southbank to be a young, multicultural hub

Population doubles in a decade as census reveals Southbank to be a young, multicultural hub
David Schout

Southbank’s population has more than doubled during the past 10 years, and two-thirds of locals are aged in their 20s and 30s according to the 2021 national census.

The data, released in June after more than 25 million Australians sat down in August last year to fill out the detailed country-wide survey, gave another interesting snapshot of postcode 3006.

It revealed Southbank (and South Wharf) to be a far more multicultural and tertiary-educated hub compared with the state and national average.

The census, completed nationally every five years, showed that Southbank continued to be an area that young people flock to, with two-thirds of the local population (66 per cent) aged between 20 and 39.

The average Victorian suburb has far fewer people in this age bracket (28 per cent).

Southbank also continues to be an area of growth and has more than doubled its population in the past decade.

The 2011 census revealed that the number of people living in the area was 11,302, while in 2021 the figure reached 22,699 people living locally.

The data, revealed by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, showed that Southbank continued to be a hugely multicultural suburb.

Just one-third of locals were born in Australia, far fewer than nationwide average where two-thirds of people living in Australia were born here.

In Southbank, the top five countries of birth outside of Australia are India (9.4 per cent), China (8.9 per cent), Colombia (3.9 per cent), Malaysia (3.6 per cent) and England (3 per cent).

Given the area’s age demographic, it was perhaps unsurprising that six in 10 Southbankers currently attending an educational institution were undertaking tertiary study (defined as either university or higher education, or vocational education including TAFE and private training providers).

This was considerably higher than the national average of 23 per cent.

The area has far fewer school-aged children than a typical Australian suburb; only 697 Southbankers —or around 10 per cent of those attending an educational institution — were primary or secondary school students.

That figure is usually around 50 per cent (of those receiving an education) in a typical area around the nation.

One of the headline revelations of the latest census was the nation-wide further shift away from religion.

Across Australia, 39 per cent of people ticked the “no religion” box, which represented an increase from 30 per cent in 2016 and 22 per cent a decade ago.

But this was even higher in Southbank, with almost half the total population (46 per cent) identifying no religious affiliation.

Another key national takeout from the 2021 census was that millennials (those born between 1981 and 1995) now match baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1965) in number; each accounting for 21.5 per cent of the nation’s 25.5 million residents.

Unsurprisingly within Southbank, the boomer figure is significantly smaller and is now less than 10 per cent.

2021 census snapshots: Southbank

  • Population 22,699
    (more than double the 11,302 recorded in 2011)
  • 66%
    aged between 20 and 39 (compared with 28 per cent in that age bracket in Victoria)
  • 33%
    born in Australia (India, China, Colombia, Malaysia and England the top five next-highest)
  • 28%
    of people aged over 15 are married (compared with 47 per cent nationally)
  • 68%
    of couples don’t have children (18 per cent have children)
  • 67
    of population rent their dwelling (compared with 29 per cent across Victoria)
  • $411
    median weekly rent (compared with $370 across Victoria)
  • 1.8
    average number of people per household (compared with 2.5 across Victoria)
  • 60%
    of those attending an education institution tertiary students (national average of 23 per cent)
  • 73
    have “no long-term health condition” (60 per cent nationally) •

Caption: Two-thirds of Southbankers are aged between 20 and 39 according to latest census data.

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