Tech-savvy, multicultural and better off

Tech-savvy, multicultural and better off

Tech-savvy, multicultural and better offMelburnians earned more, were more family-focused and computer-savvy and more multicultural than other Australians, census data released today showed.

But country Victorians continued to lag economically behind their city counterparts and had more lone-person households.

According to the August, 2001 census, there were 4.64 million people living in Victoria, and the average age was 35.

It showed Victorians on average earned almost a third more than they did five years ago - up from $290 a week in 1996 to $380 last year, and above the national average of $375.

But the median gross weekly income of $330 in rural areas was significantly below the $405 median in Melbourne.

Victorians were paying an average of $850 on their mortgages each month, just 12 per cent more than five years ago, and the average weekly rent was up $30 to $155.

Victoria's overseas-born population remained higher than the national average of 21.9 per cent, with 23.4 per cent of the population from abroad.

However, there was a 0.5 per cent drop in the number of residents born overseas over the past five years.

While most overseas-born residents came from Britain, Ireland, Italy and Greece, there were significant increases in arrivals from Bosnia, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

The number of people who spoke languages other than English also remains significantly above the national average - 20.4 per cent compared with 15.5 per cent.

There was an increase in people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with the indigenous population now about 3,500 higher at 25,078.

Despite following the national trend of a drop in the number of couples with children, Victoria's figure remained 1.8 per cent above the national average of 47 per cent.

The number of Christians in Victoria has fallen marginally to 64.5 per cent, but there has been a startling increase in the number of people declaring themselves Buddhist.

More than 111,000 Victorians said they were Buddhist - accounting for 38.9 per cent of non-Christian religions.

More Victorians owned a computer than the national average, with 43.4 per cent of all homes declaring they used a computer at home compared with 42.0 per cent across Australia.

Victorian Multicultural Commission chairman George Lekakis said the census would have significant planning and service delivery implications for all levels of government and the wider community.

``The data in this census speaks for itself and states the obvious fact - we are a culturally, religiously and linguistically varying state, and to be parochial for a moment, we lead the nation in this respect,'' he said.

By Charisse Ede
Melbourne Age - 2nd Edition
17 June 2002

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