Key statistics 2018

  • Victoria's population: 6.5 million people 
  • Victoria's Aboriginal population: 57,000 people
  • Median age of Victorians: 37 years
  • Life expectancy at birth for males and females: 81.3 years and 85.0 years respectively
  • More than 80 per cent of Victorians report their health as excellent, very good or good
  • Proportion of Victorians living in Greater Melbourne: 77 per cent 
  • Proportion of Victorians living outside Greater Melbourne: 23 per cent
  • Proportion of Victorian households reporting a household annual income of less than $40,000: 22.5 per cent 
  • Proportion of Victorian households reporting a household annual income of greater than $100,000: 27.1 per cent 
  • Proportion of Victorians born overseas: 28.3 per cent 
  • Proportion of Victorians born overseas or having a parent born overseas: 49.1 per cent
  • Number of languages and dialects spoken: 260+ 
  • Number of religious faiths: 130+

Who we are

With a population of 6.5 million in June 2018 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a), Victoria is Australia's second-most populous state after New South Wales.

Victoria represents approximately 25 per cent of Australia's population.

All Australian states and territories (except the Northern Territory) experienced population growth between 2017 and 2018, with Victoria having the largest growth (139,700 people), followed by New South Wales (119,500) and Queensland (86,000) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a).

Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory grew the fastest (that is, it had the strongest growth rate), increasing by 2.2 per cent (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a).

Victoria's capital Melbourne had the largest growth of all greater capital cities (an additional 125,400 people), as well as the fastest growth (2.7 per cent) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a). 'Based on current growth patterns, Melbourne may overtake Sydney as the nation's most populous city as early as 2031 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018b).

By 2027, Victoria's population is expected to reach between 7.5 million and 7.9 million people – an increase from 6.5 million people in 2018 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018b).

When combined with the impacts of climate change, these population increases will present environmental, social and health challenges for Victorians, some of which we are already responding to.

Figure 1: Population of Victoria 2010, 2018 and 2027 (projected)

Age and sex distribution

At June 2018, there were slightly more females (50.5 per cent of total Victorian population) than males (49.5 per cent).

The age breakdown of Victoria's population is shown in Figure 2: 

Figure 2: Age distribution of Victoria's population

The median age of Victorians at June 2018 was 37 years (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a).

Like many Western countries, this is projected to increase in coming years as the population ages. At June 2018, 15.3 per cent of Victorians were aged 65 years and over (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a). By 2056, this figure is expected to reach 23.1 per cent (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018b). 

This has significant implications for health policy, service provision, planning and reform. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians

At the 2016 Census, 0.9 per cent of Victorians identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, representing more than 57,000 Victorians (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018). 

This compares nationally to the 3.3 per cent of Australians who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018c).

The heritage and culture of Aboriginal communities across Victoria is vibrant, rich and diverse, with nearly 40 different Aboriginal languages spoken (Department of Health and Human Services 2017). 

In recent years, Aboriginal health outcomes have improved in some areas, such as in increased rates of childhood immunisation, where 96.81 per cent of Victorian Aboriginal children aged five are now age-appropriately immunised (Department of Human Services 2018). This is slightly higher than the 95.4 per cent of all Victorian five-year-olds who are age-appropriately immunised (Department of Human Services 2018). 

Despite recent gains in some areas, Aboriginal Victorians continue to experience racism and discrimination that profoundly affect health and wellbeing (Department of Health and Human Services 2017). 

The Chief Health Officer's Health inequalities page has more information on health and wellbeing among Aboriginal Victorians. 

Rural and regional Victorians

Like most Australian states and territories, Victoria is an urbanised state, with 77 per cent of Victorians living in Greater Melbourne and 23 per cent in rural and regional Victoria (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a). 

When it comes to social capital (the networks of relationships among people), rural Victorians fare better than metropolitan Victorians on a number of indicators (Department of Health and Human Services 2017b).

According to other indicators, however, people who live in rural and regional Victoria experience poorer health than metropolitan Victorians (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018d; Department of Health and Human Services 2018a, 2018b and 2018c).  

The Chief Health Officer's Health inequalities page has more information about health and wellbeing among rural and regional Victorians.

Cultural diversity

Victoria is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse states. The 2016 Census showed that 28.3 per cent of Victorians were born overseas and 49.1 per cent were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017). 

Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak 260 languages and dialects and follow 135 religious faiths (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017). 

The most common countries of birth for Victorians identified in the 2016 and 2011 Censuses were (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017): 

Table 1: Common countries of birth for Victorians, 2016 and 2011

Country of birth Victoria 2016 per cent Victoria 2011 per cent
Australia 3,845,493 64.9 3,670,934 68.6
England 171,443 2.9 172,068 3.2
India 169,802 2.9 111,787 2.1
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 160,652 2.7 93,896 1.8
New Zealand 93,253 1.6 80,234 1.5
Vietnam 80,787 1.4 68,296 1.3

The table above shows changes in migration that are occurring in Victoria. The proportion of people born in England, for example, decreased from the 2011 Census to the 2016 Census. The number of people born in India, China, New Zealand and Vietnam increased in the same period (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017).

The most common countries of birth for Victorians in the 2016 and 2011 Censuses are summarised in Table 1 below.

Table 2: Languages spoken at home in Victoria, 2016 and 2011

Languages, top responses 2016 Victoria 2016 per cent Victoria 2011 per cent
Only English spoken at home 4,026,811 67.9 3,874,861 72.4
Mandarin 191,793 3.2 103,742 1.9
Italian 112,272 1.9 124,856 2.3
Greek 110,707 1.9  116,802  2.2 
Vietnamese 103,430  1.7  86,592  1.6 
Arabic 79,589  1.3  68,437  1.3 
 Households where a language other than English language is spoken 624,141  27.8  503,888  25.9 

Table 3 shows the languages spoken at home in Victorian households and the changes that reflect changing patterns of migration. 

While the number of people speaking only English at home increased from the 2011 Census to the 2016 Census, the proportion of people speaking English at home decreased (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017). 

A large increase in the number of households speaking Chinese occurred in the same period, with smaller increases in Vietnamese- and Arabic-speaking households (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017). 

In the same period, the number of people speaking Italian and Greek reduced (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017). 

Approximately 28 per cent of households spoke a language other than English. 

To respond to this linguistic diversity, the Department of Health and Human Services' Language services policy supports the department and its funded services (Department of Health and Human Services 2017c).

Victorians identified with more than 130 religious faiths. The number of those identifying as religious reduced from 67.7 per cent at the 2011 Census to 59 per cent in 2016 (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017).  

Approximately 48 per cent of Victorians were Christian, 3.3 per cent were Islamic, and 3 per cent were Buddhist (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017).

Among the Christian denominations, more than 23 per cent of Victorians were Catholic, almost 9 per cent were Anglican and more than 3 per cent were Uniting Church (Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017).

Low-income earners

In Victoria, 22.5 per cent of households reported a household income of less than $40,000 per year, while 27.1 per cent of households reported a household income greater than $100,000 (Department of Health and Human Services 2018d). 

Women were more likely to report a household income of less than $40,000 and less likely to report a household income of more than $100,000 than men (Department of Health and Human Services 2018d).

Table 3: Income distribution, Victorian men, women and all people

Income Males per cent  Females per cent Total
< $20,000 5.5 4. 5.1
$20,000 to < $40,000  15.9  18.8 17.4
$40,000 to < $60,000  11.2 11.3 11.2
$60,000 to < $80,000  11.5 9.2 10.3
$80,000 to < $100,000  9.5 8.5 9.0
$100,000+  29.2 25.1 27.1
Don't know/refused to answer  17.2  22.4  19.1

Household income is one of the social determinants of health. See the Chief Health Officer's Social determinants of health page for more information on the social determinants of health.

Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage

The Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD) is a general socioeconomic index that summarises information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018e). 

Unlike the other indexes, this index includes only measures of relative disadvantage (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018e). 

Each local government area in Victoria can be mapped according to most disadvantaged through to least disadvantaged. 

Figure 3: Index of Relative Social Disadvantage – rural and regional Victoria
Figure 4: Index of Relative Social Disadvantage – metropolitan Melbourne

These maps show that rural local government areas of Victoria are more likely to be classified as most disadvantaged compared with metropolitan local government areas. 

See the Chief Health Officer's Social determinants of health page for more information on the social determinants of health. 

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2071.0: Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the Census, 2016, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018a, 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2018, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018b, 3222.0: Population Projections, Australia, 2017 - 2066, ABS, Canberra. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2018c, Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2016. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018d, National Health Survey: First Results 2017-18. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018e, Local government area (LGA) Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage, distribution of statistical area level 1 deciles, 2016, ABS, Canberra. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2017a, Korin Korin Balit-Djak Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017–27, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Department of Health and Human Services 2017b, Inequalities in the social determinants of health and what it means for the health of Victorians: findings from the 2014 Victorian Population Health Survey, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2017c, Languages services policy, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Department of Health and Human Services 2018a, Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset. Public hospital admissions, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2018b, Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset. Public hospital admissions, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2018c, Victorian Health Information Surveillance System, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2018d, Victorian population health survey 2016, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Department of Human Services 2018, Australian Immunisation Register data, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. 

Victorian Multicultural Commission 2017, 2016 census: Victoria's diverse population brochure, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Who we are

Overview

On a number of indicators, Victorians have very good health. They are living longer and are improving their health status on several measures.

Demographic data 2018

Victoria is Australia's second-most populous state after New South Wales and represents approximately 25 per cent of Australia's population.