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Christmas Island—2016 Census Data Fact Sheet

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  • Total population: 1843
  • Median age: 38
  • Most common ancestry: Chinese
  • Most common country of birth: Australia
  • Most common religion: Islam and Buddhism
  • Median weekly personal income: $1,164
  • Median weekly household income: $2,141
  • Average household size: 2.7 people



The total population of Christmas Island (CI) in 2016 was 1,8432. Of these, 61.3% of the population were male and 38.7% were female.

In 2011, 70.7% of the population were male and 29.3% were female.

In 2016, there were 305 families on island. For those with children, the average number was 1.9 children.

Chart shows the CI population result for each Census from 1996. The population of CI was 1906 people in 1996, 1446 in 2001, 1349 in 2006, 2072 in 2011 and 1843 in 2016.


In 2016, the median age was 38, which is the same as the national median age. People aged 65 years and over made up 9.7% of the population. Children (0—14 years) made up 17.0% of the population.

The proportion of residents aged 65 and over has increased since 2006, where 5.1% of people were 65 years or older. At the same time, the proportion of residents aged 0—14 years has decreased from 23.4% in 2006 to 17.0% in 2016.

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Cultural and language diversity


In 2016, the most common ancestries on CI were Chinese (21.2%), Australian (12.7%), Malay (12.0%), English (10.9%) and Irish (2.3%).

This remains similar to 2011, when the most common ancestries on CI were Chinese (18.3%), Australian (11.7%), Malay (9.3%), English (8.9%) and Irish (2.3%).

Chart shows 21.2% of the CI population identified as having Chinese ancestry, 12.7% Australian, 12% Malay, 10.9% English and 2.3% Irish.

Country of Birth

In 2016, 38.5% of people on CI were Australian-born. Following Australia, the most common countries of birth were Malaysia (20.1%), New Zealand (3.0%), England (2.5%), Singapore (2.4%) and Iran (1.7%).

43.2% of people had both parents born overseas, while 16.7% of people had both parents born in Australia. 7.0% of people had only their mother born overseas, while 5.4% had only their father born overseas. The most common birthplaces for parents were Malaysia, Australia, China, Singapore and England.

Language Spoken at Home

In 2016, more than half (50.9%) of households on CI reported that a non-English language was spoken at home.

27.8% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin (17.2%), Malay (17.2%), Cantonese (3.7%), Min Nan (1.5%) and Tagalog (1.0%).


Islam has overtaken Buddhism as the most common religious affiliation on CI.

In 2016, the most common responses for religion on CI were Islam (19.4%), Buddhism (18.1%) and Catholic (8.9%). 15.2% identified as having No Religion.

In 2011, the most common responses for religion on CI were Buddhism (16.8%), Islam (14.8%), No Religion (9.2%), Catholic (7.0%) and Anglican (3.8%).

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In 2016, the median weekly personal income for people aged 15 years and over on CI was $1,164. This figure is nearly double the national median weekly personal income of $662.

The median weekly personal income on CI increased by 14.0% ($143) from 2011 to 2016, compared to 14.7% nationally. This increase is less than 2006 to 2011, which was 49.7% ($339), compared to 23.8% nationally.

The median weekly household income on CI was $2,141, which was higher than the national median of $1,438. Approximately a quarter (24.9%) of households had a weekly income of more than $3000, compared to 16.4% nationally.

Chart shows the increase of the CI median weekly personal income.  The CI figure increased from $682 in 2006, to $1,021 in 2011 and $1,164 in 2016.
Over the same time, the national median weekly personal income increased from $466 in 2006, to $577 in 2011 and $662 in 2016.

Unpaid Work

In the week before the 2016 Census, 47.0% of people aged 15 years and over did unpaid domestic work, this compared to the national median of 69.0%.

During the two weeks before the Census, 18.2% provided care for children (compared to 27.6% nationally) and 6.0% assisted family members or others due to a disability, long-term illness or problems related to old age (compared to 11.3% nationally).

In the year before the Census, 20.3% of people did voluntary work through an organisation or a group, compared to 19.0% nationally.

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Tenure and Household Composition

In 2016, 82.3% of private dwellings on CI were occupied and 17.7% were unoccupied. Of occupied private dwellings, 51.6% were rented, 28.5% were owned outright and 14.6% were owned with a mortgage.

The average household size was 2.7 people. Of all households, 74.1% were family households, 23.4% were single person households and 2.5% were group households.

Mortgage and Rent

In 2016, median rent on CI was $152 per week, compared to the national median rent of $335 per week. Households with rent payments less than 30% of their household income comprise 97.6% (88.5% nationally), while households with rent payments greater than 30% of household income are 2.4% (11.5% nationally).

Median mortgage repayments were $1,717 per week, which is similar to the national median of $1,755. 96.5% of households had mortgage repayments less than 30% of household income, compared to 92.8% nationally.

Motor Vehicles

In 2016, 6% of occupied private dwellings on CI had no registered motor vehicles garaged or parked at their address, 35.8% had one registered motor vehicle, 36.0% had two registered motor vehicles and 17.5% had three or more registered motor vehicles.

Internet Connection

In 2016, 78.6% of households on CI had at least one person access the internet. This could have been through a desktop/laptop computer, mobile or smart phone, tablet, music or video player, gaming console, smart TV or any other device.

1 All data in this document is sourced from: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, ‘Christmas Island (Statistical Area Level 3)’, censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/90101;

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Christmas Island, time series spreadsheet, cat. no. 2003.0, censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/communityprofile/90101

2 This figure includes 240 detainees in the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, as at 9 August 2016.

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