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Cocos (Keeling) Islands—2016 Census Data Fact Sheet

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  • Total population: 544
  • Median age: 42
  • Most common ancestry: Malay
  • Most common country of birth: Australia
  • Most common religion: Islam
  • Most common languages: Malay and English
  • Median weekly personal income: $563
  • Median weekly household income: $1,859
  • Average household size: 3.7 people



The total population of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands2 (CKI) in 2016 was 544, comprising 140 people on West Island and 404 people on Home Island.

Of these, 49.5% were male and 50.5% were female. In 2011, 51.6% of the population were male and 48.4% were female.

In 2016, there were 153 families on island. For those with children, the average number was 1.9 children.

Chart shows the CKI population result for each Census from 1996. The population of CKI was 655 people in 1996, 621 in 2001, 572 in 2006, 550 in 2011 and 544 in 2016.


In 2016, the median age was 42, which is four years higher than the national median age. People aged 65 years and over made up 15.5% of the population. Children (0—14 years) made up 20.6% of the population.

The proportion of residents aged 65 and over has increased since 2006, where 8.7% of people were 65 years or older. At the same time, the proportion of residents aged 0—14 years has decreased from 26.6% in 2006 to 20.6% in 2016.

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Cultural and language diversity


Malay ancestry is now the most common ancestry on the CKI.

In 2016, the most common ancestries were Malay (16.6%), Australian (15.5%), Indonesian (14.3%), English (9.3%) and Javanese (5.6%).

In 2011, the most common ancestries were Australian (18.5%), Malay (15.9%), Indonesian (13.1%), English (11.7%) and Javanese (5.0%).

Chart shows 16.6% of the CKI population identified as having Malay ancestry, 15.5% Australian, 14.3% Indonesian, 9.3% English and 5.6% Javanese.

Country of Birth

In 2016, 82.5% of people on the CKI were Australian-born. Following Australia, the only other responses for country of birth were Malaysia (5.0%), New Zealand (1.1%), England (0.6%) and Singapore (0.6%).

74.0% of people had both parents born in Australia, while 6.9% of people had both parents born overseas. 3.3% of people had only their mother born overseas, while 6.3% had only their father born overseas.

Language Spoken at Home

In 2016, nearly two-thirds (63.6%) of households on the CKI reported that a non-English language was spoken at home. 69.6% of people spoke Malay at home and 22.2% of people only spoke English at home.


In 2016, the most common religions on the CKI were Islam (75.0%), Anglican (3.5%) and Catholic (1.5%). 13.4% of the population identified as having No Religion.

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In 2016, the median weekly personal income for people aged 15 years and over on the CKI was $563. This figure is lower than the national median weekly personal income of $662.

The median weekly personal income on the CKI increased by 15.6% ($76) from 2011 to 2016, compared to 14.7% nationally. This increase is less than 2006 to 2001, which was 42.8% ($146), compared to 23.8% nationally.

The median weekly household income on the CKI was $1,859, which was higher than the national median of $1,438. 11.1% of households had a weekly income of less than $650 and 17.6% of households had a weekly income of more than $3000.

Chart shows the increase of the CKI median weekly personal income. The CKI figure increased from $341 in 2006, to $487 in 2011 and $563 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, 48.7% of people aged 15 years and over did unpaid domestic work, this compares to the national median of 69.0%.

During the two weeks before the Census, 27.9% provided care for children (compared to 27.6% nationally) and 8.7% 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, 22.1% 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, 84.0% of private dwellings on the CKI were occupied and 16.0% were unoccupied. Of occupied private dwellings, 58.9% were rented, 13.7% were owned outright and 2.4% were owned with a mortgage. All occupied private dwellings were separate houses.

The average household size was 3.7 people. Of all households on the CKI, 94.6% were family households and 5.4% were single person households.

Mortgage and Rent

In 2016, median rent on the CKI was $166 per week, compared to the national median rent of $335 per week. 92.1% of households had rent payments less than 30% of household income (88.5% nationally), while households with rent payments greater than 30% of household income were 7.9% (11.5% nationally).

Median mortgage repayments were $1,029 per week, which is lower than the national median of $1,755.

Motor Vehicles

In 2016, 7.9% of occupied private dwellings on the CKI had no registered motor vehicles garaged or parked at their address, 25.7% had one registered motor vehicle garaged or parked at their address, 29.3% had two registered motor vehicles and 30.7% had three or more registered motor vehicles.

Internet Connection

In 2016, 76.1% of households 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, ‘Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Statistical Area Level 3)’, censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/90102

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, time series spreadsheet, cat. no. 2003.0, censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/communityprofile/90102

2 Home Island and West Island are the only populated islands of the 27 islands that make up the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.