Monday, 2 April 2018

Rate of homelessness is rising across Australia - including in New South Wales

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), media release, 14 March 2018:

Census reveals a rise in the rate of homelessness in Australia 

The rate of homelessness in Australia has increased 4.6 per cent over the last five years, according to new data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

The latest estimates reveal more than 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night, representing 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 people.

Dr Paul Jelfs, General Manager of Population and Social Statistics, said that while there was an overall increase in the estimate of homelessness in Australia, this number is made up of various distinct groups and each tells a different story.

People living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings, defined as requiring four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate the people who usually live there, was the greatest contributor to the national increase in homelessness.

“In 2016, this group accounted for 51,088 people, up from 41,370 in 2011.

“On Census night, 8,200 people were estimated to be ‘sleeping rough’ in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out – an increase from 3.2 persons per 10,000 people in 2011 to 3.5 persons per 10,000 people in 2016,” Dr Jelfs said.

Younger and older Australians have also emerged as groups experiencing increasing homelessness in Australia.

“One quarter of all people experiencing homelessness in 2016 was aged between 20 and 30 years,” Dr Jelfs said.

People aged between 65 and 74 years experiencing homelessness increased to 27 persons per 10,000 people, up from 25 persons per 10,000 people in 2011.

Recent migrants (those who arrived within the five years prior to the 2016 Census) accounted for 15 per cent of the homeless estimate. Almost three quarters of this group were living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings and the majority came from countries in South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Southern and Central Asia, including India, China and Afghanistan.

The overall number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness in 2016 was 23,437. More than two out of three were living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings, with just less than 10 per cent ‘sleeping rough’.

Dr Jelfs also acknowledged the support of service providers in enumerating the homeless.

“I would like to thank the service providers and staff who worked with the ABS to tackle the difficult challenge of enumerating this population group and maximise the quality of this important information,” Dr Jelfs said.

Further 2016 Census homelessness data can be found on the ABS website


On Census Night in 2016 the number of people who were listed as homeless in NSW:

37,715 persons in total, of which 22,698 were male and 15,010 were female
1,801 of the men and 981 of the women were 65 years of age and older
3,963 were children under 12 years

On Census Night in 2016 the number of people who were listed as homeless in the NSW Northern Rivers region by Local Government Area:

Tweed – 444 (compared to 308 in 2011)
Tweed Heads 156, Tweed Heads 47, South Murwillumbah 49, Murwillumbah Region 52, Kingscliff-Fingal Head 51, Banora Point 45, Pottsville 42

Byron - 327 (compared to 279 in 2011)
Byron Bay 146, Mullumbimby 121, Bangalow 31, Brunswick Heads-Ocean Shores 29
Lennox Head-Skennars Head 4

Lismore - 309 (compared to 283 in 2011)
Lismore 153, Lismore Region 93, Goonellabah 67

Clarence Valley - 230 (compared to 198 in 2011)
Grafton 89, Grafton Region 103, Maclean-Yamba-Iluka 37

Ballina - 77 (compared to 142 in 2011)
Ballina 52, Ballina Region 22

Richmond Valley - 73 (compared to 69 in 2011)
Casino 44, Casino Region 20, Evans Head 15

Kyogle - 34 (compared to 21 in 2011)
Kyogle 27

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