Statistical information Australia 1996Australia

Map of Australia | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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Australia in the World
Australia in the World

World Nomads

Australia - Introduction 1996
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Background: Australia became a British commonwealth in 1901. Blessed by rich natural resources, the country enjoyed rapid gains in herding, agriculture, and manufacturing and made a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Australia subsequently developed its minerals, metals, and fossil fuel markets, all of which have become key Australian exports. Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia - Geography 1996
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Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 7,686,850 km²
Land: 7,617,930 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than the U.S.
Comparative note: Includes Macquarie Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 25,760 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north

Terrain: Mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast

Extremes lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Kosciusko 2,229 m

Natural resources:
Iron ore
Mineral sands
Natural gas

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 6%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 58%
Forests and woodland: 14%
Other: 22%

Irrigated land: 18,800 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Australia - People 1996
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18,260,863 (July 1996 est.)
18,322,231 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
0.99% (1996 est.)
1.31% (1995 est.)

Noun: Australian(s)
Adjective: Australian

Ethnic groups:
Caucasian 95%
Asian 4%
Aboriginal and other 1%

LanguagesEnglish, native languages

Anglican 26.1%
Roman Catholic 26%
Other Christian 24.3%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
21% (male 2,009,915; female 1,912,605) (July 1996 est.)
22% (male 2,032,238; female 1,929,366) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
66% (male 6,129,285; female 5,980,315) (July 1996 est.)
67% (male 6,181,887; female 6,017,362) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
13% (male 967,291; female 1,261,452) (July 1996 est.)
11% (male 934,374; female 1,227,004) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
0.99% (1996 est.)
1.31% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
13.99 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
14.13 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
6.88 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
7.37 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
2.74 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
6.33 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
Current issues Natural hazards: cyclones along the coast; severe droughts
International agreements: party to_Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Desertification
International agreements note: World's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; regular, tropical, invigorating, sea breeze known as "the Doctor" occurs along the west coast in the summer

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
All ages:
1 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:5.5 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
7.1 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 79.39 years (1996 est.), 77.78 years (1995 est.)
Male: 76.44 years (1996 est.), 74.67 years (1995 est.)
Female: 82.5 years (1996 est.), 81.04 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.84 children born/woman (1996 est.)
1.82 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write (1980 est.)
Total population: 100%
Male: 100%
Female: 100%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Australia - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
Conventional short form: Australia

Government type: Federal parliamentary state

Capital: Canberra

Administrative divisions: 6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia Dependent Areas:Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island

Dependent areas

Independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of U.K. colonies)

National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788)

Constitution: 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901

Legal system: Based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir William DEANE (since 16 February 1996) who was appointed by the queen
Head of government: Prime Minister John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March 1996) was appointed by the governor general; Deputy Prime Minister Timothy Andrew FISCHER (since 11 March 1996)
Cabinet: Cabinet was selected from among the members of Federal Parliament by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch: Bicameral Federal Parliament Senate:Elections last held 2 March 1996 (next to be held NA 1999; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(76 total) Liberal-National 37, Labor 29, Australian Democrats 8, Greens 1, independent 1 House of Representatives:Elections last held 2 March 1996 (next to be held NA 1999; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(148 total) Liberal-National 94, Labor 49, independent 5

Judicial branch: High Court, the Chief Justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AG (observer), ANZUS, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G- 8, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OECD, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNAMIR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Australia: Blue with the flag of the U.K. in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant; the remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Australia - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: Australia has a prosperous Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP comparable to levels in highly industrialized West European countries. Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, minerals, metals, and fossil fuels. Commodities account for more than 80% of the value of total exports, so that, as in 1983-84, a downturn in world commodity prices can have a big impact on the economy. The government is pushing for increased exports of manufactured goods, but competition in international markets continues to be severe. Australia has suffered from the low growth and high unemployment characterizing the OECD countries in the early 1990s. In 1992-93 the economy recovered slowly from the prolonged recession of 1990-91, a major restraining factor being weak world demand for Australia's exports. Growth picked up so strongly in 1994 that the government felt the need for fiscal and monetary tightening by yearend. Australia's GDP grew 6.4% in 1994, largely due to increases in industrial output and business investment. A severe drought in 1994 reduced the value of Australia's net farm production, but rising world commodity prices are likely to boost commodity exports by 15% to $42.4 billion in 1995/96, according to government statistics. Short-term economic problems include a balancing of output growth and inflationary pressures and the stimulation of exports to offset rising imports.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
3.3% (1995 est.)
6.4% (1994)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Accounts for 5% of GDP and over 30% of export revenues; world's largest exporter of beef and wool, second-largest for mutton, and among top wheat exporters; major crops_wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruit; livestock_cattle, sheep, poultry

Industrial and transportation equipment
Food processing

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 3.9% (FY93/94; accounts for 32% of GDP

Labor force: 8.63 million (September 1991)
By occupation Finance and services: 33.8%
By occupation Public and community services: 22.3%
By occupation Wholesale and retail trade: 20.1%
By occupation Manufacturing and industry: 16.2%
By occupation Agriculture: 6.1% (1987)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
8.1% (December 1995)
8.9% (December 1994)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $95.69 billion (FY95/96), $83.8 billion (FY93/94)
Expenditures: $95.15 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY95/96 est.), $92.3 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY93/94)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July_30 June

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $51.57 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
$50.4 billion (1994)

Machinery and transport equipment

Japan 25%
U.S. 11%
South Korea 6%
NZ 5.7%
Hong Kong (1992)

Total value:
$57.41 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
$51.1 billion (1994)

Machinery and transport equipment
Computers and office machines
Crude oil and petroleum products

U.S. 23%
Japan 18%
U.K. 6%
Germany 5.7%
NZ 4% (1992)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $147.2 billion (1994)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Australia - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 155 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 8,021 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Australia - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 8.7 million telephones (1987 est.); good international and domestic service
Local: NA
Intercity: domestic satellite service
International: submarine cables to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia; satellite earth stations_10 Intelsat (4 Indian Ocean and 6 Pacific Ocean), 2 Inmarsat (Indian and Pacific Ocean Regions)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Australia - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $7.3 billion, 2.0% of GDP (FY95/96), $7.2 billion, 2.2% of GDP (FY94/95)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Australia - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 442
With paved runways over 3047 m: 9
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 13
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 22
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 146 (1995 est.)
With paved runways under 914 m: 30

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 9
2438 to 3047 m: 13
15-24 to 2437 m: 22
914 to 1523 m: 146 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 30

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Crude oil 2,500 km; petroleum products 500 km; natural gas 5,600 km



Waterways: 8,368 km; mainly by small, shallow-draft craft

Merchant marine
Total: 76 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,547,869 GRT/3,679,534 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 30, cargo 4, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 1, container 6, liquefied gas tanker 6, oil tanker 18, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, short-sea passenger 1 (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

Australia - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate


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