2016 ABS Census Estimating Homelessness statistics released

17 Mar 2018

The ABS Census data was released on 14 March 2018. The total number of people experiencing homelessness in Australia was estimated to be 116,427. This represents an increase of 13.7 % based on the reworked 2011 figure.

The table below shows the number of people experiencing homelessness in 2016 vs 2011:

CATEGORY 2011  % Total 2016 % Total +/- 2011 +/- %
2011
Rough sleepers 6,810 6.60% 8, 200 7.00% 1,390 20.40%
Staying in supported
accomm. services
21,258 20.80% 21, 235 18.20% -23 -0.10%
Staying temporarily
with other households
17,374 17.00% 17, 725 15.20% 351 2.0%
Living in boarding
houses
14,944 14.60% 17, 503 15.00% 2,559 17.10%
Living in severely
overcrowded dwellings
41,370 40.40% 51, 088 43.90% 9,718 23.50%
In other temporary
lodgings
682 0.70% 678 0.60% -4 -0.60%
Total 102,439 100% 116,427 100% 13,988 13.70%

The above table shows that the increase in people experiencing homelessness primarily came from an increase in the number of people living in severely crowded dwellings.

Whilst the number of people sleeping rough has increased by 20.4%, this only represents an increase of 1,390.

Numbers of people experiencing homelessness by State:

STATE 2011 % Total 2016 % Total +/- 2011 +/- %
2011
New South Wales 27,479 26.8% 37,715 32.4% 10,236 37.30%
Victoria 22,306 21.8% 24,817 21.3% 2,511 11.30%
Queensland 19,039 18.6% 21,671 18.6% 2,632 13.80%
South Australia 5,816 5.7% 6224 5.3% 408 7.00%
Western Australia 9,191 9.0% 9,005 7.7% -186 -2.00%
Tasmania 1,537 1.5% 1,622 1.4% 85 5.50%
Northern Territory 15,330 15.0% 13,717 11.8% -1,613 -10.50%
Australian
Capital Territory
1,738 1.7% 1,596 1.4% -142 -8.20%
TOTAL 102,439 100.0% 116,427 100.0% 13,988 13.70%

The number of people experiencing homelessness in NSW rose dramatically compared to 2011, accounting for more than 73% of the national increase.

Key Results

  • The total number of people counted as homeless has increased by 13.7% compared to 2011
  • The ABS is quoting the rate of homelessness (i.e. number of people experiencing homelessness per 10,000) that has increased by 5%, from 48 to 50 persons per 10,000
  • The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness was 23,437 compared to 26,718 in 2011, a reduction of 12.2%
  • Most of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was reflected in people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings, up from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016;
  • Nearly 60% of homeless people in 2016 were aged under 35 years, and 42% of the increase in homelessness was in the 25 to 34 years age group (up 32% to 24,224 homeless people in 2016);

Older Australians experiencing homelessness

  • Alarmingly, the number of older Australians (aged 55 years and over) experiencing homelessness has increased from 12,461 in 2006 to 14,581 in 2011 and 18,625 in 2016
  • The rate of older persons experiencing homelessness has also increased, from 26 persons per 10,000 of the population in 2011 up to 29 persons per 10,000 in 2016.
  • Older Australians now represent 16% of the total homeless population
  • Older Australians experiencing homelessness are living in boarding houses (27%), followed by staying temporarily in other households (24%).
  • Of older Australians experiencing homelessness, the male to female ratio is 63:37
  • The number of homeless older Australian females increased by 31% to 6,866 in 2016, up from 5,234 persons in 2011.

At risk of homelessness

  • According to the ABS, the total number of people who were not classified as being homeless on Census night but were living in some form of marginal housing and may be at risk of homelessness was 96,997.
  • Of this group, 13,610 were over 55 years
  • Of the 13,610 older Australians at risk of homelessness,
    • 5,978 were in crowded dwellings
    • 5,853 lived in caravans,
    • 1,779 lived in an improvised dwelling

More information can be found here: ABS Census Statistics Estimating Homelessness 2016

To download this page click here:  2016 Estimating Homelessness Census Summary