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  • Crispin Till

    Email Crispin Till

    Census snapshot reveals details of Cairns' growing but ageing population


    Think you know how much Tropical North Queensland has changed between the 2006 and 2016 Census?

    A snapshot of data from the 2016 Census shows there have been some big changes in population in the Cairns local government area in the past decade, with more retirees and indigenous people calling the city home.

    The ABS data provides an insight into life in the Cairns local government area, which stretches from north of Innisfail to north of Palm Cove.

    Breaking the figures down, Cairns' population is now 156,901 people an increase of 23.1 per cent or 29,467 people from 2006.



    Our median age is up slightly from 35 years to 37 years, with 104,869 TNQ locals falling within the 15 to 64 year age bracket. At the younger end of the scale, between 0 – 14 years, there are 32,101 people and there are 19,917 people in the over 65 age bracket.

    While the over 65 age bracket is the smallest in terms of overall population, this sector increased by 75.6 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

    Cairns' indigenous population is 14,094 people, an increase of 42.1 per cent, or 4,174 people in the past 10 years. The indigenous population now accounts for 9 per cent of the population within the Cairns local government area.

    TNQ locals are also paying more to live in our tropical paradise with rents and mortgages also rising, however, personal and family incomes are also higher in 2016 when compared with 2006.

    Other Cairns local government area statistics from the 2016 Census include:

    • One parent households make up 12 per cent of the population.

    • Lone person households make up 23 of the population.

    • Median weekly rental payments are up by 50 per cent to $300.

    • Median personal weekly income is up by 30.7 per cent to $693.

    • Median family weekly income is up by 34 per cent to $1605.

    • Median monthly mortgage repayments are up 31.3 per cent to $1,665.

    • The average household size has remained the same at 2.5 people.

    • The number of Cairns residents who speak a language other than English increased to 13.3 per cent.

    • The number of Cairns residents with both parents born overseas increased to 26.1 per cent.