State of the nation
Australia has always punched above its weight. We’re the sixth-largest country on the planet and the world’s largest island — although the smallest continental land mass. The country extends around 7.7 million square kilometres, but that represents around just 5% of the world’s almost 150 million km2 total.
The 1966 census recorded a population total of 11,540,764 and by 2017 that had reached 24,770,700 — an increase of more than 53% in 50 years. Looking at those figures another way; the current Australian population represents a mere 0.33% of the world’s total.
While we are small in number, our economy is ranked 13th in the world based on a GDP of around $1.5 trillion. We export over $300 billion each year and import around $350 billion. The latest published World Economic League table predicts we’ll be the 11th-largest economy by 2025.
Despite significant population growth, marriage numbers are steady and divorce rates in decline. In 1996, there were just over 106,000 marriages and 52,400 divorces. By 2016, those numbers were closer to 118,400 and 46,600 respectively.
We love our real estate. Median house prices in 1996 were $211,000 for Sydney and $131,000 for Melbourne — today those figures are closer to $906,000 and $710,000, respectively. House pricing long-run trends analysed by Bank for International Settlements (BIS) suggest that an average 8% annual increase ranks Australia’s growth rate as sixth-highest among developed nations.
We have the fourth-highest global life expectancy ranking according to World Health Organization data, trailing behind Singapore (3rd), Switzerland (2nd) and Japan (1st). In 1996, the average life expectancy was 78 years, while today it’s just under 83 years.
We’re more educated than ever before — there are nearly four million children currently enrolled in schools, another 1.3 million students in universities across Australia and an incredible 4.2 million individuals enrolled at other registered training organisations.
So, what’s the point of all these facts and figures? No matter how you look at it, we Aussies are small fish in a very big sea, but we continue to succeed on the world stage in an incredible number of ways. We consistently better our global counterparts across a broad range of measures, but why?
We’ve always been a nation of go-getters and much of our folklore is based on that spirit of innovation. We have a long and proud history of achieving great things and being acknowledged as an economic force to be reckoned with. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to take stock and look at who we are, where we’ve come from and where we want to be. More than ever, we need to embrace our strengths and trigger that spirit of innovation, our innate respect for others and the burning ambition that has led to our past accomplishments — all necessary qualities when facing the challenges that coming decades will bring.
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