You can’t turn on the news, or open a news paper without hearing about the “ordinary Australian”.
Most people would have a pretty clear idea in their head of what the “ordinary Aussie” looks like, and how they live.
They’re English speaking, Australian born (and parents born here too), christian, and of English ancestry. They’re also married, living with their spouse and two children in their free-standing, three bedroom mortgaged home, own two cars, and have an income of $104,000–$129,999 a year.
Is that what you imagined? Because that is the picture the 2016 census painted of the ordinary Aussie.
The thing is, this is no longer the ordinary Australian. This version of the ordinary Australian is becoming less common.
An ABC News article analysed how different states and cities across Australia stack up when measured by these common characteristics, and found that when it’s all said and done, the profile of the ordinary Australian is really quite misleading.
In fact, only 5,782 Australians, or 0.02 per cent of the population actually fit this narrow profile of the ordinary Aussie!
Carol Johnson, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Adelaide told ABC that the findings are “astonishing”.
“It absolutely shows that if the ‘ordinary’ Australian is conceived in that way, then the ‘ordinary’ Australian just doesn’t exist anymore,” she said.
Although politicians like to use the “ordinary Aussie” as a way to get people to identify with what they’re saying, it has never actually been defined.
“Politicians use the phrase ‘ordinary’ Australian to try to create a conception … that fits into their political narrative,” Johnson said.
“They don’t actually spell it out because that might alienate people. They use it as a broad, vague concept that they hope people identify with … even if they’re not really included.”