Department of Family and Community Services

Key findings

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As at August 2011, there were 3.5 million women in NSW, representing 51 percent of the state’s population.

NSW is highly urbanised, with 64 percent of women residing in Sydney, the largest city in Australia, and a further 12 percent of women in the Hunter Valley and Illawarra regions. The remaining 24 percent of women reside in regional, rural and remote areas.

At the time of the 2011 Census, 2.5 percent of women in NSW identified as being Aboriginal Australians. There has been a significant increase, 25 percent, in the number of Aboriginal women living in NSW since the 2006 Census.

More immigrant women settle in NSW than in any other state – over 36,280, in 2011-12. Immigrant women’s presence in Sydney is significantly greater than in regional NSW (35 percent of women in Sydney are overseas born compared to 11 percent in regional NSW). Similarly, a larger proportion of women living in Sydney than regional NSW spoke a language other than English at home (38 percent compared to 9 percent).

The median age of NSW women in 2011 was 38.3 years – nearly two years older than the median age of men. A girl born in 2011 in NSW can expect to live for 84.2 years, compared to 79.8 years for a boy.

NSW’s total fertility rate has been increasing in recent years, and in 2011, at 1.9 births per 1,000 women, was just under the national rate.

Women are having children at a later age. The median age of first-time mothers in 2011 was 29.2 years, compared to 28.8 years a decade earlier.