Western Australia, or WA, is the largest state in Australia. It occupies the whole western third of the country. The Indian Ocean borders Western Australia to the west and north, the Great Australian Bight and the Southern Ocean to the south, South Australia to the southeast and the Northern Territory to the northeast. Western Australia is also the second-largest country subdivision in the world.
Despite its grand size, only 11% of Australia’s population live in the state – around 2.5 million inhabitants. 92% of Western Australia’s residents live in the southwest region near the capital of the state – Perth. Western Australia has the fastest growing population of all the Australian states – growing by 110,000 in just 2013. In 2014, Western Australia had an estimated population of 2.52 million, which makes it the 4th most populous state in Australia.
Due to Western Australia having such an immense area – around 2.6 million square kilometers -- and a relatively low population, the population density is just less than one person per square km or 2.5 people per square mile. The majority of Western Australia is made up of a desert area with a tiny proportion of the population living closer inland than nearer to the coastal regions which have a more Mediterranean feel to the climate.
Most of the population make their home in Perth and its surrounding metropolitan area – residents there make up 75% of the state’s population. Perth has an estimated population of 1.97 million, which makes it the 4th most populous city in all of Australia. The area around Perth is coastal and more pleasant in terms of climate. It has a higher population density of 310 persons per km squared which only goes to emphasize the sparsely inhabited rest of Western Australia. Perth became known as the "City of Light" when residents lit their homes and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead in 1962 and again in 1998.
The city of Mandurah is the second-largest city in Western Australia and sits about 45 miles south of Perth with a population of 84,000 and a population density of 636 people per square mile, or 1,647 per square mile. The city is a popular tourist destination and a retirement community.
Bunbury is the third-largest city of Western Australia with a population of 70,000, which makes it the 27th largest city in Australia. Bunbury has a population density of 492 people per square mile or 1,270 per square mile.
77.5% of the people in Western Australia report being of European descent. 32.7% of the state’s population report being of English origin. Only 22.8% of the residents of Western Australian would cite Australian as their ethnic background. In Western Australia around 15% of the population do not speak English at home – the languages spoken range from a variety of the surrounding areas such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and others. The biggest group of religious people in Western Australia report to be Roman Catholic; other Christian religions make up the most significant majority of the state.
After this Buddhism is a popular choice – probably due to the number of those of South Asian and Indonesian origin, Western Australia has a relatively low median age of around 36 years. It has been increasing to this number due to a decrease in fertility and an increase in longevity. An interesting fact about the population in Australia and mainly Western Australia is the huge unbalance of males to females. The numbers, for Western Australia, in 1901 were around 155.7 males to every 100 women, these days numbers are more even with approximately 100.2 males for every female – reported in 2001. For Australia as a whole, numbers are now overcompensated with only 98.3 males to every female.
Despite its vast uninhabitable area, Western Australia contributes 58% of Australia’s mineral and energy exports. It also provides a potential 4.6% of Australia’s GDP. Western Australia also has the highest earning per person than any other state. An increasingly important industry for the state is tourism with 28% of visitors coming from the UK and Ireland to manly visit the coastal areas of the state. Another bonus of the coastal regions is the booming fishing industry which enables a significant boost to Western Australia.