Cairns is a city in the Cairns Region of Queensland in Australia, situated on the east coast of Far North Queensland. It has the fifth highest population in Queensland (after Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Townsville), and ranks 14th in the country. Over 160,000 people live in the Cairns urban area, with as many as two-thirds of the Tropical North Queensland population residing within the Cairns region. The population density of Cairns is 581 people per square kilometer.
According to the most recent census, most people residing in Cairns are from Australia, England, Japan, New Zealand, India, and Korea, with the top five languages spoken (apart from English) being Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Italian and German.
Just over a quarter of the people living in Cairns have no religion (25.7%), while Anglicans make up 13%, Buddhists 3.5%, the Uniting Church 3.1%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.6%, Christians 1.9%, Eastern Orthodox 1% and followers of other religions 1.3%. 19.7% did not state their faith.
The median age of the population in Cairns is 39 years of age.
The most common occupations for those living in Cairns are professionals (20.9%), managers (19.6%), sales workers (12%), community and service workers (11%), clerical/administrative workers (11%) technicians and trades workers (9.1%), labourers (8.8%), and machinery operators/drivers (4.7%). 2.9% of those polled in the census did not state or describe their occupation.
The top industries in which Cairns residents are accommodation/food services (20.7%), retail (11.6%), health care/social assistance (10.3%), transport/postal/warehousing (6.4%), public administration/safety (5.9%), administrative/support services (5.1%), professional/scientific/technical services (5.1%), education and training (4.7%), and rental, hiring and real estate services (4.6%).
Cairns was founded in 1876 and was named after William Wellington Cairns, the Governor of Queensland between 1875 and 1877. The city was formed to serve the miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield; however, it fell into decline when a more accessible route was identified from Port Douglas. Cairns later developed into a railhead as well as a major port for exporting gold and other metals, sugar cane and agricultural products from the Atherton Tableland region. The site was gradually cleared of the swamps, and the sand ridges were filled with dry mud and ballast from Edge Hill quarry.
Cairns has grown by an average of 2.3% every year over the last decade. The reasons for this include the fact that the tourism industry has remained consistently robust over the years, and this has created a high number of job opportunities within the city. Cairns is a trendy tourist destination, and this is due in part to its tropical climate and the fact that the Greater Barrier Reef – one of the seven natural wonders of the world – can be found here. The city attracts more than two million visitors every year, making it one of the globe's top tourist hotspots. A relaxed living style has also attracted many retirees from all over the world.