Living in Oz

Fun web

Basic Info

Australia is a large country . The 6th largest in the world. Smaller than Brazil but bigger than two Indias. In terms of population it is the 52nd country with 23 million people. This means there are vast areas that are uninhabited or very scarcely inhabited. Much of the country is dry and arid and hot – desert or semi desert and uninhabitable. 90% of people live in one of Australia’s 8 main cities. You will certainly arrive in one of these cities and unless you work in the mining industry

Whilst you will find people of almost every possible nationality and language somewhere in Australia, the language of business and commerce is English. Although some people will find they can get by without English but this will be difficult unless you have specialist skills or don’t mind hard or boring work.

These are:
City Size More info
Sydney 5 million Sydney City Guide
Melbourne 4 million Melbourne City Guide
Brisbane & Gold Coast 3 million Brisbane & Gold Coast City Guide
Perth 1.5 million Perth City Guide
Adelaide 1 million Adelaide City Guide
Darwin 0.2 million Darwin City Guide

Standard of Living

Australian cities have a high standard of living. In many surveys and measures that account for housing, public transport, clean air, entertainment, safety and crime rates -  standards of Living Australia cities rank highly.

The following map is taken from the Economist Magazine and shows Australia has 4 cities in the top 10 in the world for standard of living.  This places it ahead of Canada as having probably the best cities to live in the world.



In a comparison of people in the 34 OECD member countries, using 11 indicators – such as income, education and health – weighted equally, the OECD's Better Life Initiative found that Australians were the most satisfied with their lives.

In order, the next nine happiest countries were: Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the US, Switzerland, Finland and the Netherlands.

Costs, conversions and cash

Australia has become quite expensive to live in recent years.  If you are interested in the economics of this – the reason it is that Australia’s terms of trade experienced a steep increase in the last decade due to a high demand for its natural resources (iron ore and coal) creating a high demand for its currency. This has combined with low unemployment to avoid some of the economic problems faced in Europe and the United States. As a basic rule – costs of living in Sydney are the same as in Paris and Singapore. So unless you come from Japan, Switzerland or Norway you will find Australia quite expensive.

There are two things most Australian people and visitors complain about in Australia – the cost of food and the cost of renting or purchasing a house in one of the cities.

For basic food items

It is cheaper than Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, and Brazil. But more expensive than US, UK, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Chile, Japan

For basic consumer items however it is cheap:

It is cheaper than UK, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Sweden , France and Brazil And only more expensive than China, Japan and the US

Australian cost of living chart
  Food Consumer Items & shopping Renting property Study and tuition Buying Property
Cheaper than Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil UK, NZ Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, Germany, France, UK Studying in Oz Buying Property in Oz
More expensive than US, UK, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Chile, Japan China, Japan, US US Studying in Oz Buying Property in Oz

The Good news amongst all of this is the wages in Australia are also relatively high so that even those on average wages can afford still a reasonable standard of living.  In fact – Australia has the highest minimum wage rate in the world.

Mercer city cost of living index 2011 (reproduced)