LAST_UPDATEWed, 20 Jun 2018 10pm

Aussie Homeless Population Up 13 Pct In 2011-2016

CANBERRA -- Australia's homeless population has grown more than 13 percent in five years according to data revealed on Wednesday, reported China's Xinhua news agency.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)' 2016 Census of Population and Housing released on Wednesday, 116,427 people were homeless at the time of the Census, up from 102,439 in 2011.

The rate of homelessness has also grown, up 4.6 percent to 50 homeless persons per 10,000 people. Paul Jelfs, general manager of population and social statistics at the ABS, said that people living in "severely crowded" dwellings, defined as requiring four or more additional bedrooms to comfortably accommodate the people who live there, were the biggest contributors to the homeless growth.

"In 2016, this group accounted for 51,088 people, up from 41,370 in 2011," Jelfs said in a media release on Wednesday.

"On Census night, 8,200 people were estimated to be 'sleeping rough' in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out -- an increase from 3.2 persons per 10,000 people in 2011 to 3.5 persons per 10,000 people in 2016."

There was significant growth in the homelessness rate of younger and older Australians, Jelfs said, with one quarter of all homeless Australians in 2016 aged between 20 and 30 years.

The rate of people aged 65 to 74 experiencing homelessness also grew to 27 persons per 10,000, up from 25 in 2011. Recent migrants accounted for 15 percent of the homeless population with a majority coming from countries in southeast, northeast, central and southern Asia.

The ABS collaborated with service providers to enumerate the homeless population, a task Jelfs described as a "difficult challenge."