Cairns Population 2024

Cairns is Queensland’s 5th most populated city with population over 150,000. Cairns region has experienced an average annual growth rate of 1.06% over the last 12 years. Two thirds of Tropical North Queensland’s population growth is accommodated within the Cairns region.

Based on our research Cairns population will reach 159,718 by the end of June 2024. We use end of June each year due to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) always follow Australian financial year when pushed the data. The calculation is based on the average growth rate of 1.04% over last 12 years since 2011. We believe using the recent years’ figures (see the table in next section) will make the estimation more accurate.

Population Growth of Cairns

Looking back last twelve years of Cairns’ population, the growth rate is very consistent and strong ranging from 0.56% to 1.74%, adding around 838 to 2,505 people each year to the overall population. The reasons contribute to the population growth is that tourism is consistently strong over the years. Tourism creates a lot of job opportunities in Cairns. On the other hand, relax living style also attract retirees living here.

Year Population Growth rate
2011 139,693 n/a
2012 142,124 1.74%
2013 144,330 1.55%
2014 146,835 1.74%
2015 147,993 0.79%
2016 149,329 0.90%
2017 150,255 0.62%
2018 151,093 0.56%
2019 152,798 1.13%
2020 154,230 0.94%
2021 155,560 0.86%
2022 156,920 0.87%
2023 158,080 0.74%


Demography of Cairns

According to census, the top six countries of birth for people in Cairns are: Australia, England, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and India. The top five languages (other than English) spoken in Cairns are: Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Italian, and German.

The religious makeup of Cairns is: No religion (25.7%), Catholic (21.7%), Religious affiliation not stated (19.7%), Anglican (13.0%), Buddhism (3.5%), Uniting Church (3.1%), Presbyterian and Reformed (2.6%), Christian (1.9%), Other Religious Groups (1.3%), Eastern Orthodox(1.0%)

Population Density of Cairns

Cairns’s population density is 581 people per square kilometer, which is ranking 5th most populated city in Queensland after Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville.

Occupations and Industries

According to census, the main occupations of people living in Cairns City are 20.9% Professionals, 19.6% Managers, 12.0% Sales workers, 11.0% Community & personal service workers, 11.0% Clerical & administrative workers, 9.1% Technicians & trades workers, 8.8% Labourers, 4.7% Machinery operators & drivers, 2.9% Occupation inadequately described/ Not stated.

The main industries people from Cairns work in are 20.7% Accommodation and food services, 11.6% Retail trade, 10.3% Health care and social assistance, 6.4% Transport, postal and warehousing, 5.9% Public administration and safety, 5.1% Administrative and support services, 5.1% Professional, scientific and technical services, 4.7% Education and training, 4.6% Rental, hiring and real estate services.

Facts About Cairns

  1. Cairns is considered the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical North Queensland.
  2. The Cairns region is home to the world’s most dangerous bird – this is the Cassowary which is a large, flightless bird known for inflicting fatal injuries to dogs and humans when disturbed.
  3. Mount Bartle Frere (1622 meters) is Queensland highest point and is located due south of the city of Cairn.
  4. Cairn is home to Undara National Park which boasts the world’s longest lava vents.
  5. Cairns is home to the world’s fiercest bird: the Cassowary.
  6. With the “discovery” of the Great Barrier Reef in the 1970s and the appeal of the local climate, tourism snowballed in Cairns.
  7. The town of Cairns was created over the site of a sea-slug fishing camp when gold was found to the north in 1876.
  8. Cairns is the main centre of Northern Queensland.


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