For the First time since 1911, the 2021 national Census collected information about veterans. The RSL played a key role in petitioning the Australian Government for the question about veterans to be included in the Census. This data will now be used as a key resource to assist RSL Victoria and other organisations in continuing to evolve their service delivery and support efforts to be more accessible to local veterans and their families. The data revealed that Victoria is home to around 18% of Australia’s veteran population. The majority of our veterans live within the Greater Melbourne area but there are also large numbers living in the Geelong, Latrobe – Gippsland and Hume regional areas.

Key national insights

  • More than half a million Australians (581,139) have served, or are currently serving, in the ADF.
  • There are 84,865 current serving members and 496,276 former serving members.
  • 3,159 (3.7 per cent) of currently serving Australian Defence Force members, and 11,610 (2.3 per cent) of previously served, identify as having Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
  • 1 in 5 active service members are female.

For more insights into the Census data on veterans visit Census, 2021: Service With the Australian Defence Force Data