69% Australia is desert (arid & semi-arid). The desert supports 3% of our population, more than Tasmania and the ACT.
- Australia (excluding Antarctica) is the driest continent on earth with more than 69% of its 7.7 million km 2 classified as desert (which includes arid and semi-arid lands).
- World deserts cover 45 million km 2 , approximately 30% of the global land surface. About one billion people occupy these areas. Australia’s 5.3 million km 2 of desert is about 11% of this total.
- The 5.3 million km 2 of desert in Australia is occupied by 574,000 people (3% of the total population).
- The arid zone of the continent covers 3.5 million km 2 and 180,000 people reside there, or just 0.9% of the total population.
- The semi-arid zone (surrounding the arid core) covers 1.8 million km 2 and supports 394,000 people, or 2% of the total population.
- Aboriginal people reside in as many as 1300 discrete communities widely distributed across their traditional lands, with many communities supporting fewer than 50 persons.
The major deserts in Australia are:
- Great Victoria Desert: 424,400 km2
- Great Sandy Desert: 284,993 km2
- Tanami Desert: 184,500 km2
- Simpson Desert: 176,500 km2
- Gibson Desert: 156,000 km2
- Little Sandy Desert: 111,500 km2
- Strzelecki Desert: 80,250 km2
- Sturt Stony Desert: 29,750 km2
- Tirari Desert: 15,250 km2
- Pedirka Desert: 1,250 km2