Paper describes Australia's average jihadi

Australia's average Islamist terrorist is most likely a man in his mid-20s, living in Sydney, married, with overseas-born parents, no prior criminal record or mental health issues, has completed high school and is working a blue-collar job.

The description of Australia's "average" terrorist comes after the Lowy Institute studied a range of available data on the background of 173 Australian citizens and residents known to have joined radical Islamist terrorist organisations or who have been charged with terrorism offences.

In a working paper published on Thursday, the think tank said the research was done in order to better understand the typologies and motivations of those who are likely to be attracted to the messaging of groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda, warning "there is no indication that the siren call of jihad has been silenced".

"Since 2012 several hundred Australians have travelled to Syria and Iraq to undertake jihad ... dozens more provided financial support ... or planned conducted or supported terrorist attacks in Australia on behalf of Islamic State," the report opens.

"The scale of this episode of jihadism has been unprecedented."

The paper, led by research fellow Rodger Shanahan, ended with the observation that while there is no such thing as an "average" Australian jihadi, if one were to be constructed from their data he would likely have specific characteristics.

The paper noted that society's common perception of Islamist terrorists is that they are "overwhelmingly young, male, poorly educated, unemployed or on welfare and from broken homes", which is not "particularly accurate".

The study also found its data supported the observation by Australia's director-general of security that there is no evidence to suggest a connection between refugees and terrorism.