Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Population >> Country of birth

COUNTRY OF BIRTH

Australia’s population has increased each year since the end of World War II, due to a combination of high post-war fertility and high levels of migration. In 1901, 23% of Australia’s population was born overseas. By 1947 the proportion of the overseas-born population had declined to 10%. The creation of a national government immigration portfolio in 1945 accompanied a gradual increase in the proportion of overseas-born Australians, and by 1995 this proportion had increased to 23%. In 2005 the number of overseas-born Australians passed 4.8 mill., representing almost one-quarter (24%) of the total population (table 5.40).

Over the past 25 years patterns of immigration have changed and the diversity of countries of birth has increased. Of the overseas-born population the United Kingdom remains the largest source country, despite having fallen from 36% of the overseas-born population in 1981 to 24% in 2005. Some of the older migrant streams, such as people born in Italy, Greece and the Netherlands, have declined in absolute numbers as their populations aged and the number of deaths exceeded net gains in population due to more recent migration.

In contrast, over the last 25 years the New Zealand-born population living in Australia nearly trebled, and in 2005 was the second largest overseas-born group (9% of the overseas-born population). There have also been large increases in people born in Asian countries. For example, the China-born population increased nearly eightfold, from 25,200 people in 1981 to 191,200 people in 2005 (making up 4% of the overseas-born population), while the Vietnam-born population increased fourfold, from 40,700 people in 1981 to 177,700 people in 2005 (also making up 4% of the overseas-born population).


5.40 MAIN COUNTRIES OF BIRTH OF THE POPULATION
1954(a)
1961(a)
1971(a)
1981(a)
1995(b)
2005(b)
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

United Kingdom(c)
664.2
755.4
1,081.3
1,075.8
1,220.9
1,137.4
New Zealand
43.4
47.0
74.1
160.7
304.2
455.1
Italy
119.9
228.3
288.3
275.0
261.6
224.3
China
10.3
14.5
17.1
25.2
107.2
191.2
Vietnam
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
40.7
157.8
177.7
India
12.0
14.2
28.7
41.0
80.0
138.7
Philippines
0.2
0.4
2.3
14.8
98.3
129.4
Greece
25.9
77.3
159.0
145.8
142.3
127.2
Germany
65.4
109.3
110.0
109.3
120.1
115.2
South Africa
6.0
7.9
12.2
26.5
58.8
113.8
Malaysia
2.3
5.8
14.4
30.5
82.8
100.3
Netherlands
52.0
102.1
98.6
95.1
96.1
87.7
Lebanon
3.9
7.3
23.9
49.4
77.1
85.3
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
1.6
3.5
5.4
15.3
76.6
76.2
Total overseas-born
1,285.8
1,778.3
2,545.9
2,950.9
4,164.1
4,829.5
Australia
7,700.1
8,729.4
10,173.1
11,388.8
13,907.7
15,499.1
Total population(d)
8,986.5
10,508.2
12,719.5
14,516.9
18,071.8
20,328.6

(a) Census counts.
(b) Estimated resident population at 30 June. For 2005, data are preliminary.
(c) Includes Ireland in 1954, 1961 and 1971.
(d) Includes country of birth ‘Not stated’ and ‘At sea’.
Source: Migration, Australia (3412.0); ABS data available on request, Estimated Resident Population.


The 2001 Census showed that 3.5 mill. people born in Australia had at least one overseas-born parent, accounting for 26% of Australia's population (graph 5.41). Of these, 43% had both parents born overseas, 35% had their father (but not their mother) born overseas and 22% had their mother (but not their father) born overseas.

5.41 BIRTHPLACE OF PARENTS OF AUSTRALIAN-BORN PEOPLE - 2001


Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.