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3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2004   
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MEDIA RELEASE

April 28, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
61/2004
Migrants changing our population mix: ABS

People born overseas increased Australia's population by 250,000 over the five years to 30 June 2002, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today.

By comparison, people born in Australia increased by 868,000 over the same period. The percentage of people born overseas remained stable at 23% of the population.

After the United Kingdom (with 1.1 million people or 6% of Australia's population in 2002) the next largest country of birth groups were New Zealand (414,000 people or 2% of Australia's population), Italy (235,000 or 1.2%), Viet Nam (172,000 or 0.9%) and China (165,000 or 0.8%).

New Zealanders (90,000 people), Chinese (33,000 people), South Africans (29,000 people) and Indians (23,000 people) added the largest numbers of people to Australia's population in the five year period (after Australian-born).

People born in Iraq and South Africa were the fastest-growing groups in Australia's population over the same period (9% and 8% a year on average respectively). However, the Iraq-borns' rapid growth was partly as a result of starting from a small base (19,100 in 1997).

People born in the United Kingdom continue to make up the largest percentage of overseas-born people, but this figure has declined by 0.6% per year over the five year period.

Meanwhile, the Australian population born in Southern and Eastern Europe declined 38,000 (down 0.9% a year on average) and North-West Europe declined 37,000 (down 0.5% a year on average) with continuing decline in immigration from those regions.

Net overseas migration continues to become more important to Australia's population growth, with more than half of annual growth coming from migration (125,300 people in 2002-03) and the rest coming from natural increase, the excess of births over deaths (115,200).

While there were 11% more settlers arriving in Australia from 2001-02 to 2002-03, permanent departures also increased, by 10%. There is a continuing trend toward Australian-born people leaving permanently - this comprised around half of all permanent departures since 1998-99.

Further details are in Migration, Australia 2002-03 (cat. no. 3412.0).

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