History of overseas-born in Australia
High levels of immigration to Australia in the years before 1891 resulted in 32% of the population being enumerated in the 1891 census as overseas-born. By 1901, this proportion had fallen to 23%, just below the current level (Figure 5.1). The proportion fell to a low of 10% in 1947, and then rose rapidly as a result of high levels of post-war migration. From the beginning of the 1970s until the late 1980s, the proportion of the population born overseas remained steady at about 20%, and following an increase in immigration levels at the end of the 1980s, rose to 23% in 1990. Further arrivals of migrants in the 1990s contributed to the increase in the overseas-born population, with their proportion of the overall resident population rising to 27% by 30 June 2009.
5.1 Australia's population born overseas