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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Contents >> Population >> 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 overseas-born. In 1947 the proportion of the population born overseas 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 1992 this proportion had increased to 23% (table 5.34). In 2002 the number of overseas-born Australians had passed 4.5 million, remaining at 23% of the total population.

The diversity of countries of birth has increased substantially over the years. Patterns of immigration have also changed. For the last few decades, the Italy, Greece and Netherlands-born populations in Australia have been declining. The major migration flows from these countries occurred immediately after World War II and there has been relatively little migration from these countries more recently.


5.34 MAIN COUNTRIES OF BIRTH OF THE POPULATION
1901(a)
1947(a)
1954(a)
1961(a)
1971(a)
1981(a)
1992(b)
2002(b)
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

United Kingdom and Ireland
679.6
546.2
664.2
755.4
1,081.3
1,120.9
1,238.6
1,179.8
New Zealand
25.8
43.6
43.4
47.0
74.1
160.7
288.9
413.7
Italy
5.7
33.6
119.9
228.3
288.3
275.0
269.3
235.2
Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of
n.a.
5.9
22.9
49.8
128.2
148.6
(c)171.0
(c)207.5
Vietnam
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
40.7
135.9
171.6
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
29.9
6.4
10.3
14.5
17.1
25.2
95.6
164.9
Greece
0.9
12.3
25.9
77.3
159.0
145.8
145.9
131.2
Germany
38.4
14.6
65.4
109.3
110.0
109.3
120.2
117.1
Philippines
0.7
0.1
0.2
0.4
2.3
14.8
85.2
115.8
India
7.6
(d)8.2
12.0
14.2
28.7
41.0
70.7
110.6
South Africa
0.5
5.9
6.0
7.9
12.2
26.5
56.0
95.3
Netherlands
0.6
2.2
52.0
102.1
98.6
95.1
99.6
90.4
Malaysia
n.a.
1.0
2.3
5.8
14.4
30.5
80.9
89.6
Lebanon
n.a.
(e)1.9
3.9
7.3
23.9
49.4
78.2
81.2
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
0.2
0.8
1.6
3.5
5.4
15.3
71.1
75.6
Poland
n.a.
6.6
56.6
60.0
59.5
59.0
70.4
63.3
Sri Lanka
0.6
n.a.
2.0
3.4
9.0
16.8
43.2
61.4
United States of America
7.4
6.2
8.3
10.8
26.8
28.9
49.8
60.2
Total overseas-born
865.5
744.2
1,286.5
1,778.8
2,546.4
3,128.1
4,028.4
4,565.8
Australia
2,908.3
6,835.2
7,700.1
8,729.4
10,173.1
11,388.8
13,466.3
15,075.2
Total population(f)
3,773.8
7,579.4
8,986.5
10,508.2
12,719.5
14,516.9
17,494.7
19,641.0

(a) Census counts.
(b) Estimated resident population at 30 June.
(c) Now referred to as Serbia and Montenegro.
(d) Includes British India and Ceylon.
(e) Includes Syria and Lebanon.
(f) 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 26% of persons born in Australia had at least one overseas-born parent, that is, they were second generation Australians (table 5.35). Of Australian-born children with at least one overseas-born parent 43% had both parents born overseas, 35% had their father born overseas and 22% their mother born overseas. The variety and size of second generation populations reflect past migration and intermarriage patterns.


5.35 BIRTHPLACE OF PARENTS OF AUSTRALIAN BORN(a) PEOPLE - 2001

no.
%

Both parents born in Australia
9,797,656
71.9
One or both parents born overseas
3,477,189
25.5
Not stated(b)
354,840
2.6
Total
13,629,685
100.0

(a) Includes persons born in Australian External Territories.
(b) Includes persons who stated one parent was Australian-born and did not state birthplace of the other parent.

Source: ABS data available on request, 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


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