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2914.0.55.002 - 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media Releases and Fact Sheets, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2007  First Issue
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MEDIA FACT SHEET
June 27, 2007
Embargoed 9.30 am (AEST)
70/2007
More than one in five Australians born overseas: Census

  • According to the 2006 Census, the proportion of the population reporting that they had been born overseas has remained unchanged since 1996 – 22% of the total population.
  • The overseas-born population increased in number between 1996 and 2006 by 13%, from around 3.9 million to 4.4 million. The two largest overseas-born groups have continued to be those born in England (19% of all overseas-born) and New Zealand (9%). China overtook Italy as the third largest birthplace group (each country accounting for around 5% of all overseas-born).
  • Around 2.1 million of Australia's overseas-born population were born in Europe. However, only 8% of these were recent arrivals (arrived in 2001 or later). Of the 1.2 million Australian residents born in Asia, 27% were recent arrivals.
  • A number of Australia's recent arrivals had been born in countries recently affected by war and political unrest. Over 73% (or around 14,000) of Australian residents born in Sudan had arrived in 2001 or later. Similarly, a high proportion of the populations born in Zimbabwe (48% or 10,000 people), Afghanistan (45% or 7000), and Iraq (34% or 11,000) had arrived in 2001 or later.
  • Since 1996, the groups which had increased the most in number were those born in New Zealand (by around 98,000), China (96,000), and India (70,000).
  • Between 1996 and 2006, the size of the European-born population in Australia decreased. Since 1996, the biggest decreases in the number of Australian residents born in a particular country were for Italy (by around 39,000), Greece (17,000), and England (15,000).
  • Western Australia had the highest proportion of its total population born overseas (27%) and Tasmania the lowest (11%).
  • Sydney was the capital city with the highest proportion of its population born overseas – almost one-third. Hobart had the lowest proportion – 12% born overseas.

NB: The figures in this fact sheet exclude overseas visitors. Where an answer to a question has not been provided (i.e. not stated) these occurrences form a separate category in the data and therefore some percentages do not total to 100%.

Source: ABS 2006 Census.

Table 1.1 Top 15 Countries of Birth - 1996 Census - 2006 Census

1996
2006
Persons
Proportion
of all
overseas
born
Persons
Proportion
of all
overseas
born
Rank Country of Birth
'000
%
Country of Birth
'000
%

1 England
872.1
22.3
England
856.9
19.4
2 New Zealand
291.4
7.5
New Zealand
389.5
8.8
3 Italy
238.2
6.1
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan Province)
206.6
4.7
4 Viet Nam
151.1
3.9
Italy
199.1
4.5
5 Scotland
146.3
3.7
Viet Nam
159.8
3.6
6 Greece
126.5
3.2
India
147.1
3.3
7 China (excl. Taiwan Province)
111.0
2.8
Scotland
130.2
2.9
8 Germany, Federal Republic of
110.3
2.8
Philippines
120.5
2.7
9 Philippines
92.9
2.4
Greece
110.0
2.5
10 Netherlands
87.9
2.2
Germany
106.5
2.4
11 India
77.6
2.0
South Africa
104.1
2.4
12 Malaysia
76.3
2.0
Malaysia
92.3
2.1
13 Lebanon
70.2
1.8
Netherlands
78.9
1.8
14 Hong Kong
68.4
1.8
Lebanon
74.9
1.7
15 Poland
65.1
1.7
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
71.8
1.6

Table 1.2 Australian-born/Overseas born split - 1996 Census - 2006 Census

1996
2006
Persons
Proportion of
total population
Persons
Proportion of
total population
'000
%
'000
%

Australian born
13 227.8
74.5
14 072.9
70.9
Overseas born
3 908.2
22.0
4 416.0
22.2
Not Stated
616.8
3.5
1 366.3
6.9
Total
17 752.8
100.0
19 855.3
100.0


Table 2. 2006 Census: Top 15 countries of birth for recent arrivals, Australia

Persons who arrived between 2001-2006
Proportion of total arrivals between 2001-2006
Country of birth
'000
%

England
89.7
11.9
New Zealand
82.2
10.9
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan Province)
71.7
9.5
India
59.9
7.9
South Africa
32.7
4.3
Malaysia
23.2
3.1
Philippines
22.9
3.0
Korea, Republic of (South)
20.9
2.8
United States of America
17.9
2.4
Indonesia
16.9
2.2
Sudan
14.0
1.9
Singapore
13.7
1.8
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
13.4
1.8
Sri Lanka
13.1
1.7
Viet Nam
12.9
1.7

Table 3. 2006 Census: Australian and overseas-born(a)

Australian Born
Overseas Born
State/Territory
%
%

NSW
69.0
23.8
Vic
69.6
23.8
Qld
75.2
17.9
SA
74.0
20.3
WA
65.3
27.1
Tas
83.2
10.6
NT
76.8
13.8
ACT
73.0
21.7

(a) Figures do not add to 100% because of the proportion of people who did not state their country of birth.

Table 4. 2006 Census: Australian and overseas-born, capital cities(a)(b)

Australian-born
Overseas-born
Capital City
%
%

Sydney
60.4
31.7
Melbourne
64.2
28.9
Brisbane
72.0
21.7
Adelaide
70.7
23.7
Perth
61.5
31.3
Hobart
81.6
12.0
Darwin
70.7
18.3
Canberra
73.0
21.7

(a) Capital City Statistical Division.
(b) Figures do not add to 100% because of the proportion of people who did not state their country of birth.


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