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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
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Contents >> Chapter 5 - 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 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 1994 this proportion had increased to 23%. In 2004 the number of overseas-born Australians had passed 4.5 million, representing almost one quarter (24%) of the total population (table 5.42).

The diversity of countries of birth has increased substantially over the years. Patterns of immigration have also changed. Over the past decade, 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.

5.42 MAIN COUNTRIES OF BIRTH OF THE POPULATION
1954(a)
1961(a)
1971(a)
1981(a)
1994(b)
2004(b)
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

United Kingdom(c)
664.2
755.4
1,081.3
1,120.9
1,223.5
1,190.9
New Zealand
43.4
47.0
74.1
160.7
295.9
442.2
Italy
119.9
228.3
288.3
275.0
264.1
227.9
China (excl. SARs & Taiwan Prov.)
10.3
14.5
17.1
25.2
102.2
182.0
Vietnam
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
40.7
150.4
176.6
Greece
25.9
77.3
159.0
145.8
143.4
128.7
India
12.0
14.2
28.7
41.0
75.6
128.6
Philippines
0.2
0.4
2.3
14.8
93.2
125.1
Germany
65.4
109.3
110.0
109.3
119.9
116.1
South Africa
6.0
7.9
12.2
26.5
57.0
109.2
Malaysia
2.3
5.8
14.4
30.5
81.6
97.8
Netherlands
52.0
102.1
98.6
95.1
97.0
88.7
Lebanon
3.9
7.3
23.9
49.4
77.2
84.3
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
1.6
3.5
5.4
15.3
74.7
76.5
Total overseas-born
1,286.5
1,778.8
2,546.4
3,128.1
4,093.6
4,750.9
Australia
7,700.1
8,729.4
10,173.1
11,388.8
13,761.1
15,360.4
Total population(d)
8,986.5
10,508.2
12,719.5
14,516.9
17,856.7
20,111.3

(a) Census counts.
(b) Estimated resident population at 30 June.
(c) Includes Ireland in 1954 and 1961.
(d) Includes country of birth ‘Not stated’ and ‘At sea’.

Source: ABS data available on request, Estimated Resident Population; Migration, Australia (3412.0).


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 5.43). 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.

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

'000
%

Both parents born in Australia
9,797.7
71.9
One or both parents born overseas
3,477.2
25.5
Not stated(b)
354.8
2.6
Total
13,629.7
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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