2015.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Selected Social and Housing Characteristics, Australia, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/06/2002  Reissue
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June 17, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

2001 Census reveals Australian's cultural diversity

The 2001 Census results released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal a nation of rich cultural diversity.


There were over 200 different ancestries reported, with up to two ancestries recorded for each person. The most common ancestry was Australian, with 6,739,594 or 35.9% of all people choosing this as one of their responses; next most popular were English (6,358,880 or 33.9%), Irish (1,919,727 or 10.2%), Italian (800,256 or 4.3%) German (742,212 or 4.0%), Chinese (556,554 or 3.0%), Scottish (540,046 or 2.9%) and Greek (375,703 or 2.0%).


Just over one fifth of Australia's population (22%) was born overseas, which is about the same as for the 1996 Census. Of those born overseas, the three main countries of birth were United Kingdom 1,036,245 (5.5%), New Zealand 355,765 (1.9%), and Italy 218,718 (1.2%).

There were 2,133,676 people born in Europe (including UK) or 11.2% of the population, 982,519 were born in Asia or 5.2% of the population and Middle East and North Africa accounted for 213,942 people or 1.1% of the population.

Western Australia has the highest proportion of its total population born overseas (27%). New South Wales and Victoria have equal proportions of overseas born people (about 23%), followed by the ACT and South Australia (21% each), Queensland (17%), NT (14%) and Tasmania (10%).


Italian, with 353,605 speakers, is the most popular language other than English spoken at home, followed by Greek, 263,717, Cantonese, 225,307, Arabic 209,372, and Vietnamese with 174,236 speakers.

Media please note:

State, capital city, suburban and regional media - comparisons and rankings for your area are available in the Census publication Selected Social and Housing Characteristics, Australia (Cat. No. 2015.0). For those unable to attend the national launch or State/Territory events, a copy is available by emailing client.services@abs.gov.au

This site also has a vast array of 2001 Census data. The website contains a narrative snapshot series, plus basic community profile tables from the local to the national level.

Ethnic media - a special language profile for over 70 different languages has been developed for media and is available by facsimile. To receive a profile for your particular language, forward your details (including language of interest, telephone and facsimile numbers) to facsimile (02) 6252 8002 .

Indigenous media - A specialised set of indigenous profiles are available on this site.

2001 Census news file footage - of census processing and census form destruction has been distributed to major metropolitian and regional TV Newsrooms.

Stills images - are available at www.aapmedianet.com.au under the 2001 Census category.