3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2003-04  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/09/2005   
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September 20, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Proportion of Australians born overseas highest since Federation

According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today, almost a quarter of Australia's resident population at 30 June 2004 were born overseas. This proportion (24%, or 4.8 million people) is the highest recorded since Federation.

People born in the United Kingdom make up the largest group of overseas-born with 1.1 million people (or 6% of the total Australian population). Other major groups are New Zealand (2%), Italy, mainland China and Viet Nam (each 1%).

Almost half of the overseas-born population in Australia (49%, or 2.3 million people) were born in Europe. This figure has declined over the past eight years, while migration from other regions has increased.

Sudanese-born people are the fastest growing group, increasing by an average 26% per year over the past eight years (but starting from a low base of only 2,600 people in 1996), followed by Afghanistan (12% per year, on average) and Iraq (11% per year).

The largest net addition to Australia's population between 1996 and 2004 was from people born in New Zealand (up by 127,000). People born in China (60,800), South Africa (47,400) and India (43,800) also made strong contributions over this period. Birthplace groups with decreasing numbers in this eight-year period were led by Italy (down 31,200 people) and the United Kingdom (29,900).

Further details are in Migration, Australia 2003-04 (cat. no. 3412.0).