7.3 million migrants call Australia home


There were over 7 million migrants living in Australia in 2018, with people born in England continuing to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Assistant Director of Migration Statistics Neil Scott said new figures showed that in 2018 just over 29 per cent of Australia's resident population were born overseas.

"Australia's multicultural society is made up of migrants born in every country around the world. Although almost 18 million Australians were born here, our society is continuing to become more culturally diverse over time", Mr Scott said.

"People born in England continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 992,000 people. However, this has dropped from a peak of just over a million (1,013,000 people) in 2014."

The table below shows the 10 largest groups of overseas-born residents in 2018, and their proportion of Australia's population.

Australia's population by country of birth - 2018(a)
Country of birth(b)no.%(c)
New Zealand568,0002.3
South Africa189,0000.8
All overseas-born7,343,00029.4
  1. Estimates are preliminary
  2. With top 10 overseas-born countries listed in order for 2018.
  3. Proportion of the total population of Australia. 

In the year to 30 June 2018, 526,000 people arrived to live in Australia, while 289,000 people left Australia to live overseas.

Of those migrant arrivals, 62 per cent were temporary visa holders including 30 per cent who were international students.

There were 30,000 New Zealand citizens who moved to Australia to live however, in the same year, 23,000 New Zealanders left Australia to live overseas.

In addition, in 2017-18 there were 77,000 Australian citizens who returned to Australia after living overseas but in the same year there were nearly 91,000 who decided to emigrate.

More information can be found in Migration, Australia, 2017-18 (cat. no. 3412.0), available for free download from http://www.abs.gov.au/.

For quarterly migration estimates see Australian Demographic Statistics, (cat. no. 3101.0).

Media notes

  • Australia's population by country of birth and migration data are preliminary for 2018 and subject to revision.
  • The visa information reported above is based on the visa type held at the time of a traveller's arrival in Australia. Persons may move between different types of temporary visas or be issued a permanent visa following their initial arrival in Australia.
  • Consistent with international definitions, a person is regarded by the ABS as a migrant to Australia if they have been, or are expected to be, resident in Australia for 12 months or more, regardless of their citizenship, type of visa, or legal status.
  • These statistics therefore differ from information on the numbers of visas granted by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS media team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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