Australia's population: over 7.5 million born overseas


More than 7.5 million people living in Australia in 2019 were born overseas, with those born in England continuing to be the largest group, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Director of Migration Statistics Jenny Dobak said new figures showed that in 2019 just under 30 per cent of Australia's resident population were born overseas.

"People born in England continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 986,000 people," Ms Dobak said. "However, this has dropped from just over one million people recorded between 2012 and 2016.

"People born in Sri Lanka represented the tenth largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 140,000 people, and replacing Scotland in the top 10."

The table below shows the 10 largest groups of overseas-born residents in 2019, and their proportion of Australia's population.

Australia's population by country of birth - 2019(a)

Country of birth(b)'000%(c)
New Zealand5702.2
South Africa1940.8
Sri Lanka1400.6
All overseas-born7 53029.7
Australia-born17 83670.3

a. Estimates are preliminary.
b. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born are at 30 June 2019.
c. Proportion of the total population of Australia.

In the year to 30 June 2019, 538,000 people arrived to live in Australia, while 298,000 people left Australia to live overseas.

Of those migrant arrivals, 64 per cent were temporary visa holders including 32 per cent who were international students.

There were 30,000 New Zealand citizens who moved to Australia to live however, in the same year, 22,000 New Zealanders left Australia to live overseas.

In addition, in 2018-19 there were 75,000 Australian citizens who returned to Australia after living overseas but in the same year there were nearly 87,000 who decided to emigrate.

More information can be found in Migration, Australia, 2018-19 (cat. no. 3412.0), available for free download from

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 2019 and subject to revision.
    • This release covers data up to 30 June 2019, as such this data precedes COVID-19.
    • 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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