3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/04/2019   
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AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION BY COUNTRY OF BIRTH

KEY STATISTICS

In 2018, there were 7.3 million migrants living in Australia. This was 29% of the population that were born overseas. One year earlier, in 2017, there were 7.1 million people born overseas.

Every single country from around the world was represented in Australia's population in 2018. People born in:

    • England (992,000) continue to be the largest group of overseas-born living in Australia. However, this has dropped from a peak of just over a million (1,013,000 people) in 2013
    • China (651,000) remained in second place from 2017 with strong growth since 2002
    • India (592,000) moved into third place dropping the New Zealand born (568,000) down to fourth place
    • Australia (17.7 million) had increased 188,000 during the year


About this data

Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth is measured at 30 June each year. This data is available at the national level annually.

For state and territory see the following chapter — State and Territory Population by Country of Birth. It is only available for Census years.


Australia's population by country of birth

Historically, more people immigrate to, than emigrate from, Australia thereby adding to the growth of the national population. The various waves of migrants from numerous countries over time, has had an important effect on the diversity of Australia's population.

High levels of immigration in the years before 1891 resulted in 32% of the population enumerated as overseas-born in the first country wide census in 1891. In 2018 the proportion of Australia's population born overseas was 29%.

Graph 1.1 Percentage of overseas-born — Australia — 1891 to 2018

(a) Census years only until 1981. Post 1981 based on estimated resident population at 30 June.
(b) Estimates from December quarter 2017 are preliminary — see paragraph 9 of the Explanatory Notes.


In 2018, those born in England (992,000 people) continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 4.0% of Australia's total population. The Chinese born (651,000 people), having recently moved into second position, accounted for 2.6% of the population.


Table 1.2 Australia's population
by country of birth - 2018(a)

Country of birth(b)
persons
%(c)

England
992 000
4.0
China
651 000
2.6
India
592 000
2.4
New Zealand
568 000
2.3
Philippines
278 000
1.1
Vietnam
256 000
1.0
South Africa
189 000
0.8
Italy
187 000
0.7
Malaysia
174 000
0.7
Scotland
135 000
0.5
All overseas-born
7 342 000
29.4
Australia-born
17 650 000
70.6

(a) Estimates are preliminary.
(b) With top 10 overseas-born countries listed for 2018.
(c) Proportion of the total population of Australia.


Graph 1.3 Overseas-born — top 10 countries of birth — Australia — 2008, 2013 and 2018

(a) Top 10 countries of birth are at 30 June 2018.
(b) Estimates from December quarter 2017 are preliminary - see paragraph 9 of the Explanatory Notes.


Country of birth by age and sex

There are differences in the age structure of people born in Australia and those born overseas. As seen below, those born in Australia dominate the younger age groups, while the overseas born increases from the 20-24 age group which in part, is due to international students studying in Australia. The main reason there are less overseas-born in the very young age groups is that most people are far less likely to migrate with young families.

In 2018 the highest proportion of the population were the:
    • 30-34 age group (2.9%) of those born overseas for both males (1.4%) and females (1.5%)
    • 0-4 age group (6.1%) of those born in Australia also for both males (3.1%) and females (3.0%)

Ten years ago in 2008 the highest proportion of the population were the:
    • 45-49 age group (2.3%) of those born overseas for both males (1.1%) and females (1.2%)
    • 0-4 age group (6.2%) of those born in Australia, similar to 2018

Graph 1.4 Population structures of Australia(a), Country of birth, age and sex — 30 June 2018(b)

(a) Australia-born and overseas-born persons as a proportion of Australia's total population.
(b) Estimates from December quarter 2017 are preliminary—see paragraphs 9–10 of the Explanatory Notes.

Median age and Sex ratio

The median age is useful to assess the changing age structure of a given population over time. It is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

The median age of the overseas-born population has gradually decreased from a decade ago to now be 44 years of age in 2018. On the other hand, the median age of the Australian born population has gradually increased over time to now be 34 years of age. The decrease in the median age of the overseas-born population is having a positive effect on the age structure of Australia by slowing the ageing of the total population.

Migrants from countries who were part of the post-second world war migration streams were now generally older, for example the Italian born population have a median age of 71 years. Whereas, those from more recent groups of migrant arrivals are younger, for example the Chinese and Indian born both had a median age of 34 years. This is the same as those born in Australia.

Table 1. 5 Australia's population
by country of birth - 2018(a)

Country of birth(b)
Median age(c)

England
56
China
34
India
34
New Zealand
43
Philippines
40
Vietnam
46
South Africa
43
Italy
71
Malaysia
39
Scotland
59
All overseas-born
44
Australian-born
34

(a) Estimates are preliminary.
(b) With top 10 overseas-born countries listed for 2018.
(c) Median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

    When analysing those countries of birth in 2018 within Australia (those with a population of 100 or more), the group with the:
      • oldest median age was from Latvia at 77 years of age
      • youngest median age was from the Cayman Islands at 12 years of age
      • highest sex ratio was from Benin (with 227 males per 100 females)
      • lowest sex ratio was from Turkmenistan (with 42 males per 100 females)