3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2018-19  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2020   
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AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION BY COUNTRY OF BIRTH

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 Populations by Country of Birth. It is only available for Census years.


KEY STATISTICS

In 2019, there were over 7.5 million migrants living in Australia. This was 29.7% of the population that were born overseas. One year earlier, in 2018, there were 7.3 million people born overseas.

Every single country from around the world was represented in Australia's population in 2019. People born in:

    • England (986,000) continues to be the largest group of overseas-born living in Australia. However, this has dropped from just over a million recorded between 2012 and 2016
    • China (677,000) remained in second place from 2017 with strong growth since 2002
    • India (660,000) with strong growth remained in third place with an extra 68,000 people
    • Sri Lanka (140,000) continued to increase and is now in tenth place, dropping Scotland (134,000) to eleventh place
    • Australian born (17.8 million) increased 186,000 during the year.


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, have 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 2019 the proportion of Australia's population born overseas was 30%.

Graph 1.1 Percentage of overseas-born — Australia — 1891 to 2019
Graph 1.1 Percentage of overseas-born — Australia — 1891 to 2019
(a) Census years only until 1981. Post 1981 based on estimated resident population at 30 June.
(b) Estimates from December quarter 2018 are preliminary — see ERP status in paragraph 9 of the Explanatory Notes.


In 2019, those born in England (986,000 people) continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 3.9% of Australia's total population. This year, the growing overseas-born residents from Sri Lanka has moved into 10th position, replacing Scotland.


Table 1.2 Australia's population
by country of birth - 2019(a)

Country of birth(b)
'000
%(c)

England
986
3.9
China
677
2.7
India
660
2.6
New Zealand
570
2.2
Philippines
294
1.2
Vietnam
263
1.0
South Africa
194
0.8
Italy
183
0.7
Malaysia
176
0.7
Sri Lanka
140
0.6
All overseas-born
7 530
29.7
Australia-born
17 836
70.3

(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.


Graph 1.3 Overseas-born — top 10 countries of birth — Australia — 2009, 2014 and 2019

(a) Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born are at 30 June 2019.
(b) Population estimates are preliminary - see ERP status in 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 increase from the 20-24 year 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 2019 the highest proportions of the population for those born:
    • overseas, were aged 30-34 years (2.9%), with 1.4% being males and 1.5% females.
    • in Australia, were aged 0-4 years (5.9%), with 3.1% being males and 2.9% females.

For comparison, in 2009 the highest proportions of the population for those born:
    • overseas, were aged 45-49 years (2.3%), with 1.2% each being males and females.
    • in Australia, were aged 0-4 years (6.3%), similar to 2019.


Graph 1.4 Population structures of Australia(a), Country of birth, age and sex — 30 June 2019(b)
Graph 1.4 Population structures of Australia(a), Country of birth, age and sex — 30 June 2019(b)
(a) Australian-born and overseas-born persons as a proportion of Australia's total population.
(b) Population estimates are preliminary - see ERP status in paragraph 9 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 43 years of age in 2019. 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 72 years. Whereas, those from more recent groups of migrant arrivals are younger, for example the Chinese and Indian born both have 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 - 2019(a)

Country of birth(b)
Median age(c)

England
57
China
34
India
34
New Zealand
44
Philippines
40
Vietnam
47
South Africa
44
Italy
72
Malaysia
40
Sri Lanka
41
All overseas-born
43
Australian-born
34

(a) Estimates are preliminary.
(b) Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born are at 30 June 2019..
(c) Median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

    When analysing those countries of birth in 2019 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 13 years of age
      • highest sex ratio was from Benin (with 195 males per 100 females)
      • lowest sex ratio was from Turkmenistan (with 41 males per 100 females)


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