3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2017   
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30 March 2017
Embargo: 11.30am (Canberra Time)

Over 28 per cent of Australians born overseas

The proportion of Australians born overseas continues to reach new heights, with over 28 per cent of Australia's population born overseas, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Over the past 10 years, the number of Australian residents born overseas has continued to increase, in particular those born in India and China have both more than doubled in this time. In contrast, Australian residents born in Germany have had almost zero growth and those born in Italy have seen more than a 10 per cent drop.

The number of Australian residents born in neighbouring Asian countries had the largest growth in the past year, including Japan (24 per cent), China (8 per cent), Malaysia (7 per cent) and India (6 per cent).

Change in Australia's migrant mix is particularly evident in the median age of certain groups. Migrants born in Germany had a median age increase from 58.8 in 2006 to 64.1 in 2016 indicating the ageing of this migrant group. In contrast, migrants from China had a reduction in median age from 38.7 in 2006 to 34.7 in 2016.

Top 10 countries of birth - 30 June 2016(a)(b)(c)

Country of birth
% of Australian population

United Kingdom
1 198 000
New Zealand
607 200
526 000
468 800
246 400
236 700
194 900
South Africa
181 400
166 200
124 300

(a) Estimates are preliminary - see paragraph 9 of the Explanatory Notes.
(b) Top 10 countries of birth excluding Australia.
(c) All population figures presented in this table are rounded. Estimates of the proportion of the Australian population are based on unrounded numbers.

Net Overseas Migration for 2015-16 recorded an annual estimate increase of 182,200 persons from the previous year, 3 per cent (5,300 persons) more than in 2014-15. At state level the largest net gains were in New South Wales with 71,200, Victoria with 65,000 and Queensland with 20,000.

In the Net Interstate Migration figures for 2015-16, Victoria continues to have the largest gains, increasing to 16,700 compared with 10,200 from the previous year. Queensland had the second highest net gain from interstate migration with 11,600. New South Wales once again recorded the largest net loss in 2015-16 (-11,300), however this is a significant reduction from the net loss of 25,600 in 2005-06.

More information can be found in Migration, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 3412.0), available for free download from https://www.abs.gov.au/.

Media Note:
  • Country of birth data is available at the state and territory level in Census years only.
  • Median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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