3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/06/2011   
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Contents >> Australia's Diverse Population >> History of Overseas-Born in Australia


High levels of immigration to Australia in the years before 1891 resulted in 32% of the population being reported as overseas-born in the 1891 census. By 1901, this proportion had fallen to 23%, 4 percentage points below current levels (see figure 4.2). The proportion fell to a low of 10% in 1947, due to low levels of migration during World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. The proportion then rose rapidly as a result of high levels of post-war migration, especially from war-torn Europe, under Arthur Calwell's concept of 'Populate or Perish'(footnote 1) . From the beginning of the 1970s until the late 1980s, the proportion of the population born overseas remained steady at about 20% and, following an increase in immigration levels at the end of the 1980s, rose to 23% in 1990. Further arrivals of migrants in the 1990s and 2000s contributed to the increase in the overseas-born population, with their proportion of the overall resident population rising to 27% by 30 June 2010.

4.2 Australia's population born overseas(a)(b)
Graph: 4.2 Australia's population born overseas(a)(b)

1 Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website . Accessed <back

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