30% of Australia's Population Born Overseas

Media Release

In 2020, more than 7.6 million people living in Australia 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 that 30 per cent of Australia's resident population were born overseas as at June 2020. This compares to 28 per cent in 2015 and 27 per cent ten years ago.

“Australia's population encompasses migrants born in nearly every country worldwide, highlighting our culturally diverse society.” Ms Dobak said.

"People born in England continue to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 980,000 people. Those born in India became the second largest group in 2020 with 721,000 people.”

The table below shows the 10 largest groups of overseas-born residents in 2020, and compares change over time.

  1. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born as at 30 June 2020.
  2. Population estimates for 2020 are preliminary - see ERP status in paragraph 9 of the Methodology.
  3. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

In the year to 30 June 2020, preliminary migration estimates recorded that 510,000 people arrived to live in Australia, while 315,000 people left Australia to live overseas, the most departures ever recorded.

There were a record 99,000 Australian citizens returning after living overseas in 2019-20, the greatest number of returns ever recorded. In the same year, over 61,000 Australians emigrated, a decline of 29 per cent from one year earlier. These changes likely reflect impacts from COVID-19.

Additionally, 22,000 New Zealand citizens moved to Australia to live in the year ending 30 June 2020. However, in the same year, 21,000 New Zealanders departed Australia to live overseas.

This release covers data up to 30 June 2020 and includes initial impacts from COVID-19.

More information can be found in Migration, Australia, 2019-20, available for free download from www.abs.gov.au.

The best source for the most recent quarterly preliminary estimates on overseas migration and interstate migration is the National, state and territory population publication.

Media notes

  • Australia's population by country of birth and migration data are preliminary for 2019-20 and subject to revision.

  • 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, you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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