Australia's Population by Country of Birth

Latest release

Statistics on Australia's estimated resident population by country of birth.

Reference period
2022
Released
31/10/2023
Next release 24/04/2024

Key statistics

  • Number of Australia's population born overseas was 7.7 million people in 2022
  • Proportion of Australia's population born overseas was 29.5% in 2022
  • Those born in England, India, China and New Zealand were the largest groups of migrants
  • The Indian-born group recorded the largest increase since 2012
  • Western Australia had the highest proportion of migrants (34%) of all states and territories in 2021.

Rebased ERP

In this issue, Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth has been rebased to the 2021 Census of Population. Rebased estimates supersede all prior estimates from June 2016 onwards, for further information see Methodology used in rebased population estimates, June 2021.

ERP by country of birth is measured at 30 June each year. National data is available annually. A state and territory breakdown is only available for Census years with the most recent being for 2021 and now released in this issue.

Impact of COVID-19

Many of the changes observed in the recent data in this release are attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Government introduced travel restrictions on those travelling to or from Australia in March 2020, which were gradually lifted from 1 November 2021. Australian borders were reopened to most travellers from 21 February 2022.

Australia by country of birth

Each year, usually more people immigrate to, than emigrate from, Australia. This adds to the growth of Australia's overseas-born population and thereby the national population.

At 30 June 2022, Australia's estimated resident population was 26.0 million people. This was a combination of 18.3 million residents born in Australia and 7.7 million residents born overseas. 

  • There was an annual growth of 155,000 people to the overseas-born population in 2022
  • The proportion of Australia's overseas-born population increased to 29.5% in 2022 (up from 29.3% one year earlier).

a. Based on estimated resident population at 30 June each year. Prior to 1986 based on Census years.
b. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.
Source prior to 1986: Historical population - country of birth data cube.

According to the first country-wide census in 1891, 32% of the population were born overseas, reflecting high levels of immigration in preceding years. The proportion fell to a low of 10% in 1947, due to lower levels of migration during World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. The proportion then rose rapidly as a result of higher levels of post-war migration. Since then, there has been a steady increase in the overseas-born population until 2021.

In 2021, the number and proportion of migrants declined. This is attributed to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and the resulting impact on overseas migration both to and from Australia. There was a decrease in arrivals of people born overseas immigrating to Australia, as well as a decrease of people born in Australia departing to live overseas.

Countries where Australia's migrants were born

The various waves of migrants from different countries over time, has an important effect on the diversity of Australia's population. Nearly every country from around the world was represented in Australia's population in 2022.

In 2022, those born in England, India, China and New Zealand were the largest groups of overseas-born. Together they made up over one third of all migrants living in Australia.

  • The English-born group (961,000) continued to be the largest group of overseas-born. However, this population has steadily decreased from a peak of just over a million in 2013
  • Indian-born (754,000) was the next largest group and surpassed its previous peak in 2020 (724,000) 
  • Chinese-born (597,000), the third largest but decreased after reaching a peak in 2019 (661,000)
  • New Zealand-born (586,000), was fourth largest and surpassed its previous peak in 2013 (585,000).

The Australian-born population in 2022, was 18.3 million people. It had increased by 173,000 people during the year. This growth was comprised of natural increase (births minus Australian-born deaths) plus net overseas migration (Australian-born arrivals minus Australian-born departures).

Table 1.2 Australia's overseas-born population - top 10 countries of birth(a)
 2012 2022 
Country of birth(b)'000%(c)'000%(c)
England1,004.524.4961.373.7
India355.381.6753.522.9
China(d)406.391.8597.442.3
New Zealand569.632.5586.022.3
Philippines206.110.9320.301.2
Vietnam212.140.9281.811.1
South Africa167.630.7206.730.8
Malaysia136.570.6176.210.7
Italy200.350.9161.560.6
Nepal30.730.1151.140.6
Total overseas-born6,214.0127.37,680.4529.5
Australian-born16,519.4672.718,332.6270.5
Total population22,733.47100.026,013.06100.0
  1. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.
  2. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Australia as at 30 June 2022.
  3. Proportion of the total population of Australia.
  4. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.
  1. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Australia as at 30 June 2022.
  2. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.
  3. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

In 2022, compared with a decade earlier, the countries of birth (excluding Australian-born) with the largest increases in Australia's population were:

  • India with an increase of 398,000 people
  • China 191,000
  • Nepal 120,000
  • The Philippines 114,000.
  1. Top 10 countries of birth with the largest increase in volume from 30 June 2012 to 30 June 2022 for overseas-born.
  2. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.
  3. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

State and territory

Australia's population by country of birth is measured at 30 June each year. At the state and territory level, data is only available for Census years, with the most recent being for 2021.

The number and proportion of migrants nationally at 30 June 2021, had declined from one year earlier. This can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions on overseas migration.

The proportion of Australia's population born overseas nationally was 29.3% in 2021. However, this varied across the country.

In 2021, Western Australia had the highest proportion born overseas at 34% while Tasmania had the lowest at 16%.

a. Country of birth is available at the state and territory level in Census years only.
b. Proportion that were born overseas of each state and territories total population.
c. States and territories sorted from largest to smallest proportion as at 30 June 2021.

The proportion of the population born overseas increased for most states and territories between 2016 and 2021:

  • Tasmania had the largest increase over the five-year period from 13.1% to 16.3%.
  • Western Australia however, was the only state or territory to record a decrease over this time, down from 35.0% to 34.1%.
Table 2.2 Australia's population by country of birth - state and territory 2021(a)
 Overseas-bornAustralian-bornTotal
 '000%(b)'000%(b)'000
NSW2,510.2631.05,586.8069.08,097.06
Vic.2,072.5731.74,475.2568.36,547.82
Qld1,263.6424.23,952.1775.85,215.81
SA452.4125.11,350.1974.91,802.60
WA938.9034.11,810.4765.92,749.37
Tas.92.3216.3474.9283.7567.24
NT59.2423.9188.9176.1248.15
ACT134.9029.8317.6170.2452.51
Aust.(c)7,525.8729.318,159.5470.725,685.41
  1. Country of birth is available at the state and territory level in Census years only.
  2. Proportion of each state and territory's total population. 
  3. Includes Other Territories. See Classifications on the methodology page.

In 2021, those born in England, India, China and New Zealand were the largest groups of overseas-born at the national level. At the state and territory level, the ranking of countries differed from the national level and from each other.

Table 2.3 Largest overseas-born group for each state and territory - 2021(a)
 Country of birth'000%(b)
NSWChina(c)261.333.2
Vic.India272.254.2
QldNew Zealand229.924.4
SAEngland98.775.5
WAEngland211.737.7
Tas.England20.423.6
NTPhilippines7.323.0
ACTIndia17.513.9
Aust.(d)England973.953.8
  1. Country of birth is available at the state and territory level in Census years only.
  2. Proportion of each state and territory's total population. 
  3. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.
  4. Includes Other Territories. See Classifications on the methodology page.

New South Wales

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in New South Wales as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Victoria

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Victoria as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Queensland

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Queensland as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

South Australia

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in South Australia as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Western Australia

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Western Australia as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Tasmania

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Tasmania as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Northern Territory

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in the Northern Territory as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

Australian Capital Territory

a. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in the Australian Capital Territory as at 30 June 2021.
b. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

​Age and sex

There are differences in the age structure of the population born in Australia and that born overseas, with Australia's overseas born population tending to be older. The main reason for this is that most people migrate to Australia as adults and are less likely to migrate with young families. The largest five-year age groups among migrants are those in their thirties. This contrasts with the Australian-born population where children make up the largest five-year age groups.

In 2022 the highest proportions of the population for those born:

  • in Australia, were aged 0-4 years and 5-9 years (both 5.7%)
  • overseas, were aged 35-39 years (3.1%).

In 2012 the highest proportions of the population for those born:

  • in Australia, were aged 0-4 years (6.3%)
  • overseas, were aged 25-29 years and 30-34 years (both 2.4%).
  1. Australian-born and overseas-born persons as a proportion of Australia's total population as at 30 June 2022.
  2. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.

Median age and sex ratio

Comparing median age over time shows whether the age structure of a given population is changing. It is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger. It shows whether a population is ageing and how fast that change may be over time.

For the Australian-born population, the median age has gradually been increasing over time from 32 years in 2002 to 35 years in 2022.

In contrast, the median age of the overseas-born population has fluctuated over time from a median of 46 years in 2002 and a low of 44 years in 2019. In 2021, due to the impact of the pandemic and the decrease in younger people arriving into the country, such as international students, the median age of the overseas-born population increased to 45 years. In 2022, it remained at 45 years.

Table 3.2 Australia's overseas-born population - top 10 countries of birth by median age and sex ratio(a)
 Median age(c)   Sex ratio(d)  
Country of birth(b)200220122022 200220122022
England525359 102104104
India403236 117125118
China(e)413540 898279
New Zealand383946 105106103
Philippines393941 546465
Vietnam384448 958678
South Africa374046 9910098
Malaysia403943 878788
Italy636973 111106105
Nepal282829 203139124
All overseas-born464545 999895
Australia-born (f)323335 9899100
Total population363738 999999
  1. Population estimates for 2022 are preliminary. See Revision status in the methodology page.
  2. Top 10 countries of birth for overseas-born residents in Australia as at 30 June 2022.
  3. Median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.
  4. Sex ratio is the number of males per 100 females.
  5. Excludes SARs and Taiwan.
  6. 2022 includes Norfolk Island.

Migrant populations from countries which were part of the post-second world war migration streams tend to be older. For example, the Greek-born population has a median age of 75 years and the Italian-born has a median age of 73 years. Those populations from birthplaces from more recent groups of migrant arrivals are younger. For example, the Nepalese-born population has a median age of 29 years, 6 years younger than for those born in Australia.

In 2022 (among those overseas-born populations of 100 or more), the group with the:

  • oldest median age was from Latvia, at 79 years
  • youngest median age - Qatar, at 15 years
  • highest sex ratio - Vanuatu, with 301 males per 100 females
  • lowest sex ratio - Thailand, with 44 males per 100 females.

International comparisons

In 2020, the United Nations estimated there were 280.6 million international migrants worldwide, 3.6% of the global population.

When comparing countries by the number of overseas-born in their respective populations, the USA was the highest with 50.6 million migrants. This made up 15.3% of their national population.

Germany followed with 15.8 million migrants (18.8% of their population) and then Saudi Arabia with 13.5 million migrants (38.6% of their population).

Australia ranked ninth with 7.7 million migrants (29.9% of the population in 2020).

Table 4.1 Overseas-born populations around the world - top 20 countries with migrants(a) 
 2010201020202020
 million%(b)million%(b)
USA44.1814.350.6315.3
Germany9.8112.115.7618.8
Saudi Arabia8.4330.713.4538.6
Russian Federation11.197.811.648.0
United Kingdom(c)7.1211.29.3613.8
United Arab Emirates7.3285.68.7288.1
France7.3111.68.5213.1
Canada6.7619.88.0521.3
Australia(d)5.8826.77.6729.9
Spain(e)6.2813.46.8414.6
Italy5.799.86.3910.6
Türkiye1.371.96.057.2
Ukraine4.8210.55.0011.4
India5.570.54.880.4
Kazakhstan3.3320.53.7319.9
Thailand3.234.83.635.2
Malaysia2.428.63.4810.7
Jordan2.7938.43.4633.9
Pakistan3.942.23.281.5
Kuwait1.8762.73.1172.8
World220.983.2280.603.6
  1. Top 10 countries are ranked based on their number of migrants in 2020.
  2. Proportion of each country's population born-overseas.
  3. Excludes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  4. 2020 includes Norfolk Island. Data is sourced from the ABS.
  5. Includes Ceuta and Melilla.

 Source: United Nations Population Division International Migration Stock 2020

Data downloads

I-note for Excel data cubes

1. Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth has been rebased to the 2021 Census of Population. Rebased estimates supersede all estimates from June 2016, for further information see Methodology used in rebased population estimates, June 2021. ERP by country of birth is final up to 2021 and preliminary up to 30 June 2022. It may differ to previously published data. See Revision status in the methodology page.

2. Country of birth population estimates by state and territory are only available for Census years with the most recent being for 2021.

3. The median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

4. The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females. It has not been calculated for those countries of birth with a population of less than 100 persons.

5. Country classification and codes are from the: Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0).

6. The ABS has identified an unrealistically high number of deaths from 2012 to 2014 being attributed to persons born in Isle of Man. For the Australian population born in Isle of Man, this has resulted in an underestimate of ERP for the period 2012 to 2015.

7. From 2016, Norfolk Island has been included in Australia's population following the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015. For 2016, the estimate includes those who were counted in the Australian 2016 Census of Population and Housing on the 9 August and then backdated to the 30 June. For more information see the Feature Article: Final rebasing of Australia's population estimates using the 2016 Census.

8. Estimates of population counts in the data cubes have been rounded to the nearest 10 to maintain confidentiality. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals. All calculations and analysis are based on un-rounded data. Calculations made on rounded data may differ to those published.

Excel data cubes

Data files

  

Data Explorer datasets

Caution: Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

For information on Data Explorer and how it works, see the Data Explorer user guide.

I-note for Data Explorer datasets

1. Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth has been rebased to the 2021 Census of Population. Rebased estimates supersede all estimates from June 2016, for further information see Methodology used in rebased population estimates, June 2021. ERP by country of birth is final up to 2021 and preliminary up to 30 June 2022. It may differ to previously published data. See Revision status in the methodology page.

2. Country of birth population estimates by state and territory are only available for Census years with the most recent being for 2021.

3. The median age is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

4. The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females. It has not been calculated for those countries of birth with a population of less than 100 persons.

5. Country classification and codes are from the: Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0).

6. The ABS has identified an unrealistically high number of deaths from 2012 to 2014 being attributed to persons born in Isle of Man. For the Australian population born in Isle of Man, this has resulted in an underestimate of ERP for the period 2012 to 2015.

7. From 2016, Norfolk Island has been included in Australia's population following the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015. For 2016, the estimate includes those who were counted in the Australian 2016 Census of Population and Housing on the 9 August and then backdated to the 30 June. For more information see the Feature Article: Final rebasing of Australia's population estimates using the 2016 Census.

8. Estimates of population counts in the data cubes have been rounded to the nearest 10 to maintain confidentiality. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals. All calculations and analysis are based on un-rounded data. Calculations made on rounded data may differ to those published.

Related ABS publications

National, state and territory population
- includes quarterly data on net overseas migration and net interstate migration estimates.

Regional population
- includes annual data on regional overseas migration and regional internal migration estimates.

Overseas arrivals and departures, Australia
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Overseas migration
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Permanent migrants in Australia — 2021
- statistics about permanent migrants who arrived in Australia between 1 January 2000 and 10 August 2021.

Temporary visa holders in Australia — 2021
- statistics about selected types of temporary visa holders who were present in Australia on Census Night, 10 August 2021.

Migrant settlement outcomes — 2023
- statistics on selected economic and social outcomes of permanent migrants.

Personal income in Australia — migrant content
- Regional data on the number of income earners, amounts received, and the distribution of income for the 2015-16 to 2019-20 financial years.

Jobs in Australia — migrant content
- Information about the number and nature of filled jobs, the people who hold them and their employers.

Personal income of migrants, Australia — 2016-17
- statistics on personal income of migrants including employee income, own unincorporated business income, investment income and other income.

Migrant data matrices
- provides users with links to available summary data on migrants from a wide range of ABS surveys and outputs.

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