26% of Australians were born overseas

26% of Australians were born overseas

Over a quarter of the Australian population are foreign born migrants, according to the last Census, and where they settle in the country may well depend on where they came from.


Census data reveals over a quarter of Australians were born overseas plus some interesting trends of where migrants choose to settle in the country.

In the 2011 Census, there were a total of 5.3 million migrants living in Australia, which means one in every four (26%) Australian residents were born overseas.

Most of Australia’s migrant population are British-born, with 1.1million (around 1 in 20 citizens) hailing from the UK. The second largest contributor to Australia’s migrant population – with 483,000 having made the move – is our closest neighbour, New Zealand.

At the time of the Census, there were also around 319,000 China-born migrants, 295,000 India-born migrants and 185,000 Italians and Vietnamese living in the country.

The Census indicates that most migrants move to Australia for the long-haul, with the majority of European-born migrants having long called Australia home, having lived down under for several decades – many in excess of 40 years.

Migrants from countries like China, India and other Asian countries are relatively new to the Australian migrant population, typically being in the country for between five and six years, with the proportion of migrants from these countries growing steadily.

According to the data, European and Australian born nationals prefer to settle close to, yet outside, major city limits. 64% of Australian-born nationals live in urban areas while 85% of foreign born nationals prefer living in urban areas.

Interestingly, some of the most urbanised population groups in Australia were migrants born in Somalia (98%), Lebanon, Macau, Macedonia, China and Vietnam all at 97%, followed by Greece at 95% and India at 93%.

Migrants from New Zealand (78%), the United Kingdom (74%), Germany (72%) and the Netherlands (64%) tended to be less concentrated in major urban areas.

Also, migrants in Australia tended to live in Australia’s two largest cities with just under half of all migrants residing in either Sydney (1.4 million – 39% of the city’s total) or Melbourne (1.2 million – 35% of the city’s total). Perth had the third largest migrant population in Australia at 568,000 – 37% of the city’s total population.

IMAGE: Shutterstock.com (Tashatuvango)