Most expats in Australia were born in the UK, figures show

by Ray Clancy on August 15, 2012

In June 2011 an estimated 27% of the resident population was born overseas

Of the six million plus migrants living in Australia, over a million people were born in the United Kingdom, new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal.

The next largest group was those who were born in New Zealand, followed by China, India and Vietnam.

However, over the last decade, the proportion of Australian residents who were born in the UK has declined from 5.8% of the population in 2001 to 5.3% in 2011.

In contrast, the proportions increased for people born in New Zealand from 2% to 2.5%, for those born in China it has gone up from 0.8% to 1.8% and those born in India have increased from 0.5% to 1.5%.

In the year 2010/2011, the most populated states received the greatest number of overseas migrants. New South Wales with a net of 50,200 persons, followed by Victoria at 45,700 persons and Queensland with 31,300 persons. The Northern Territory had the lowest contribution with a net of 630 persons.

Over the same period net interstate migration contributed to a population gain for Queensland of 7,200 persons, Western Australia 6,200 persons, Victoria 3,800 persons and the Australian Capital Territory 1,400 persons.

Those states that lost from interstate migration were New South Wales which was down 13,200 persons, South Australia 2,600 persons, the Northern Territory 2,500 persons and Tasmania 50 persons.

In terms of Australia’s population growth, for the top 50 countries of birth at 30 June 2011, persons born in Nepal had the highest rate of increase between 2001 and 2011 with an average annual growth rate of 27%. However, this growth began from a small base of 2,800 persons at 30 June 2001.

The second fastest increase over this period was in the number of persons born in Sudan at 17.6% per year on average, followed by those born in India at 12.7%, Bangladesh at 11.9% and Pakistan at 10.2%.

Of the top 50 countries of birth, the number of persons born in Hungary decreased the most, with an average annual decrease of 1.4%, closely followed by both Italy and Poland, with an average annual decrease of 1.3% each. The next largest decreases were of persons born in Malta and Cyprus at 0.8% each.

The cultural and linguistic diversity of Australia’s resident population has been reshaped over many years by migration. Historically, more people immigrate to, than emigrate from, Australia.

At 30 June 2011, 27% of the estimated resident population was born overseas, some six million people, an increase of 23.1% from ten years earlier when it was 4.5 million people.

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