Australia is a multicultural society, and data released today only helps to underline that point.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a record 28.5%, or 6.9 million, of Australia’s total population was born overseas as at the end of June last year, driven largely by strong immigration levels from China and India in particular.
Just a decade ago, that proportion stood at 24.6%, or 5 million persons.
“Over the past 10 years, the number of Australian residents born overseas has continued to increase, in particular those born in India and China have both more than doubled in this time,” the ABS said.
This chart from the ABS shows the proportion of Australia’s population by nation of birth, showing the change from 2006 through to 2016.
There have been some noticeable changes, with the proportion of Australia’s population born in Europe steadily declining while those born in Asian nations continuing to increase.
In overall terms, the ABS says that United Kingdom remains the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 5% of Australia’s total population at the end of June last year.
That cohort was followed by persons born in New Zealand (2.5%), China (2.2%), India (1.9%) and the Philippines and Vietnam, both at 1.0%.
Helping to explain the increase in Australia’s overseas-born population over recent years, a massive 482,665 overseas arrivals — which includes Australian citizens — migrated to Australia over the year.
Of those, 56.5% arrived on a temporary visa. A smaller 19.5% arrived on a permanent visa.
15.4% were Australian citizens returning home, meaning that total arrivals born overseas stood at a shade under 400,000.
In comparison, overseas departures — again including Australian citizens — numbered 293,391 over the same period.
As a result, net overseas migration stood at 182,200 for the 2015/16 financial year, up 3% on a year earlier.
And, as seen in this final chart, most of those who did arrive ended up in Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria.
In terms of movements of the population already living in Australia, the ABS said that net interstate migration rose in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.
“Victoria continues to have the largest gains, increasing to 16,700 compared with 10,200 from the previous year,” said the ABS.
“Queensland had the second highest net gain from interstate migration with 11,600.
“New South Wales once again recorded the largest net loss in 2015-16 of 11,300.”