Australia’s migrant population is at its highest since the Gold Rush in the late 1800s, with almost 30 per cent of people living in Australia born overseas.
More than 1.2 million UK-born people call Australia home and are the biggest migrant group in the country, according to the Migration Australia 2013-14 report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Despite the UK being Australia’s biggest migration source, the face of Australia is rapidly changing, with a doubling number of Chinese-born Australian residents and a drop in UK migrants.
Since 2004, the proportion of the population born in the UK fell from 5.6 to 5.2 per cent, while the number of Chinese-born residents grew from 205,200 to 447,400.
ABS director of demography Denise Carlton said overseas migration accounted for more than 50 per cent of Australia’s population growth.
“Australia traditionally had a high proportion of migrants, but we’ve now hit a peak not seen since the gold rushes of the late 1800s,” Ms Carlton said.
“Overseas migration has been a large contributor to the total Australian population growth for several years – it has consistently been the main driver since 2005-06, contributing more than 50 per cent of population growth in Australia.”
New Zealanders were the second biggest migrant group, with 617,000 living Down Under as of June 2014.
Indian-born Australians were the fourth-biggest migrant group, tripling since 2004 to become 1.7 per cent of the Australian population.
Countries included in the top 10 were the Philippines, Vietnam, Italy, South Africa, Malaysia and Germany.
New South Wales is home to the biggest share of overseas migrants, gaining 73,300 in 2014-13, while Victoria came second (59,400) and Western Australia third (32,300).
Australia’s migrant population
United Kingdom – 1,221,300
New Zealand – 617,000
China – 447,400
India – 397,200
Phillipines – 225,100
Vietnam – 223,200
Italy – 201,800
South Africa – 176,300
Malaysia – 153,900
Germany – 129,000