Australia – still a nation of immigrants

The 2016 Census shows that we were born in 200 different countries with half of us having been born overseas or with at least one parent born overseas. We represent 300 ancestries and speak 300 different languages.

Australia has a higher proportion of overseas-born people (26%) than US (14%), Canada (22%), New Zealand (23 %) and UK (13%). Over 50% of Australians had one grandparent born overseas. 

China and India are the most common countries of birth for new arrivals in Australia. This growth is mostly due to the increase in the number of international students, with the Chinese making up 8.3% of those born overseas and India 7.4%. 

Whilst we do speak more than 300 languages at home (including Auslan), English is the dominant language, with 72% of speaking it at home. Mandarin (2.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Vietnamese (1.2%) and Cantonese (1.2%) were top languages spoken at home in 2016.