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About a quarter of Australia's population was born overseas. In 2003-04, Australia had a net migration rate of 5.8 persons per 1,000 population. This was equal to the net migration rate of Canada and higher than those of New Zealand and the United States. In that financial year Australia gained 117,000 people through migration, which is about the same as the number of live births.

In 2001, the date of the last Census, the majority of those were born overseas came from Britain and New Zealand, although the proportion of British-born in Australia is declining. Migrants who came out to Australia from Eastern and Southern Europe following the Second World War are now ageing, and considerably fewer people from these countries make up our immigration intake these days. Instead migrants today are more likely to come from East Asia and the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa is becoming a new and quickly growing source of new Australians (interestingly, the Dutch are also on the move down-under, for the same reasons as the South Sudanese…)

However the distribution of migrants within Australia is uneven, with the newly arrived preferring to settle in the largest cities, particuarly Sydney and Melbourne. Indeed while in 2003-04 New South Wales gained 39,300 people through international migration, it lost 30,400 people to interstate migration (typically seachangers heading north to sunny Queensland). Few migrants choose to settle in regional Australia, or even in moderately sized towns outside state capitals.

On the night of the 2001 Census there were 19,071,356 people residents in Australia, defined as people with Australian citizenship, Permanent Residency visa holders and anybody aside from diplomats who have been in Australia for at least one year. Below are details of the Australian resident population who were born in the top 32 country of birth categories, as well as the state that is home to the largest number of persons from each country:


1..Australia.........13,713,839.....(71.9% of total population; 33% reside in New South Wales)
2..UK.................1,039,802......(5.5% of total population; 27% reside in New South Wales)
3..New Zealand..........356,686......(1.9% of total population; 36% reside in Queensland)
4..Italy................220,069......(1.2% of total population; 41% reside in Victoria)
5..Vietnam..............154,889......(0.8% of total population; 41% reside in New South Wales)
6..China................142,724......(0.7% of total population; 60% reside in New South Wales)
7..Greece...............116,909......(0.6% of total population; 49% reside in Victoria)
8..Germany..............108,790......(0.6% of total population; 30% reside in New South Wales)
9..Philippines..........104,247......(0.5% of total population; 50% reside in New South Wales)
10.India.................95,546......(0.5% of total population; 40% reside in New South Wales)
11.Netherlands...........83,641......(0.4% of total population; 28% reside in Victoria)
12.South Africa..........79,468......(0.4% of total population; 36% reside in New South Wales)
13.Malaysia..............78,788......(0.4% of total population; 31% reside in Victoria)
14.Lebanon...............71,322......(0.4% of total population; 75% reside in New South Wales)
15.Hong Kong.............67,095......(0.4% of total population; 56% reside in New South Wales)
16.Poland................58,336......(0.3% of total population; 34% reside in Victoria)
17.Yugoslavia............55,793......(0.3% of total population; 36% reside in New South Wales)
18.USA...................53,910......(0.3% of total population; 36% reside in New South Wales)
19.Sri Lanka.............53,523......(0.3% of total population; 50% reside in Victoria)
20.Croatia...............52,342......(0.3% of total population; 36% reside in Victoria)
21.Ireland...............50,329......(0.3% of total population; 35% reside in New South Wales)
22.Malta.................47,125......(0.2% of total population; 47% reside in Victoria)
23.Indonesia.............47,008......(0.2% of total population; 45% reside in New South Wales)
24.Fijian Islands........44,355......(0.2% of total population; 61% reside in New South Wales)
25.Macedonia.............44,126......(0.2% of total population; 45% reside in New South Wales)
26.South Korea...........38,862......(0.2% of total population; 72% reside in New South Wales)
27.Singapore.............33,496......(0.2% of total population; 31% reside in Western Australia)
28.Egypt.................33,492......(0.2% of total population; 52% reside in New South Wales)
29.Turkey................30,199......(0.2% of total population; 51% reside in Victoria)
30.Canada................27,384......(0.1% of total population; 34% reside in NSW)
31.Japan.................25,771......(0.1% of total population; 40% reside in New South Wales)
32.France................17,285......(0.1% of total population; 38% reside in New South Wales)

709,610 people were born in other countries, or 3.7% of the Australian population.

Looking at Australia for different categories by postcodes:

Australia-born

2000 (representing the Sydney CBD) has the lowest proportion of Australian-born people (26% of its 5,520 residents), while 3562 (representing a part of country Victoria called Torrumbarry) has the highest proportion of Australian-born people (99.1% of its 120 residents). Isolated areas off the tourist circuit and away from mining settlements have the lowest proportion of migrants.

Chinese-born

Although several Australian cities have Chinatowns, the largest concentration of China-born are in inner West Sydney suburbs with postcodes of 2194 (Campsie, 17.8%). Nearby postcodes like 2220 (Hurstville) and 2134 (Burwood) also have high concentrations. The more affluent Chinese from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are distributed more widely throughout Sydney and across Australia in general - Perth has large Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian populations.

Korea-born

The closest Australia has to a Koreatown might be Strathfield in Sydney, with 9.5% of the population in the 2135 postcode having been born in South Korea.

Europe-born

Macedonians are strongly represented in the former steelwork town of Wollongong, with 14.1% of the people in the 2505 postcode (Port Kembla) having been born in the former Yugoslav republic. Other industrialised suburbs and cities are associated with migrants from particular countries Europe who filled Australia’s short-lived manufacturing sector: the Italians with Haberfield in Sydney (20.1% of the 2045 postcode), the Turks with Meadow Heights in Melbourne (13.6% of the 3048 postcode) the Greeks with Earlwood in Sydney (comprising of 11.3% of the 2206 postcode), and the Maltese with Ardeer in Melbourne (comprising of 8.8% of the 3022 postcode).

British-born

Seven of the top ten postcodes for having the highest concentration of British-born are in Perth. I know kiosks on the Joondalup line which sell The Daily Express but not The Australian.

Lebanon-born

Although the Lebanese-born population is heavily clustered in Sydney, contrary to public belief the postcode where they are relatively the most numerous is 2190 (Greenacre), with 14.5% being born in Lebanon, and not 2195 (yup, Lakemba). In fact Lakemba’s postcode comes in at number seven.

Vietnam-born

The Vietnamese-born likewise converge in certain areas more frequently than more established groups; there are three postcodes where over 20% of the population were born in Vietnam (Cabramatta in Sydney, Springvale and Braybrook in Melbourne. Unlike the Lebanese-born there is nearly as many of them living in Melbourne as there is in Sydney.

New Zealand-born

New Zealanders may have a reputation for just hanging around the Gold Coast, and indeed Queensland beachside postcodes represent seven of the top ten postcodes for the proportion of Kiwis. However the highest proportion of New Zealand-born residents are stuck out in the desert communities of Kambalda and Leinster in Western Australia.

Generally over time, as a migrant community becomes more established in a host country its population will be less concentrated in particular regions.

ref: www.abs.gov.au, www.dimia.gov.au.

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