30 July 2010

One in four Australians is foreign born, new figures show

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New figures released yesterday show steady increases in migration since the late 1960s has meant currently one in four Australians is foreign born.

Australian Visa

One in four Australians are overseas-born, new figures show.

The next Prime Minister of Australia will also be foreign born, regardless of who wins the Federal election next month.

Both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott are foreign-born: Gillard was born in Wales, and Abbott in London.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday show that by mid last year an extraordinary 26.5 per cent of the Australian population were born overseas - the highest proportion since Federation in 1901.

Indeed, Australia was at its most “Australian” in 1947 when 90 per cent of Australians were born here.  After World War II, the Australian government embarked on a massive immigration program, encouraging Europeans to emigrate to Australia by the hundreds of thousands.

Britain remains the largest single foreign birthplace for Australians, with some 5.4 per cent of our present population, followed by New Zealand, with 2.4 per cent.

In the past decade, China (1.6 per cent) and India (1.4 per cent) have displaced Italy and Vietnam in third and fourth place.

The figures also show the most recent Australian migrants are highly desirable, with two-thirds of recent migrants are aged between 15 and 34. This age group use less public services, such as schools or nursing homes, and are a source of skills for the economy as well as helping to provide support to an increasingly aging population.
New migrants also overwhelmingly chose to settle in New South Wales and Victoria, but as a proportion of its population, Western Australia is by far the most affected with migration making up 4.4 per cent of its population turnover. Around 30 per cent of West Australians were born overseas compared with 26 per cent in NSW and Victoria.

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