Census data shows Australia becoming a more culturally diverse nation

by Ray Clancy on June 27, 2017

in Australia

Australia is a fast changing, ever expanding, culturally diverse nation with an increasing variety in terms of country of birth, languages spoken, and religious affiliation or secular beliefs across the country, new data shows.

The information from the Census shows that 67% of the Australian population were born in Australia while 49% had either been born overseas or one or both parents had been born overseas.


While England and New Zealand were still the next most common countries of birth after Australia, the proportion of people born in China and India has increased since 2011 from 6% to 8.3% and 5.6% to 7.4%.

The figures also shows that of the 6,163,667 people born overseas, nearly one in five, some 18%, had arrived since the start of 2012.

In 2016 some 83% of the overseas born population lived in a capital city compared with 61% of people born in Australia; Sydney had the largest overseas born population.

There were over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes and 21% of Australians spoke a language other than English at home. After English, the next most common languages spoken at home were Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

Tasmania had the highest rate of people speaking only English at home with 88% doing so while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 58%.

Christianity remains the most commonly reported religion for 52.1% of the population. The Islamic population with 2.6% of the total population was the second largest religion, closely followed by Buddhism at 2.4%.

While the clear majority of Australians reported a religion, the ‘no religion’ count increased to almost a third of the Australian population between 2011 and 2016 from 22% to 30%. No religion was the most common individual response in the 2016 Census.

‘The 2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years,’ said. Statistician David Kalisch.

The data also shows that 1.3 million new migrants have come to call Australia home since 2011, from some of the 180 countries of birth recorded in the Census, with China at 191,000 and India at 163,000 being the most common countries of birth of our new arrivals.

While the majority of migrants settled in Sydney and Melbourne, most Kiwis choose to call Queensland home, with 35% of the 98,000 New Zealanders who have arrived in Australia since 2011 settling in the Sunshine State.

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