Notes on the data: Birthplace & Non-English speaking residents

People born (overseas) in predominantly English speaking countries, 2016


Policy context:  In 2016, the Census of Population and Housing revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of Australia's population (6,163,667 people) were born overseas, up from 25% in 2011. This continues a trend that has seen an increase in the number of overseas-born people living in Australia since the first Census in 1911 (excluding periods during both World Wars where migration to Australia stagnated). Of the overseas-born population, nearly one in five (18%) had arrived since the start of 2012 [1].

Those people born overseas in the main English speaking countries were born in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America. In 2016, the United Kingdom and New Zealand were the leading countries of birth for the overseas-born population from any country (21.0% and 9.1%, respectively) [1].

In 2016, nearly half (49.5%) of all Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas:

  • More than a quarter (28%) of the Australian population were first generation Australians (born overseas).
  • 21% of the population were second generation Australians (born in Australia, but had one or both parents born overseas).
  • Half (51%) of the population were at least third generation Australians (born in Australia, as were both of their parents) [1].


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Cultural diversity in Australia - Reflecting Australia: Stories from the Census, 2016. (ABS Cat. no. 2071.0). Canberra: ABS; 2017 [accessed 8 August 2017]. Available from:

Notes:  Countries designated as predominantly English speaking are Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The numerator excludes the 6.9% of the population (this percentage varies across States/Territories) who did not provide their country of birth: however, these records are included in the denominator.


Geography:  Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  People born (overseas) in English speaking countries


Denominator:  Total population


Detail of analysis:  Percent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2016


© PHIDU, Torrens University Australia This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence.