2071.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the Census, 2016  
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CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA

2016 CENSUS DATA SUMMARY

WHAT IS CULTURAL DIVERSITY?

Cultural diversity relates to a person’s country of birth, their ancestry, the country of birth of their parents, what languages they speak, whether they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and their religious affiliation. The Census collects information on many characteristics that highlight the rich cultural diversity of Australian society.


COUNTRY OF BIRTH

The 2016 Census shows that two thirds (67%) of the Australian population were born in Australia. Of the 6,163,667 overseas-born persons, nearly one in five (18%) had arrived since the start of 2012.

While England and New Zealand were still the next most common countries of birth after Australia, the proportion of those born overseas who were born in China and India has increased since 2011 (from 6.0% to 8.3%, and 5.6% to 7.4% respectively).

The Philippines has swapped places with Italy in the top 10 list, moving from number 8 to number 6.

Malaysia now appears in the top 10 countries of birth (replacing Scotland) and represents 0.6% of the Australian population.

TOP FIVE COUNTRIES OF BIRTH AS A PROPORTION OF THE TOTAL POPULATION
A map and table, with the top five countries of birth highlighted.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016


ANCESTRY

Ancestry is an indication of the cultural group that a person most closely identifies with.

Over 300 ancestries were separately identified in the 2016 Census. The most commonly reported ancestries were English (36%) and Australian (34%).

A further six of the leading ten ancestries reflected a European heritage. The two remaining ancestries in the top 10 were Chinese (5.6%) and Indian (4.6%).

TOP FIVE REPORTED ANCESTRIES AS A PROPORTION OF ALL REPORTED ANCESTRIES, 2016
Family tree infographic representing the top 5 listed ancestries. English 36.1%, Australian 33.5%, Irish 11.0%, Scottish 9.3% and Chinese 5.6%.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



LANGUAGES

In 2016, there were over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes. More than one-fifth (21%) of Australians spoke a language other than English at home.

TOP FIVE LANGUAGES SPOKEN AT HOME AS A PROPORTION OF ALL LANGUAGES SPOKEN, 2016
Speech bubbles “hello” in five most common languages spoken. English only 72.7%, Mandarin 2.5%, Arabic 1.4%, Cantonese 1.2% and Vietnamese 1.2%.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POPULATION, 2016
Shape of Australia showing 649,171 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, 2.8% of population.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has increased since 2011 from 2.5% to 2.8% of the Australian population. Further information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is available in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population data summary.


RELIGION
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS REPORTED BY THE AUSTRALIAN POPULATION, 2016

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

In 2016, Christianity was the main religion reported in Australia (52%).

While the Islamic population made up only 2.6% of the total population, it was the second largest religion reported in the 2016 Census after Christianity. Islam was closely followed by Buddhism (2.4%).

The 'No Religion' count increased to almost a third of the Australian population between 2011 and 2016 (22% to 30%).


THE GENERATIONS OF AUSTRALIANS

In 2016, nearly half (49%) of Australians had either been born overseas (first generation Australian) or one or both parents had been born overseas (second generation Australian).

FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD OR MORE GENERATION AUSTRALIANS, 2016
Pie graph showing proportion of first, second and third-plus generations of Australians.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


WHERE MIGRANTS LIVE

For Australia's overseas-born population, New South Wales was still the most popular state or territory to live in 2016 (2,072,454 people or 34% of the overseas-born population).

OVERSEAS-BORN POPULATION RESIDING IN EACH STATE AND TERRITORY 2016(a)
Map of Australia showing the number of migrants in each state/territory and proportion within Australia.
(a) Usual residence Census counts. Excludes overseas visitors.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016


In 2016, 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.


EXPLANATORY INFORMATION

For definitions of the terms used above, see the Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016 (cat. no. 2901.0). For more information about 2016 Census data release and products, go to www.abs.gov.au/census.

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