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Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the
citizens Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law it is membership to a sovereign state (a country). Each state is free to determine the condit ...
, nationals and individuals associated with the country of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
. Between 1788 and the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller islands."Britis ...
(principally
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
,
Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, ...
and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
), although there was significant immigration from
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million m ...
and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German , demonym = German , government_type = Federal parliamentary republi ...
during the 19th century. Many early British settlements were
penal colonies Penal is a town in south Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. It lies south of San Fernando, Princes Town, and Debe, and north of Moruga, Morne Diablo and Siparia. It was originally a rice- and cocoa-producing area but is now a rapidly expanding and deve ...
to house transported convicts.
Immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, and ot ...
of "free settlers" increased exponentially from the 1850s, following a series of gold rushes. In the decades immediately following the Second World War, Australia received a large wave of immigration from across
Europe Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlant ...
, with many more immigrants arriving from
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South, a point in direction. * Southern (surname) Businesses * China Southern Airlines, airline based in Guangzhou, China * Southern Airways, defunct US airline * Southern Air, air cargo transportation company bas ...
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and s ...
than in previous decades. Since the end of the
White Australia policy The White Australia policy is a term encapsulating a set of historical racial policies that aimed to forbid people of non-European ethnic origin, especially Asians and Pacific Islanders, from immigrating to Australia, starting in 1901. Subsequen ...
in 1973, Australia has pursued an official policy of
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for "ethnic pluralism", with the two terms often used interc ...
and has the world's eighth-largest
immigrant Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, and ot ...
population, with immigrants accounting for 30 percent of the population in 2019. A large and continuing wave of immigration to Australia from across the world has continued into the 21st century, with
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with b ...
now being the largest source of immigrants. A smaller proportion are descended from Australia's
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ''indigenous'' was first, in its modern contex ...
, comprising
Aboriginal Australians Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Torres Strait Islands. T ...
,
Aboriginal Tasmanians The Aboriginal Tasmanians (Palawa kani: ''Palawa'' or ''Pakana'') are the Aboriginal people of the Australian island of Tasmania, located south of the mainland. For much of the 20th century, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people were widely, and err ...
and
Torres Strait Islanders Torres Strait Islanders () are the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them ...
. The development of a separate Australian identity and national character began in the 19th century, linked with the anti-transportation and nativist movements and the
Eureka Rebellion The Eureka Rebellion occurred in 1854, instigated by gold miners in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, who revolted against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom. It culminated in the Battle of the Eureka Stockade, which was fought between ...
during the colonial period and culminated in the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901. The primary language is
Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto'' common language. English is the first language of the major ...
, and
Australian culture The culture of Australia is primarily a Western culture, derived from Britain but also influenced by the unique geography of Australia, the cultural input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Australian people. The British colonization ...
and
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to incl ...
have historically developed from
Anglo-Celtic Anglo-Celtic people are descended primarily from British and Irish people. The concept is mainly relevant outside of Great Britain and Ireland, particularly in Australia, but is also used in Canada, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa, w ...
and Western traditions.


Overview

The majority of Australians or their ancestors immigrated within the past four centuries, with the exception of the
indigenous population Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ''indigenous'' was first, in its modern contex ...
and others from outlying islands who became Australian through expansion of the country. Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the
culture of Australia The culture of Australia is primarily a Western culture, derived from Britain but also influenced by the unique geography of Australia, the cultural input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Australian people. The British colonization ...
held in common by most Australians can also be referred to as
mainstream The mainstream is the prevalent current thought that is widespread. It includes all popular culture and media culture, typically disseminated by mass media. This word is sometimes used in a pejorative sense by subcultures who view ostensibly mai ...
Australian culture, a
Western culture Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political sy ...
largely derived from the traditions of British and Irish colonists, settlers, and immigrants. The
Colony of New South Wales The Colony of New South Wales was a colony of the British Empire from 1788 to 1900, when it became a State of the Commonwealth of Australia. At its greatest extent, the colony of New South Wales included the present-day Australian states of New S ...
was established by the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a so ...
in 1788, with the arrival of the
First Fleet The First Fleet comprised the 11 ships that departed from Portsmouth, England on 13 May 1787 to New South Wales, the penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. The First Fleet consisted of two Royal Navy vessels, thre ...
, and five other colonies were established in the early 19th century, now forming the six present-day
Australian states The States and Territories of Australia are the regional governments in Australia, distinct from the federal government and local governments. States are self-administered regions with their own constitutions, legislature, police force, depar ...
. Large-scale immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South, a point in direction. * Southern (surname) Businesses * China Southern Airlines, airline based in Guangzhou, China * Southern Airways, defunct US airline * Southern Air, air cargo transportation company bas ...
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and s ...
introducing a variety of elements. Immigration from the
Middle East The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes Western Asia (except for Transcaucasia), all of Egypt (mostly in North Africa), and Turkey (partly in Southeast Europe). The term has come into wider usa ...

Middle East
, south and east Asia,
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean are Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Depending on the context, ''Pacific Islands'' may refer to countrie ...
,
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
, and
Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions = , demonym = Latin American , countries = 20 , dependencies = 14 , languages = Romance languages Ot ...
has also been having an impact. The predominance of the
English language English is a West Germanic language first spoken in early medieval England, which has eventually become the leading language of international discourse in the 21st century. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples tha ...

English language
, the existence of a
democratic system Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators. The decisions on who is considered par ...
of government drawing upon the British traditions of the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive branc ...
of government, Parliamentarianism and
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, American
constitutionalist Constitutionalism is "a compound of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law". Political organizations are constitutional t ...
and
federalist The term ''federalist'' describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties, whose members or supporters called themselves ''Federalists''.http://m-w.com/dictionary/federalist. History Europe In Eur ...
traditions,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.4 billion followers. Its adherents, known as Christians, make up a majority of the populati ...
as the dominant religion, and the popularity of sports originating in (or influenced by) the British Isles, are all evidence of a significant
Anglo-Celtic Anglo-Celtic people are descended primarily from British and Irish people. The concept is mainly relevant outside of Great Britain and Ireland, particularly in Australia, but is also used in Canada, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa, w ...
heritage. Australian culture has diverged significantly since British settlement. Sporting teams representing the whole of Australia have been in existence since the 1870s. Australians are referred to as "
Aussie Aussie is Australian slang for Australian, both the adjective and the noun, and less commonly, Australia. Aussie can be used in the form of an adjective, noun, or proper noun. Pronunciation In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the Un ...
" and are may be referred to as "
Antipodean 360px, The same map, from the perspective of the Western Hemisphere. Here the blue areas are the reflections of the Eastern Hemisphere. In geography, the antipode ( or ) of any spot on Earth is the point on Earth's surface diametrically opposite ...
" by those in the
northern hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of the Earth that is north of the Equator. For other planets in the Solar System, north is defined as being in the same celestial hemisphere relative to the invariable plane of the solar system as Earth's N ...
. Prior to the introduction of
Australian citizenship Australian nationality law determines who is and who is not an Australian citizen. The legal status of Australian nationality or Australian citizenship was created by the ''Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948''. (in 1973 renamed the ''Australi ...
, Australians had the status of "
British subject The term "British subject" has several different meanings depending on the time period. Before 1949, it referred to almost all citizens of the British Empire (including the United Kingdom, Dominions, and colonies, but excluding protectorates an ...
s". As a result of many shared linguistic, historical, cultural and geographic characteristics, Australians have often identified closely with
New Zealanders New Zealanders, colloquially known as Kiwis (), are people associated with New Zealand, sharing a common history, culture, and language (New Zealand English and or Māori language). People of various ethnicities and national origins are citizens ...
in particular. Furthermore, elements of Indigenous,
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citizens and nationals of the United States of America ** American ancestry, people who self-id ...
,
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...
, and more recent immigrant customs, languages, and religions have also combined to form the modern Australian culture.


Ancestries

In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:


European

Today, Australians of European (including
Anglo-Celtic Anglo-Celtic people are descended primarily from British and Irish people. The concept is mainly relevant outside of Great Britain and Ireland, particularly in Australia, but is also used in Canada, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa, w ...
) descent are the majority in Australia, estimated at approximately 76% of the total population in 2016.McEvoy, Brian P., et al. "Geographical structure and differential natural selection among North European populations." Genome research 19.5 (2009): 804–814. "Approximately 85% of current Australians are descendants of European settlers who began arriving in 1788." Historically, European immigrants had great influence over Australian history and society, which resulted in the perception of Australia as a
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
country. Since soon after the beginning of British settlement in 1788, people of European descent have formed the majority of the population in Australia. Although some observers stress Australia's
convict A convict is "a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court" or "a person serving a sentence in prison". Convicts are often also known as "prisoners" or "inmates" or by the slang term "con", while a common label for former convicts, e ...
history, the vast majority of early settlers came of their own free will. Far more Australians are descended from assisted immigrants than from convicts, the majority being British and Irish. About 20 percent of Australians are descendants of convicts. Most of the first Australian settlers came from London, the
Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England and a cultural area that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. The Midlands region is bordered by Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in the Indust ...
and the
North of England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the second most northern area of Great Britain, considered separate due to cultural differences from the other areas – Scotland, Wales, the Midlands of England and th ...

North of England
, and Ireland. Settlers that arrived throughout the 19th century were from all parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, a significant proportion of settlers came from the
Southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degrees, and secondarily d ...
and
Southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degrees, and secondarily d ...
of England, from Ireland and from Scotland.
Anglo-Celtic Australian Anglo-Celtic Australians are Australians whose ancestors originate wholly or partially in the countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. History Pre-Federation The British Government initiated European settlement of the Australian co ...
s have been highly influential in shaping the nation's character. By the mid-1840s, the numbers of freeborn settlers had overtaken the convict population. In 1888, 60 percent of the Australian population had been born in Australia, and almost all had British ancestral origins. Out of the remaining 40 percent, 34 percent had been born in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller islands."Britis ...
, and 6 percent were of European origin, mainly from Germany and
Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl'' ( ) is a subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' can refer to Denmark, Norway and Sweden, sometimes more narr ...

Scandinavia
. In the 1840s, Scots-born immigrants constituted 12 percent of the Australian population. There were 1.3 million British migrants to Australia in the period from 1861 to 1914, of whom 13.5 percent were Scots. 5.3 percent of the convicts transported to Eastern Australia between 1789 and 1852 were Scots. By 1850, there were 290,000
Aboriginal Australians Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Torres Strait Islands. T ...
. The European population grew from 0.3 percent of the population of the continent at 1800 to 58.6 percent in 1850.
Germans The Germans (german: Deutsche) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe.. "Germans are a Germanic (or Teutonic) people that are indigenous to Central Europe... Germanic tribes have inhabited Central Europe since at least Roman time ...
formed the largest non-British community for most of the 19th century. The census of 1901 showed that 98 percent of Australians had Anglo-Celtic ancestral origins, and was considered as "more British than Britain itself". Between 1901 and 1940, 140,000 non-British European immigrants arrived in Australia (about 16 percent of the total intake). Before World War II, 13.6 percent were born overseas, and 80 percent of those were British. In 1939 and 1945, still 98 percent of Australians had British/Anglo-Celtic ancestral origins. Until 1947, the vast majority of the population were of British origin. During the 1950s, Australia was the destination of 30 per cent of
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * D ...
emigrants and the Netherlands-born became numerically the second largest non-British group in Australia. In 1971, 70 percent of the foreign born were of European origin. Abolition of the
White Australia Policy The White Australia policy is a term encapsulating a set of historical racial policies that aimed to forbid people of non-European ethnic origin, especially Asians and Pacific Islanders, from immigrating to Australia, starting in 1901. Subsequen ...
in 1957 led to a significant increase in non-European immigration, mostly from Asia and the Middle East.


Asian

At the 2016 census, there were 3,514,915 nominations of ancestries classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as falling within the geographical categories of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Central and Southern Asia.https://guest.censusdata.abs.gov.au/webapi/jsf/tableView/tableView.xhtml# This represents 16.15 percent of persons who nominated their ancestry.http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/4a256353001af3ed4b2562bb00121564/f31b4dddfa48a2a8ca257a75002adec8!OpenDocument 2,665,814 persons claimed one of the six most commonly nominated Asian ancestries, namely
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China * Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, or ethnicity **''Zhonghua minzu'', the supra-ethnic Chinese nationality ** Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in Mainland China, ...
, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese,
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, an ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language * Korean alphabet, or Hangul Places * Korean Peninsula, a peninsula in East Asia * Korea, ...
and Sri Lankan, at the 2016 census. Persons claiming one of these six ancestries alone represented 12.25 percent of the total population who nominated their ancestry.
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China * Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, or ethnicity **''Zhonghua minzu'', the supra-ethnic Chinese nationality ** Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in Mainland China, ...
, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese,
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, an ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language * Korean alphabet, or Hangul Places * Korean Peninsula, a peninsula in East Asia * Korea, ...
and Sri Lankan are the most commonly nominated Asian ancestries in Australia. Chinese Australians constituted 5.6 percent of the Australian population and Indian Australians constituted 2.8 percent at the 2016 census.


Indigenous

Indigenous Australians are descendants of the original inhabitants of the
Australian continent The continent of Australia, sometimes known in technical contexts by the names Sahul (), Australinea, or Meganesia to distinguish it from the country of Australia, consists of the landmasses which sit on Australia's continental plate. The ...
. Their ancestors are believed to have migrated from
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
to
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with b ...
around 70,000 years ago and arrived in Australia around 50,000 years ago."Aboriginal Australians descend from the first humans to leave Africa, DNA sequence reveals"
''Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)''.
The
Torres Strait Islanders Torres Strait Islanders () are the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them ...
are a distinct people of
Melanesian Melanesians are the predominant and indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from Maluku Islands and New Guinea to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji. Most speak either one of the many languages of the Austronesian language ...
ancestry, indigenous to the
Torres Strait The Torres Strait () is a strait between Australia and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. It is wide at its narrowest extent. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost extremity of the Australian mainland. To the north is the Wes ...

Torres Strait
Islands, which are at the northernmost tip of Queensland near
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini; tcs, Op Deudai), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in ...
, and some nearby settlements on the mainland. The term "Aboriginal" is traditionally applied to only the indigenous inhabitants of mainland Australia and
Tasmania Tasmania (; abbreviated as Tas, nicknamed Tassie, xpz, Lutruwita; Palawa kani: ''Lutruwita'') is an island state of Australia. It is located to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main i ...
, along with some of the adjacent islands. ''Indigenous Australians'' is an inclusive term used when referring to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders, i.e.: the "first peoples". Dispersing across the Australian continent over time, the ancient peoples expanded and differentiated into hundreds of distinct groups, each with its own language and culture.Lourandos, Harry 1997">Lourandos, Harry (1997) "New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory," Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom. . More than 400 distinct Australian Aboriginal peoples have been identified across the continent, distinguished by unique names designating their
ancestral An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an antecedent (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent and so forth). ''Ancestor'' is "any person from whom one ...
languages, dialects, or distinctive speech patterns. In 1770, fearing he had been pre-empted by the French,
James Cook Captain James Cook (7 November 1728Old Style date: 27 October14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and ...
changed a hilltop signal-drill on Possession Island in
Torres Strait The Torres Strait () is a strait between Australia and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. It is wide at its narrowest extent. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost extremity of the Australian mainland. To the north is the Wes ...

Torres Strait
, into a possession ceremony, fabricating Britain's claim of Australia's east coast. Eighteen years later, the east coast was occupied by Britain and later the west coast was also settled by Britain. At that time, the indigenous population was estimated to have been between 315,000 and 750,000, divided into as many as 500 tribes speaking many different languages. At the 2016 census, 649,171 people (2.8% of the total population) identified as being Indigenous
Aboriginal Australians Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Torres Strait Islands. T ...
and
Torres Strait Islanders Torres Strait Islanders () are the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them ...
. Indigenous Australians experience higher than average rates of imprisonment and unemployment, lower levels of education, and life expectancies for males and females that are, respectively, 11 and 17 years lower than those of non-indigenous Australians. Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "
failed state A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly (see also fragile state and state collapse). A state can also fail if the gover ...
"-like conditions.


Country of birth

In 2019, 30% of the Australian resident population, or 7,529,570 people, were born overseas. The Australian resident population consists of people who were born in the following countries: For more information about immigration see
Immigration to Australia The Australian continent was first settled when ancestors of Indigenous Australians arrived via the islands of Maritime Southeast Asia and New Guinea over 50,000 years ago. European colonisation began in 1788 with the establishment of a Br ...
and Foreign-born population of Australia.


Historical population

The data in the table is sourced from the
Australian Bureau of Statistics The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the independent statutory agency of the Australian Government responsible for statistical collection and analysis, and for giving evidence-based advice to federal, state and territory governments ...
The population estimates do not include the Aboriginal population before 1961. Estimates of Aboriginal population prior to European settlement range from 300,000 to one million, with archaeological finds indicating a sustainable population of around 750,000.


Citizenship

Australian citizenship did not exist before 26 January 1949. Before then, people born in Australia were British subjects. People born in Australia (including Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island) on or after 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or a permanent resident at the time of the person's birth. Statistics do not exist as to the number of Australians who currently are dual citizens. In 2000, it was estimated to be 4 to 5 million people.


Current population

The current Australian resident population is estimated at ( ). This does not include an estimated 1 million Australians living overseas, but it includes Australians born overseas. There are an estimated 1 million Australians (approximately 5 percent of the population) residing outside Australia. The
Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA) is an arrangement between Australia and New Zealand which allows for the free movement of citizens of one of these countries to the other. The arrangement came into effect in 1973, and allows citizens of e ...
facilitates open migration to and from
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
.


Culture


Language

Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the ''
de facto In law and government, ''de facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law ...
'' national language. "English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language."
Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto'' common language. English is the first language of the major ...
is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling."The Macquarie Dictionary", Fourth Edition. The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd, 2005.
General Australian Australian English is relatively homogeneous when compared with British and American English. The major varieties of Australian English are sociocultural rather than regional, are divided into 3 main categories: general, broad and cultivated. The ...
serves as the standard dialect. According to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the independent statutory agency of the Australian Government responsible for statistical collection and analysis, and for giving evidence-based advice to federal, state and territory governments ...
(ABS) 2016 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 72.7 percent of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are: *
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat Language * Mandarin Chinese, branch of Chinese spoken in northern and southwester ...
(2.5 percent) *
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Wats ...

Arabic
(1.4 percent) *
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale: ''Gwóngdūng wá'') is a language within the Chinese (Sinitic) branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages originating from the city of Guangzhou (also known as Canton) and its surrounding area in ...
(1.2 percent) * Vietnamese (1.2 percent) *
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
(1.2 percent). A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. Over 250
Indigenous Australian languages The Australian Aboriginal languages consist of around 290–363 languages belonging to an estimated 28 language families and isolates, spoken by Aboriginal Australians of mainland Australia and a few nearby islands. The relationships between t ...
are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact, of which less than 20 are still in daily use by all age groups. About 110 others are spoken exclusively by older people. At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12 percent of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home. Australia has a
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fledge ...
known as
Auslan Auslan () is the majority sign language of the Australian Deaf community. The term ''Auslan'' is a portmanteau of "Australian Sign Language", coined by Trevor Johnston in the 1980s, although the language itself is much older. Auslan is related ...
, which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people.


Religion

Australia has no official religion; its
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When these principl ...

Constitution
prohibits the government from establishing one, or interfering with the
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom ...
. Australians have various religions and spiritual beliefs. Majority (52.1 percent) were
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koine Greek title ''Christós'' (Χριστ ...
, while 30.1 percent of the population reported as having no religion, of those reporting as having religious affiliations according to the . As in many Western countries, the level of active participation in church worship is lower than would be indicated by the proportion of the population identifying themselves as Christian; weekly attendance at church services was about 1.5 million in 2001, about 7% of the population (21.5 million) that year.


See also

*
Australian Americans Australian Americans are Americans who have Australian ancestry. History The history of the Australian American population almost follows the story of both British Americans and Irish Americans, as Australia was a British political territory at th ...
* Australians in Italy * Australians in Greece * Australians in Turkey * Australians in China *
Australians in India There is a community of Australians in India, consisting mostly of expatriates and migrants from Australia, as well as some ''Australian OCIs''. Australia has a High Commission in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai and Chennai. Overview According t ...
*
List of Prime Ministers of Australia#REDIRECT List of prime ministers of Australia {{R from move ...


Notes


References


External links

* {{Authority control Ethnic groups in Australia Demographics of Australia
Indigenous peoples of Australia ''Indigenous peoples'' in the region of Australia include Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. This is the main category for articles regarding Indigenous peoples of Australia. Articles on individual Indigenous Australians belong ...
Australian society