Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens
and individuals associated with the country of Australia
Between 1788 and the Second World War
, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles
), although there was significant immigration from China
during the 19th century. Many early British settlements were penal colonies
to house transported convicts
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
, with many more immigrants arriving from Southern
and Eastern Europe
than in previous decades.
Since the end of the White Australia policy
in 1973, Australia has pursued an official policy of multiculturalism
and has the world's eighth-largest immigrant
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
now being the largest source of immigrants.
A smaller proportion are descended from Australia's indigenous peoples
, comprising Aboriginal Australians
, Aboriginal Tasmanians
and Torres Strait Islanders
The development of a separate Australian identity and national character began in the 19th century, linked with the anti-transportation
movements and the Eureka Rebellion
during the colonial period and culminated in the federation of the Australian colonies
in 1901. The primary language is Australian English
, and Australian culture
have historically developed from Anglo-Celtic
and Western traditions.
The majority of Australians or their ancestors immigrated
within the past four centuries, with the exception of the indigenous population
and others from outlying islands who became Australian through expansion of the country.
Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture of Australia
held in common by most Australians can also be referred to as mainstream
Australian culture, a Western culture
largely derived from the traditions of British and Irish colonists, settlers, and immigrants.
The Colony of New South Wales
was established by the Kingdom of Great Britain
in 1788, with the arrival of the First Fleet
, and five other colonies were established in the early 19th century, now forming the six present-day Australian states
. Large-scale immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from Southern
and Eastern Europe
introducing a variety of elements. Immigration from the Middle East
, south and east Asia
, Pacific Islands
, and Latin America
has also been having an impact.
The predominance of the English language
, the existence of a democratic system
of government drawing upon the British traditions of the Westminster system
of government, Parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy
, American constitutionalist
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
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
" and are may be referred to as "Antipodean
" by those in the northern hemisphere
. Prior to the introduction of Australian citizenship
, Australians had the status of "British subject
As a result of many shared linguistic, historical, cultural and geographic characteristics, Australians have often identified closely with New Zealanders
in particular. Furthermore, elements of Indigenous
, and more recent immigrant customs, languages, and religions have also combined to form the modern Australian culture.
In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:
Today, Australians of European (including Anglo-Celtic
) 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
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
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
and the 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
of England, from Ireland and from Scotland. Anglo-Celtic Australian
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
, and 6 percent were of European origin, mainly from Germany and 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
. The European population grew from 0.3 percent of the population of the continent at 1800 to 58.6 percent in 1850. Germans
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
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
in 1957 led to a significant increase in non-European immigration, mostly from Asia and the Middle East.
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.
This represents 16.15 percent of persons who nominated their ancestry.
2,665,814 persons claimed one of the six most commonly nominated Asian ancestries, namely Chinese
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.
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 Australians are descendants of the original inhabitants of the Australian continent
. Their ancestors are believed to have migrated from Africa
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"](_blank)
''Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)''.
The Torres Strait Islanders
are a distinct people of Melanesian
ancestry, indigenous to the Torres Strait
Islands, which are at the northernmost tip of Queensland near Papua New Guinea
, and some nearby settlements on the mainland. The term "Aboriginal" is traditionally applied to only the indigenous inhabitants of mainland Australia
, 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
languages, dialects, or distinctive speech patterns.
In 1770, fearing he had been pre-empted by the French, James Cook
changed a hilltop signal-drill on Possession Island
in 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
and Torres Strait Islanders
. 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
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
and Foreign-born population of Australia
The data in the table is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
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.
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.
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
facilitates open migration to and from New Zealand
Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the ''de facto
'' 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
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
serves as the standard dialect.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics
(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:
A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.
Over 250 Indigenous Australian languages
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 known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people.
Australia has no official religion; its Constitution prohibits the government from establishing one, or interfering with the freedom of religion.
Australians have various religions and spiritual beliefs. Majority (52.1 percent) were Christian, 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.
*Australians in Italy
*Australians in Greece
*Australians in Turkey
*Australians in China
*Australians in India
*List of Prime Ministers of Australia
Category:Ethnic groups in Australia
Category:Demographics of Australia
Category:Indigenous peoples of Australia