DIVERSE SOCIETY: A STATISTICAL OVERVIEW 
- In the 2001 Census about one-fifth of Australia's population stated that
they were born overseas. At June 2002, overseas born residents in Australia
comprised of 4.6 million people, remaining at approximately 23% of the total
- Within the western world, Australia has a high proportion of overseas-born
persons (23%). This is higher than New Zealand (18.7%) and Canada (18.4%), and
much higher than the United States (11.4%).
- At the 2001 Census, of the overseas-born population, most came from the
United Kingdom (25.4%), New Zealand (8.7%) and Italy (5.4%).
- Western Australia has the highest proportion of residents born overseas
(28.5%). New South Wales and Victoria have almost equal proportions of
overseas-born people (24.8% and 24.6% respectively) followed by the ACT (22.6 %)
and South Australia (21.2 %), Queensland (18.0 %), NT (15.5 %) and Tasmania
- In 2001, there were 3,477,189 Australians with one or both parents born
overseas (25% of population).
- In the 2001 Census, the three most common ancestries that people identified
with were Australian (35.9%), English (33.9%) and Irish (10.2%).
- Other common ancestries included Italian (4.3%), German (4.0%), Chinese
(3.0%), Scottish (2.9%), Greek (2.0%), Dutch (1.4%), Lebanese (0.9%) and
- In 2001, 16% of Australians spoke a language other than English in their
homes. This represents an increase of 8% since 1996.
- Collectively, Australians speak over 200 languages. In 2001, Italian (with
353,605 speakers) was the most popular language other than English spoken at
home followed by Greek (263,718), Cantonese (225,307), Arabic (209,372) and
- Christians make up 68% of the population. Two major Christian denominations
(Anglicans and Catholics) account for almost half (47.3%) of the population.
Buddhism is the largest non-Christian religion and accounts for 1.9% of the
population. Islam is the second largest non-Christian religion at 1.5% of the
population. 15% of Australians said they had no
 Taken from HREOC Publication Face the Facts 2005, 2005, p21