The number of people living in Australia who were born overseas has fallen for the first time in more than 20 years.
Data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday revealed that in 2021 there were 7.5 million Australian residents who were born overseas, down from 7.7 million in 2020.
The portion of the total population who were born in another country was 29.1 percent, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from 2020.
It marks the first decrease in the proportion of the Australian population born overseas since 2000 when the figure was 23 percent.
“While Australia’s population increased by 45,000 from June 2020 to June 2021, there was a decrease in the overseas-born population,” Jenny Dobak, head of Migration Statistics at the ABS, said in a media release.
The decrease reflected reduced overseas migration in and out of Australia, given the COVID-19 travel restrictions. The travel and migration intentions of many people changed due to the pandemic, including those migrating to work or study, said Dobak.
“In the first year of the pandemic there were fewer people born overseas migrating to Australia, as well as fewer people born in Australia departing to live overseas.”
Britain continued to be the biggest source of overseas-born Australians, accounting for 12 percent of the total number followed by India at 9.4 percent.
There were 596,000 people who were born in China living in Australia in 2021, 7.9 percent of the total, up from 387,000 in 2011. ■