From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the country. For the continent, see

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Main articles: Demographics of AustraliaImmigration to Australia and List of cities in Australia by population

Australia has one of the world's most highly urbanised populations with the majority living in metropolitan cities on the coast. (Pictured: Gold Coastbeach and skyline, Queensland).
For generations, the vast majority of immigrants came from the British Isles, and the people of Australia are still mainly of British or Irish ethnic origin. In the 2011 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestry was English (36.1%), followed by Australian (35.4%),[224] Irish (10.4%), Scottish (8.9%), Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Chinese (4.3%), Indian(2.0%), Greek (1.9%), and Dutch (1.7%).[225]
Australia's population has quadrupled since the end of World War I,[226] much of this increase from immigration. Following World War II and through to 2000, almost 5.9 million of the total population settled in the country as new immigrants, meaning that nearly two out of every seven Australians were born in another country.[227] Most immigrants are skilled,[228] but the immigration quota includes categories for family members and refugees.[228] By 2050, Australia's population is currently projected to reach around 42 million.[229] Nevertheless, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world.[138] As such, Australians have more living space per person than the inhabitants of any other nation.[230]
In 2011, 24.6% of Australians were born elsewhere and 43.1% of people had at least one overseas-born parent;[231] the five largest immigrant groups were those from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, India, and Vietnam.[232] Following the abolition of the White Australia policy in 1973, numerous government initiatives have been established to encourage and promote racial harmony based on a policy of multiculturalism.[233] In 2005–06, more than 131,000 people emigrated to Australia, mainly from Asia and Oceania.[234] The migration target for 2012–13 is 190,000,[235] compared to 67,900 in 1998–99.[236]
The Indigenous population—Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders—was counted at 548,370 (2.5% of the total population) in 2011,[237] a significant increase from 115,953 in the 1976 census.[238] The increase is partly due to many people with Indigenous heritage previously having been overlooked by the census due to undercount and cases where their Indigenous status had not been recorded on the form. 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.[222][239][240] Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "failed state"-like conditions.[241]
In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2004, the average age of the civilian population was 38.8 years.[242] A large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002–03;[243] 1 million or 5% of the total population in 2005[244]) live outside their home country.

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