One third of Western Australia’s population is born overseas

The 2011 Australian Census affirmed that Australia is a diverse nation and that Western Australia (WA) is one of the most diverse of all States and Territories. WA’s population is also the fastest growing of all Australian States and Territories. This growth contributes to our increasing and evolving diversity, and is expressed through the increasing number and range of languages, religions, cultures and countries of origin that Western Australians identify with.

At the 2011 Census, the total population of Australia was 21.5 million people, an increase of 8% since 2006. More than a quarter (26%) of Australians were born overseas and almost one in five (18%) spoke a language other than English at home. In comparison, the total Western Australian population was 2.2 million people, an increase of 14% since 2006. WA had the highest proportion of population (31%) born overseas of all Australian States and Territories.

Perth had the highest proportion of overseas-born (35%) of all Australian capital cities. Almost one-third (31%) of Western Australians were born overseas (compared with 27% in 2006) and more than half (56%) were Australian citizens. More than half (52%) had at least one parent born overseas (48% in 2006) and three-quarters (75%) identified that they had a non- Australian ancestry (51% in 2006). In addition 15% of the population spoke a language other than English at home (11% in 2006).

Western Australia has been enriched and enhanced by people from diverse cultures. The State is home to people from more than 200 countries, speaking more than 270 languages and dialects and following more than 130 religious faiths. Most overseas-born Western Australians came as migrants seeking a better life.

In the last 100 years people from the UK, Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East, and more recently from South Asia and Africa, have made Western Australia their home, creating a harmonious environment that respects differing points of views and cultural differences.   Source: Government of Western Australia, Dept of Local Government, Office of Multicultural Interests