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Census 2021: Australia’s Filipino population remains 5th largest, up by 26% since 2016

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There are now 408,842 people with Filipino ancestry in Australia according to Census 2021 data released on 28 June 2022. This is an increase of 104,827 (26%) people from 304,015 in 2016.

Here’s the breakdown of Filipino ancestry across each Australian State and Territory:

State or TerritoryFilipino Population (ancestry)
New South Wales152,804
Victoria95,186
Queensland73,805
Western Australia46,785
South Australia21,257
Northern Territory8,250
Australian Capital Territory7,293
Tasmania3,389
Breakdown of Filipino ancestry by State – 2021 Census

The number of overseas-born Filipinos living in Australia has increased from 193,020 (2016 census) to 310,620. Filipinos now occupy 5th place among nationalities of different countries of origin, as revealed in the 2021 census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australia’s overseas-born population by country of birth — top 20

Country of birth20112021
1England991,040967,390
2India337,120710,380
3China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)387,420595,630
4New Zealand543,950559,980
5Philippines193,030310,620
6Vietnam207,620268,170
7South Africa161,590201,930
8Malaysia134,140172,250
9Italy201,680171,520
10Sri Lanka 99,740145,790
11Scotland141,220130,060
12Nepal 27,810129,870
13USA 90,090109,450
14Germany125,750107,940
15South Korea 85,930106,560
16Hong Kong 85,990104,990
17Greece121,180100,650
18Iraq 54,980 99,360
19Lebanon 90,030 96,420
20Pakistan 34,150 95,980
Total overseas-born6,018,1807,502,450
Australian-born16,321,84018,235,690
Total population22,340,02025,738,140
Australia’s overseas-born population by country of birth — top 20
Population estimates for 2021 are preliminary.
Top 20 countries of birth for overseas-born as at 30 June 2021.

Australia's overseas-born population by country of birth — top 20
CHART: Australia’s overseas-born population by country of birth — top 20
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

The image below includes a map of the world with top five countries of birth where there was a growth of >20,000 persons and growth of >16 per cent between 2016 and 2021. Nepal 124 per cent, India 48 per cent, Pakistan 45 per cent, Iraq 38 per cent, Philippines 26 per cent.

ABS Census top 5 overseas-born 2021
Note: Excludes overseas visitors. Refers to top five countries of birth where there was a growth of greater 20,000 persons between 2016 and 2021. 

The Philippines is still in 5th place for Top Countries of Birth, while India has overtaken China. See the breakdown below:

Country Census population count

  1. England 927,490
  2. India 673,352
  3. China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 549,618
  4. New Zealand 530,492
  5. Philippines 293,892

Australia’s total population is now 24.4 million. According to this figure, 67% of Australians were born here, and England and New Zealand continue to have the most overseas-born citizens.

ABS stated that there is an increasing diversity of countries of origin, religions and languages.

Immigration to Australia is usually greater than emigration from Australia each year, thus contributing to the growth of the population. However, in 2021, this was not the case.

  • 29.1% of Australia’s resident population was born overseas in 2021 (7.5 million migrants).
  • A year earlier, in 2020, it was 29.8% of the population (7.7 million migrants).
  • This is the first decrease in Australia’s overseas-born population since 2000.

A decrease in overseas migration can be attributed to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, which affect both directions of overseas migration. As a result of the pandemic, many people changed their travel and migration plans.

Australia welcomed fewer people born overseas in 2021, while fewer people born here left to live outside the country.

Key statistics on Australian population

  • In 2021, 29.1% of Australia’s population were born overseas. This decreased from 29.8% in 2020 
  • 7.5 million people resident in Australia in 2021 were born overseas
  • Largest group of overseas-born were born in England, however, Indian-born was the group with the largest increase since 2011
  • In 2020, Australia ranked 9th internationally for the total number of migrants in its population

Census 2021 overview

Census data provides an overview of the cultures and languages that make up Australia, including data on country of birth, ancestry, and language used at home.

In the 2021 Census, almost half of Australians reported having a parent born overseas (48.2%), and 27.6% reported a birthplace overseas.

The Census shows that Australia has welcomed more than one million people (1,020,007) into Australia since 2017. The largest increase in country of birth, outside Australia, was India with 220,000 (217,963) additional people counted. India has moved past China and New Zealand to become the third-largest country of birth behind Australia and England.

The second-largest increase in country of birth was Nepal, with an additional 70,000 (67,752) people, meaning the population of Nepali born has more than doubled since 2016 (an increase of 123.7 per cent).

The top five reported ancestries in the 2021 Census followed previous trends and were English at 33.0 per cent, Australian at 29.9 per cent, Irish at 9.5 per cent, Scottish at 8.6 per cent and Chinese at 5.5 per cent.

The number of people who used a language other than English at home has increased by nearly 800,000 (792,062) from 2016 to over 5.5 million people (5,663,709). 850,000 (852,706) of this group reported that they do not speak English well or at all.

Mandarin continues to be the most common language other than English used at home, with nearly 700,000 (685,274) people using Mandarin at home. This is followed by Arabic with just over 367,000 (367,159) people. Punjabi had the largest increase, with the 2021 Census showing over 239,000 (239,033) people using Punjabi at home, an increase of over 80 per cent (80.4 per cent) from 2016. 

Dr David Gruen AO, Australian Statistician, said “The Census captures the extent of the linguistic diversity across Australia. 2021 Census data collected information on over 250 ancestries and 350 languages.

The information collected in the Census provides important data to help plan services and support for culturally and linguistically diverse communities at the local level. For example, by understanding the growing population groups in their area, community groups can provide in-language services at the local level”.

For further information, explore the data at www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data

More information is available on abs.gov.au.

Source: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/people-and-communities/cultural-diversity-census/2021

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