AustraliaCommunity profile
census-message-logo

2016 Census data has been released and we are busy processing it to update this website. View our latest releases here.

Skip to content
census-message-logo

This topic has been updated with 2016 Census data for the LGA or other primary area only. What's this?

The three largest ancestries in Australia in 2016 were English, Australian and Irish.

Ancestry defines the cultural association and ethnic background of an individual going back three generations. Ancestry is a good measure of the total size of cultural groups in Australia regardless of where they were born or what language they speak.

Ancestry data, should be combined with data on Birthplace, Language Spoken at Home and Religion for a more complete picture of Australia's ethnic characteristics.

Please note that the "Australian Aboriginal" and "Torres Strait Islander" categories in this topic are not considered to be a reliable estimate of the indigenous peoples of Australia. For information on this group, please use the "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population" found on the Population page.

Derived from the Census question:

'What is the person's ancestry?'

Multi-response

Total population

Ancestry - Ranked by size
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
AncestryNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
English7,852,22133.630.37,238,11733.730.5+614,104
Australian7,298,23831.226.67,098,09733.028.7+200,141
Irish2,388,05810.29.42,087,7389.78.9+300,320
Scottish2,023,4608.67.81,792,6728.37.5+230,788
Chinese1,214,4385.27.3866,0014.05.7+348,437
Italian1,000,0134.35.0916,1484.35.1+83,865
German982,2304.23.6898,5614.23.6+83,669
Indian619,1632.63.6390,8521.82.5+228,311
Greek397,4351.72.3378,1601.82.4+19,275
Dutch339,5471.51.4335,3191.61.5+4,228
Filipino304,0271.31.6224,8851.01.3+79,142
Vietnamese294,7991.31.8221,2211.01.5+73,578
Lebanese230,8801.01.4203,2090.91.4+27,671
New Zealander207,7310.90.9187,0250.90.9+20,706
Polish183,9680.80.9170,3350.80.9+13,633
Maltese175,5630.80.9163,9630.81.0+11,600
Welsh144,5890.60.6125,3980.60.6+19,191
Australian Aboriginal144,1790.60.2127,4640.60.2+16,715
Maori142,1070.60.6128,3260.60.6+13,781
Inadequately Described137,5500.60.782,9720.40.4+54,578
French135,3840.60.6110,4240.50.5+24,960
Croatian133,2640.60.7126,3600.60.7+6,904
Sinhalese130,2820.60.896,5800.40.6+33,702
Korean123,0200.50.788,9840.40.6+34,036
Spanish119,9570.50.693,1400.40.5+26,817
South African118,9600.50.6109,0200.50.6+9,940
Serbian104,5490.40.697,0400.50.6+7,509
Macedonian98,4370.40.593,4290.40.5+5,008
Russian85,6460.40.574,2920.30.4+11,354
Samoan75,7550.30.455,8630.30.4+19,892
Hungarian73,6130.30.469,0960.30.4+4,517
Turkish72,9730.30.466,9080.30.4+6,065
Thai70,2340.30.445,5290.20.3+24,705
American66,5610.30.365,0940.30.3+1,467
Indonesian65,8810.30.448,5910.20.3+17,290
Japanese65,7100.30.350,8330.20.3+14,877
Pakistani64,3460.30.433,0740.20.2+31,272
Nepalese62,8060.30.426,5630.10.2+36,243
Iranian62,7920.30.436,3140.20.2+26,478
Portuguese61,8900.30.346,5020.20.3+15,388
Danish59,2920.30.254,0070.30.2+5,285
Other Indian subcontinent56,4000.20.328,3260.10.2+28,074
Afghan53,0790.20.329,5150.10.2+23,564
Egyptian50,5210.20.339,2830.20.3+11,238
Fijian50,5100.20.339,9270.20.2+10,583
Bengali50,0720.20.331,3620.10.2+18,710
Burmese peoples49,1780.20.328,6920.10.2+20,486
Assyrian/Chaldean46,2190.20.330,5230.10.2+15,696
Ukrainian46,1920.20.238,5720.20.2+7,620
Malay46,0740.20.333,1830.20.2+12,891
Khmer (Cambodian)45,7200.20.333,2330.20.2+12,487
Austrian44,4080.20.242,2840.20.2+2,124
Iraqi42,8760.20.328,0340.10.2+14,842
Arab not further described42,1120.20.330,3690.10.2+11,743
Swedish40,2160.20.234,1250.20.2+6,091
Canadian36,7050.20.235,0890.20.2+1,616
Chilean34,2210.10.229,9980.10.2+4,223
Punjabi34,1620.10.211,7120.10.1+22,450
Sudanese33,3950.10.225,0370.10.2+8,358
Tongan32,6980.10.225,0880.10.1+7,610
Swiss31,5600.10.129,1100.10.1+2,450
Mauritian30,7420.10.227,9000.10.2+2,842
Central and West African30,4500.10.217,2590.10.1+13,191
Cypriot29,0050.10.222,7000.10.1+6,305
Tamil26,5170.10.219,3150.10.1+7,202
Norwegian26,2540.10.123,0120.10.1+3,242
Other Southern and East African25,6870.10.122,0370.10.1+3,650
Other Central Asian25,1660.10.110,8780.10.1+14,288
Romanian24,5460.10.121,0200.10.1+3,526
Czech24,4760.10.122,7290.10.1+1,747
Finnish24,1360.10.122,3620.10.1+1,774
Bosnian23,6340.10.120,2070.10.1+3,427
Show me more!

Excludes ancestries with fewer than 20 responses, or less than 0.1% of the total population.

Ancestry - Totals
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Ancestry totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
Not stated1,632,6957.06.31,474,3326.96.6+158,363

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Ancestry, 2016
Ancestry, 2016 English, Greater Capital Cities: 30.3% Australian, Greater Capital Cities: 26.6% Irish, Greater Capital Cities: 9.4% Scottish, Greater Capital Cities: 7.8% Chinese, Greater Capital Cities: 7.3% Italian, Greater Capital Cities: 5.0% German, Greater Capital Cities: 3.6% Indian, Greater Capital Cities: 3.6% Greek, Greater Capital Cities: 2.3% Dutch, Greater Capital Cities: 1.4% English, Australia: 33.6% Australian, Australia: 31.2% Irish, Australia: 10.2% Scottish, Australia: 8.6% Chinese, Australia: 5.2% Italian, Australia: 4.3% German, Australia: 4.2% Indian, Australia: 2.6% Greek, Australia: 1.7% Dutch, Australia: 1.5%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in ancestry, 2011 to 2016
Change in ancestry, 2011 to 2016 English, Australia: +614,104 Australian, Australia: +200,141 Irish, Australia: +300,320 Scottish, Australia: +230,788 Chinese, Australia: +348,437 Italian, Australia: +83,865 German, Australia: +83,669 Indian, Australia: +228,311 Greek, Australia: +19,275 Dutch, Australia: +4,228
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the ancestry responses of the population in Australia in 2016 shows that the top five ancestries nominated were:

  • English (7,852,221 people or 33.6%)
  • Australian (7,298,238 people or 31.2%)
  • Irish (2,388,058 people or 10.2%)
  • Scottish (2,023,460 people or 8.6%)
  • Chinese (1,214,438 people or 5.2%)

In combination these five ancestries account for 20,776,415 responses in total, or 88.78% of all responses.

The major differences between the ancestries of the population in Australia and Greater Capital Cities were:

  • A larger percentage of people with Australian ancestry (31.2% compared to 26.6%)
  • A larger percentage of people with English ancestry (33.6% compared to 30.3%)
  • A smaller percentage of people with Chinese ancestry (5.2% compared to 7.3%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the reported ancestries of the population in this area between 2011 and 2016 were:

  • English (+614,104 persons)
  • Chinese (+348,437 persons)
  • Irish (+300,320 persons)
  • Scottish (+230,788 persons)

To continue building your demographic story go to...

v17.07.25-1.0.0