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The three largest ancestries in Australia in 2011 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)20112006Change
AncestryNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2011
English7,238,11733.730.56,269,40031.629.2+968,717
Australian7,098,09733.028.77,357,16537.132.6-259,068
Irish2,087,7389.78.91,799,6549.18.5+288,084
Scottish1,792,6728.37.51,497,7897.57.0+294,883
Italian916,1484.35.1851,3794.35.2+64,769
German898,5614.23.6809,4834.13.6+89,078
Chinese866,0014.05.7669,3063.44.9+196,695
Indian390,8521.82.5234,1711.21.7+156,681
Greek378,1601.82.4364,9901.82.6+13,170
Dutch335,3191.61.5309,3021.61.5+26,017
Filipino224,8851.01.3160,2370.81.0+64,648
Vietnamese221,2211.01.5173,5640.91.3+47,657
Lebanese203,2090.91.4181,5870.91.4+21,622
New Zealander187,0250.90.9160,1840.80.8+26,841
Polish170,3350.80.9163,5820.81.0+6,753
Maltese163,9630.81.0153,7560.81.0+10,207
Maori128,3260.60.692,5510.50.5+35,775
Australian Aboriginal127,4640.60.2114,8830.60.2+12,581
Croatian126,3600.60.7117,7800.60.7+8,580
Welsh125,3980.60.6112,9620.60.6+12,436
French110,4240.50.598,2320.50.5+12,192
South African109,0200.50.679,2900.40.5+29,730
Serbian97,0400.50.695,1210.50.6+1,919
Sinhalese96,5800.40.673,8610.40.5+22,719
Macedonian93,4290.40.583,9980.40.5+9,431
Spanish93,1400.40.584,0780.40.5+9,062
Korean88,9840.40.660,7670.30.4+28,217
Inadequately Described82,9720.40.457,4830.30.3+25,489
Russian74,2920.30.467,0810.30.4+7,211
Hungarian69,0960.30.467,4900.30.4+1,606
Turkish66,9080.30.459,3410.30.4+7,567
American65,0940.30.357,7980.30.3+7,296
Samoan55,8630.30.439,7740.20.3+16,089
Danish54,0070.30.250,2740.30.2+3,733
Japanese50,8330.20.340,7750.20.2+10,058
Indonesian48,5910.20.335,9150.20.2+12,676
Portuguese46,5020.20.341,2530.20.3+5,249
Thai45,5290.20.330,0890.20.2+15,440
Austrian42,2840.20.241,3110.20.2+973
Fijian39,9270.20.219,1100.10.1+20,817
Egyptian39,2830.20.331,6510.20.2+7,632
Ukrainian38,5720.20.237,6730.20.2+899
Iranian36,3140.20.223,5760.10.2+12,738
Canadian35,0890.20.230,1640.20.2+4,925
Swedish34,1250.20.230,2870.20.2+3,838
Khmer (Cambodian)33,2330.20.225,4500.10.2+7,783
Malay33,1830.20.225,3000.10.2+7,883
Pakistani33,0740.20.218,4430.10.1+14,631
Bengali31,3620.10.217,4150.10.1+13,947
Assyrian/Chaldean30,5230.10.224,4910.10.2+6,032
Arab not further described30,3690.10.220,0750.10.1+10,294
Chilean29,9980.10.225,4420.10.2+4,556
Afghan29,5150.10.219,3750.10.1+10,140
Swiss29,1100.10.126,4880.10.1+2,622
Burmese peoples28,6920.10.215,4620.10.1+13,230
Other Indian subcontinent28,3260.10.211,2500.10.1+17,076
Iraqi28,0340.10.216,7890.10.1+11,245
Mauritian27,9000.10.221,8620.10.2+6,038
Nepalese26,5630.10.25,2930.00.0+21,270
Jewish25,7160.10.215,6500.10.1+10,066
Tongan25,0880.10.118,2350.10.1+6,853
Sudanese25,0370.10.218,9840.10.1+6,053
Norwegian23,0120.10.120,2590.10.1+2,753
Czech22,7290.10.121,1920.10.1+1,537
Cypriot22,7000.10.110,7640.10.1+11,936
Finnish22,3620.10.120,8960.10.1+1,466
Other Southern and East African22,0370.10.19,2630.00.1+12,774
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Excludes ancestries with fewer than 20 responses, or less than 0.1% of the total population.

Ancestry - Totals
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
Ancestry totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2011
Not stated1,474,3326.96.61,604,1478.18.3-129,815

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Ancestry, 2011
Ancestry, 2011 English, Greater Capital Cities: 30.5% Australian, Greater Capital Cities: 28.7% Irish, Greater Capital Cities: 8.9% Scottish, Greater Capital Cities: 7.5% Italian, Greater Capital Cities: 5.1% German, Greater Capital Cities: 3.6% Chinese, Greater Capital Cities: 5.7% Indian, Greater Capital Cities: 2.5% Greek, Greater Capital Cities: 2.4% Dutch, Greater Capital Cities: 1.5% English, Australia: 33.7% Australian, Australia: 33.0% Irish, Australia: 9.7% Scottish, Australia: 8.3% Italian, Australia: 4.3% German, Australia: 4.2% Chinese, Australia: 4.0% Indian, Australia: 1.8% Greek, Australia: 1.8% Dutch, Australia: 1.6%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in ancestry, 2006 to 2011
Change in ancestry, 2006 to 2011 English, Australia: +968,717 Australian, Australia: -259,068 Irish, Australia: +288,084 Scottish, Australia: +294,883 Italian, Australia: +64,769 German, Australia: +89,078 Chinese, Australia: +196,695 Indian, Australia: +156,681 Greek, Australia: +13,170 Dutch, Australia: +26,017
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011 (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 2011 shows that the top five ancestries nominated were:

  • English (7,238,117 people or 33.7%)
  • Australian (7,098,097 people or 33.0%)
  • Irish (2,087,738 people or 9.7%)
  • Scottish (1,792,672 people or 8.3%)
  • Italian (916,148 people or 4.3%)

In combination these five ancestries account for 19,132,772 responses in total, or 88.97% 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 (33.0% compared to 28.7%)
  • A larger percentage of people with English ancestry (33.7% compared to 30.5%)
  • A smaller percentage of people with Chinese ancestry (4.0% compared to 5.7%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the reported ancestries of the population in this area between 2006 and 2011 were:

  • English (+968,717 persons)
  • Scottish (+294,883 persons)
  • Irish (+288,084 persons)
  • Australian (-259,068 persons)

To continue building your demographic story go to...

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