The United States of America-born Community
North Americans have had contact with Australia since the 18th Century. In 1770 the first Americans landed in Australia aboard the Endeavour with Captain James Cook. During the first 20 years of the existence of the New South Wales colony', trade links were developed almost exclusively with North America.
In the ensuing decades, Americans were drawn to Australia to participate in various enterprises such as the gold fields, freight and transport, telegraph, rural industries, whaling expeditions, minerals and mining, the arts, journalism and politics.
By 1901, the Census recorded 7450 United States of America-born people in Australia. Many American business people came to Australia over the next five decades although few chose to settle permanently. However between 1945 and 1960, more than 18 000 Americans settled in Australia. In 1971 the Census recorded 39 040 United States of America-born persons in Australia.
Since the 1970s there has been a steady increase in the United States of America-born population in Australia, reaching a total of 43 670 by 1991. They are widely distributed throughout Australia with the majority residing in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
Americans have settled well in Australia. While their major religion is Christianity, they also subscribe to other religious affiliations such as the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Baha'i faiths.
There were 53 720 United States of America-born people in Australia at the 2001 Census, making up 1.3 per cent of the overseas-born population.
The latest Census in 2006 recorded 61 720 United States of America-born people in Australia, an increase of 14.9 per cent from the 2001 Census. The 2006 distribution by state and territory showed New South Wales had the largest number with 21 750 followed by Victoria (13 340), Queensland (12 200) and Western Australia (6750).
Age and sex
The median age of the United States of America-born in 2006 was 39.4 years compared with 46.8 years for all overseas-born and 37.1 years for the total Australian population. The age distribution showed 15.0 per cent were aged 0-14 years, 12.0 per cent were 15-24 years, 34.0 per cent were 25-44 years, 31.5 per cent were 45-64 years and 7.5 per cent were 65 and over.
Of the United States of America-born in Australia, there were 31 080 males (50.4 per cent) and 30 630 females (49.6 per cent). The sex ratio was 101.4 males per 100 females.
In the 2006 Census, the top three ancestry responses* that United States of America-born people reported were, American (23 470), English (13 720) and Australian (8820).
In the 2006 Census, Australians reported more than 250 different Ancestries. From the total ancestry responses*, 0.2 per cent responded as having an American ancestry.
*At the 2006 Census up to two responses per person were allowed for the Ancestry question; therefore providing the total responses and not persons count.
The main languages spoken at home by United States of America-born people in Australia were English (92.4 per cent), Spanish (0.9 per cent) and Mandarin (0.6 per cent).
Of the 4480 United States of America-born who spoke a language other than English at home, 92.1 per cent spoke English very well or well and 6.7 per cent spoke English not well or not at all.
At the 2006 Census the major religious affiliations amongst United States of America-born were No Religion (16 310 persons), Catholic (12 770 persons) and Not Stated (5330 persons).
Of the United States of America-born, 26.4 per cent stated 'No Religion', this was higher than that of the total Australian population (18.7 per cent). 8.6 per cent of the United States of America-born did not state a religion.
Compared to 67.9 per cent of the total overseas-born population, 52.9 per cent of the United States of America-born people in Australia arrived in Australia prior to 1996.
Among the total United States of America-born in Australia at the 2006 Census, 13.4 per cent arrived between 1996 and 2000 and 28.9 per cent arrived during 2001 and 2006.
At the 2006 Census, the estimated rate of Australian Citizenship for the United States of America-born in Australia was 69.3 per cent. The estimated rate for all overseas-born was 75.6 per cent. This rate includes adjustments for people not meeting the residential requirement for citizenship, temporary entrants to Australia and underenumeration at the Census.
At the time of the 2006 Census, the median individual weekly income for the United States of America-born in Australia aged 15 years and over was $649, compared with $431 for all overseas-born and $488 for all Australia-born. The total Australian population had a median individual weekly income of $466.
At the 2006 Census, 70.0 per cent of the United States of America-born aged 15 years and over had some form of higher non school qualifications compared to 52.5 per cent of the Australian population. Among the United States of America-born, 55.8 per cent had Diploma level or higher* qualifications and 8.4 per cent had Certificate level qualifications. From the United States of America-born, 15 510 had no higher non school qualification, of which 29.8 per cent were still attending an educational institution.
* Diploma level or higher qualification includes Degree level or higher, Advanced Diploma and Diploma level.
Among United States of America-born people aged 15 years and over, the participation rate in the labour force was 70.3 per cent and the unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 64.6 and 5.2 per cent respectively.
Of the 34 590 United States of America-born who were employed, 51.4 per cent were employed in a Skill Level 1 occupation, 10.7 per cent in Skill Level 2 and 8.3 per cent in Skill Level 3. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 28.7, 10.7 and 15.1 per cent respectively.
Jointly produced by Multicultural Affairs Branch and the Program Statistics and Monitoring Section of the department. All data used in this summary is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing. Sources for the Historical Background available at Community Information Summaries: Bibliography
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