Indian Australian

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Indian Australians
Lisa Sthalekar.jpg
Peter Varghese (1).jpg
Total population
Indian Australians
295,362 (by birth)[1]
390,894 (by ancestry)[1]
1.9% of the Australian population (2011)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Victoria 111,787[1]
New South Wales 95,387[1]
Queensland 30,259[1]
Related ethnic groups

An Indian Australian is an Australian of Indian descent or heritage. This includes both those who are Australian by birth, and those born in India or elsewhere in the Indian diaspora. They are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Australia today.[2]

In 2007-2011 India ranked at 4th spot [295400 people] behind UK, NZ and China in terms of place of birth of migrants. [4]

In 2005-2006 India was the fourth major source of permanent migrants to Australia behind the United Kingdom, New Zealand and China. Between 2000–2001 and 2005–2006, the number of migrants who came to Australia from India increased from 4,700 to 12,300 people.[5] In 2011-12, Indians became the largest source of permanent migration to Australia forming 15.7% of the total migration programme.[6] Australia's Indian-born population also recorded the fastest growth in the country in 2008-2009, increasing by 44,012 (17%).[2]

The largest Indian Australian concentration is found in the state of Victoria.[1]


The number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from India since 1991 (monthly).

A study of DNA has found that Indian people may have come to Australia around 4000 years ago.[7] Indian immigration began early in colonial history. The first Indians arrived in Australia with the British who had been living in India.[8] From the 1860s, Indians (Sikh), 'Afghans' and Pacific Islanders were recruited as workers in rural and northern outback Australia. Many 'Afghans' actually came from India (as well as Iran, Egypt and Turkey). They were loosely called 'Afghans' due to their similar dress because mostly Sikh wear the turban, and they worked as cameleers to operate camel trains throughout outback Australia, as 'pioneers of the inland'.[9] As well as labourers and domestic help, Australia's early Indian population also found work as hawkers. The 1881 census records 998 people who were born in India but this had grown to over 1700 by 1891.[8]

Migration from India was curtailed after the Australian Government introduced the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, but following India's independence from Britain in 1947, the number of Anglo-Indians and Indian-born British citizens immigrating to Australia increased.[10][11]


People with Indian ancestry as a percentage of the population in Sydney divided geographically by postal area, as of the 2011 census

During the 2006 Census, 147,106 Australian residents declared that they were born in India, of which 79,025 held Australian citizenship. The states with the largest Indian-born residents were New South Wales (57,156), Victoria (52,853) and Western Australia (15,157). 64,968 declared they were Hindu, 49,975 declared they were Christian and 26,500 declared they were Sikh. Other minorities include Muslims and Zoroastrians.[2] 243,722 Australian residents declared that had Indian ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry.[12]

The Indian-born community more than doubled between 2004 and 2009 to 308,542, making it the second largest non-European group in Australia after Chinese-born Australians.[2] In 2009 there were an additional 90,000 Indian Students studying at Australian tertiary institutions according to Prime Minister Rudd.[13]

Before 2007, UK was the top source of migrants but India is the top source of migrants in 2007-11. India now contributes 13.1% of migrants [2007-11] compared to 12% from UK. 200,000 Indians have arrived in Australia between 2001-11, corresponding numbers are 176,200 and 127,700 for Chinese and New Zealanders respectively. 47% of all Indians in Australia are Indians who have arrived in recent years [2007-11]. Corresponding numbers for Chinese is 35. 390900 [2%] people have identified their ancestry as Indian ancestry, compared to 866000 [4%] for Chinese ancestry. This number may be an underestimate as some second and third generation people of Indian ancestry may have identified themselves as from “Australian ancestry”. Among those who identified as of Indian ancestry, 61% were born in India, 20% in Australia and 19% in other countries. Among those who identified their ancestry as Indian, only 12.9% had one more ancestry, compared to much higher proportions from other groups. This means that marriages outside Indian segment is much less common. 275000 Hindus from a total of 391000 people with Indian heritage means Hindus constitute 70% of total number of Australians of Indian ancestry. Hindi is one of the Top 10 language, other than English, spoken by people at home. 104900 people [0.5%] speak Hindi at Homes. Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese and Vietnamese are spoken by more Australians. Hindi is the only Indian language among the top 10 languages in Australia. [14]

Notable Australians of Indian ancestry[edit]

Indian ancestry[edit]

Anglo-Indian ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]