Indian Australians

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Indian Australians
Total population
619,164 by ancestry (2016 census)[1]
(2.8% of the Australian population)[2]
592,000 born in India (2018)[3]
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide,Darwin

Related ethnic groups

Indian Australians are Australians 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. Indians are the youngest average age (34 years) and the fastest growing community both in terms of absolute numbers and percentages in Australia.[3]

In 2017-18 India was the largest source of new permanent migrants to Australia.[4] The largest Indian Australian population is found in the state of Victoria.[5]

In 2016, it was revealed 54.6% of Indian migrants in Australia hold a bachelor's degree or a higher educational degree, more than three times Australia's national average of 17.2% in 2011, making them the most educated migrant group in Australia.[6]


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

A study of Indigenous Australian DNA has found that Indigenous Australians may have mixed with people of Indian origin about 4,200 years ago. The same study showed that flint tools and Indian dogs may have been introduced from India at about this time.[7]

Indian immigration to Australia began early in colonial history. The first Indians arrived in Australia with the British settlers who had been living in India.[8] From the 1860s, Indians, most of them Sikh, worked as merchants, industrialists, and businessmen to operate throughout outback Australia, as 'pioneers of the inland'.[9] 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 Indian-born British citizens emigrating to Australia increased, along with migration of mixed race European-Indians, such as Anglo-Indians, Dutch Anglo-Indians and Portuguese Indians.[10][11]


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

At the 2016 census, 619,164 people in Australia declared that they were of Indian ancestry.[1] This comprises 2.8% of the Australian population.[2] In 2018,the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that there were 592,000 Indian-born people in Australia.[3]

At the 2006 Census 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 and 26,500 declared they were Sikh. Other minorities include Muslims and Christians.[12] 243,722 Australian residents declared that had complete Indian ancestry, which is almost 100% of the entire Indian community in Australia.[13]

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.[12] In 2009 there were an additional 90,000 Indian students studying at Australian tertiary institutions according to Prime Minister Rudd.[14]

Population trend[edit]

This table only reflects the people who were born in India, and not all the people who have the Indian ancestry such as the second generation Indian Australians or the first generation Indian Australians from Indian diaspora nations e.g. Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Suriname, Guyana, etc.

Year Born in India All overseas born
Number % of Indians among overseas born Number % of all overseas born in total population of Australia
Before 1941[15] 170 0.1 16,681 0.3
1941-1950[15] 2,027 0.7 106,647 2.0
1951-1960[15] 1,697 0.6 375,076 7.1
1961-1970[15] 10,319 3.5 642,355 12.1
1971-1980[15] 11,595 3.9 571,828 10.8
1981-1990[15] 17,659 6.0 782,926 14.8
1991-2000[15] 36,765 12.4 786,777 14.9
2001-2005[15] 38,949 16.6 581,597 11.0
2006-2011[15] 159,326 52.9 1,10,322 22.5


According to the 2016 census, majority of Indian Australians are Hindus with about 444,000 individuals who profess Hinduism. Hinduism is also the 2nd fastest growing religion in Australia. There are minority of Indian Australians who also follow Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism and others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2016 Census Community Profiles: Australia".
  2. ^ a b Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of (28 June 2017). "Main Features - Cultural Diversity Article".
  3. ^ a b c Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of (3 April 2019). "Main Features - Australia's Population by Country of Birth".
  4. ^
  5. ^ Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Border Protection. "Indian Australians". Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Indians found to be Australia's most highly educated migrants - Interstaff Migration". 19 August 2016.
  7. ^ Creagh, Sunanda (15 January 2013). "Study links ancient Indian visitors to Australia's first dingoes". The Conversation. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Indian hawkers". Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Changing Face of early Australia". 13 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 10 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Australia immigration - More Immigration from India". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Australia - Community Profile" (Microsoft Excel download). 2011 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 June 2012. Total responses: 25,451,383 for total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  13. ^ "Redirect to Census data page". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Indians in Australia historic population trend,, 2012.

External links[edit]