Cultural diversity

The vibrant mix of cultures and languages positions New South Wales at the forefront of the Asia Pacific region in its capacity to provide a large, diverse, well-educated and multilingual workforce.

Around one quarter of the NSW population – almost 1.8 million people – were born overseas, according to the latest population census. This represents one third of all overseas-born residents in Australia. 

Top countries of origin: overseas-born NSW residents

  • United Kingdom - 15%
  • China - 9%
  • New Zealand - 6% 
  • India - 5%
Ethnic Diversity - Country of Birth of Residents, 20111
Country of birth NSW Sydney2 Australia NSW as a % of Australia Sydney as a % of Australia
Australia 4,747,371 2,632,544 15,017,845 31.6 17.5
United Kingdom 274,823 182,227 1,101,082 25.0 16.5
China 156,034 148,556 318,969 48.9 46.6
New Zealand 114,233 84,949 483,397 23.6 17.6
India 95,386 87,874 295,362 32.3 29.8
Vietnam 71,840 69,780 185,036 38.8 37.7
Philippines 70,387 62,842 171,233 41.1 36.7
Lebanon 56,295 55,019 76,450 73.6 72.0
Italy 51,623 41,782 185,403 27.8 22.5
Korea, Republic of (South) 41,818 40,175 74,536 56.1 53.9
South Africa 40,246 33,651 145,682 27.6 23.1
Hong Kong SAR 38,567 37,167 74,955 51.5 49.6
Fiji 32,304 30,192 56,980 56.7 53.0
Greece 31,546 28,788 99,937 31.6 28.8
Germany 31,084 19,491 108,001 28.8 18.0
Iraq 29,342 28,848 48,168 60.9 59.9
Malaysia 27,258 24,553 116,195 23.5 21.1
Indonesia 26,832 25,147 63,160 42.5 39.8
United States of America 26,529 19,950 77,009 34.4 25.9
Sri Lanka 23,704 22,128 86,415 27.4 25.6
Ireland 21,921 17,921 67,316 32.6 26.6
Egypt 18,408 17,270 36,530 50.4 47.3
Netherlands 18,219 10,173 76,048 24.0 13.4
Croatia 17,698 14,821 48,829 36.2 30.4
Thailand 17,541 15,159 45,464 38.6 33.3
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) 17,196 11,431 40,223 42.8 28.4
Born elsewhere overseas3 427,716 373,729 1,211,766 35.3 30.8
Total born overseas 1,778,550 1,503,623 5,294,146 33.6 28.4
Country of birth not stated 391,737 255,506 1,195,728 32.8 21.4
Total 6,917,658 4,391,673 21,507,719 32.2 20.4

Footnotes:

  1. Based on the Place of Usual Residence
  2. Greater Sydney Statistical Area as defined by the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification, 2011.
  3. Includes countries not identified individually in table, 'Australian External Territories', 'Inadequately described' and 'At sea'.

Source: ABS, 2011 Census of Population and Housing.