How many refugees does Australia take?

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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25 Responses

  1. See also this excellent blog post from Julian Burnside QC which sets out the number of assessed refugees actually living in Australia at the present time. http://www.julianburnside.com.au/refugee-resettlement-getting-the-facts-straight/

  2. Judith Thomas says:

    Hi Glenn,
    Just wondering how many refugees came from South/Sudan in 2014 on Humanitarian visas?
    Is a Humanitarian visa for Refugees?
    Thanks,
    Judith.

    • According to the current Department of Immigration and Border Protection numbers, there were 128 refugees from Sudan and 115 from South Sudan in 2014. A total of 294 and 261 people from these countries respectively settled in Australia. More than half of these two countries arrivals come under the family stream now, which is common where there is already a large population from that origin country in Australia.

      I have used Humanitarian visa as a synonym for Refugees – it also includes processed asylum seekers whose refugee status has been confirmed. I’m not a legal expert however, and suggest you check out the blog in my comment above for more info about the different categories of refugee arrivals.

  3. Rachel Elliott says:

    Hi Glen – Thanks for this article – obviously very topical and timely. One thing I don’t understand though is the table “Arrivals since Census 2011 (to May 2015) ranked by % of all arrivals who are in the humanitarian stream” Can you explain what the percentages mean another way to help me out?

    • These places don’t necessarily take the most refugees in absolute number (though a few in the list are among the largest), but they are the places where, of all migration, the humanitarian component makes up the largest share. This tends to highlight smaller places which are nevertheless giving a home to refugees, where they don’t get a lot of other migration.

  4. Nancy Peters says:

    Hi Glenn, great resource, thanks. Can you point me in the direction of a reliable global forecast regarding the trend of increasing numbers of refugees.

  5. Great to hear that the government has decided to take in 12,000 Syrian refugees in ADDITION to our regular intake. This blog was written before this announcement, but the assumptions in it remain valid. They will make a negligible increase in the total population growth but potentially have a strong impact on economic growth in the years to come.

  6. Erich Weller says:

    I was of the understanding that the Federal Government commitment to take 12,000 Syrian refugees was additional to the existing humanitarian intake commitment of just over 13,000 people. Please clarify?
    Thank you Erich

  7. Damianclair says:

    Who decides where the refugees go. Do councils place an “expression of interest” – for want of a better term . Or does the the state government approach the council.
    Really stimulating article.

    • That’s a really good question and I’m not sure if there is a place where regions can nominate themselves as candidates to receive refugees in their community. Certainly when you look at the figures there are many smaller places which would otherwise not be considered migrant destinations who have clearly put themselves forward and taken in settlers. But I don’t know if there is a formal process. Perhaps another reader can shed light on it?

  8. Calida says:

    Hi Glenn,
    I was wondering if you could please provide me with some statistics on how many Burmese refugees from Chin state Australia accepts every year and if these numbers are expected to decline now that Myanmar is (hopefully) entering a more democratic era?

  9. Kirk says:

    Hey Glenn,
    I was wondering hoe many refugees, including those that came via boat etc currently live in Australia? I’ve been having trouble finding the correct number that includes those that came without a visa or passport but by a boat.

    Cheers,
    Kirk.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Do you have any idea what percentage of the current Australian population are descended from refugees? (I am.)

    • It’s probably a slippery figure to put a finger on. May depend on your definition of refugee – going back over time there are probably less robust definitions of what constitutes an actual refugee. But certainly everyone in this country who is not of Indigenous background has migrant ancestors within the relatively recent past, and many of those would potentially be considered refugees these days, so I suspect it would be upwards of 50% depending on your definition!

  11. Christian says:

    Hi Glenn do you know what the current Australian Policy for refugees are

    Thanks,
    Christian

  12. Neville Lawrie says:

    i live in playford south australia and have noticed all of a sudden a large number of muslim and african people in Elizabeth where have they come from ?? as they seemed to appear all of a sudden within the last 6 months !!

  13. Neville Lawrie says:

    there seem to be several people from muslim countries and african countries placed into the playford district over the last few months with no information given to the community as far as i know.Why is the community not made aware of this and can you infom me who is responsible for informing the public on this ??

  14. Michael says:

    Greeting Glenn,

    I’m a student doing an assignment about the negatives of refugees. Now I’m not racist but I would like an unbiased opinion according to evidence. I ask this because any research I do is always painting the picture that refugees are only a benefit. What are some negatives of refugees in Australia?

    • Hi Michael,

      I think in the long term it’s mainly a positive. Negative implications in the short term could include that as a nation we may be taking in people who need a lot of support to rebuild their lives, and may not be productive members of society for a while. This is an economic cost – but once refugees are fully integrated into Australian society I think they are likely to be an economic bonus for Australia.

  15. Sevia says:

    The qualifications of refugee status is so lax these days and the entire concept outside of specific political targets is meaningless. There will always billions of others living in as bad if not worse poverty and conflict throughout the 3rd world.

    The western world need to stop fetishising these refugees for kudos and put all that effort towards incentives not arms conflict resolution and nation building. Australia s beginning to show the cracks and many in Europe are in a far worse way and will collapse within a decade or two.

  16. Wendy says:

    Hi Glenn.
    My name is Wendy.
    Is there a way to find out how many Karen Speaking people are in WA and roughly what areas they live in?
    Thank you

    • Hi Wendy,

      If you jump on to any of our Western Australian community profiles (eg. http://profile.id.com.au/joondalup) you’ll find they have a Data Exporter section, where you can export benchmark level data, for the area, its suburbs, and wider region and state. You can get the state figure for Karen speakers by using the “Language spoken at home” option. To get a geographic breakdown on this you’d need to use the ABS Tablebuilder service, or .id’s placemaker. Or you can look at each LGA’s profile.id site individually. Most of the Karen speakers in WA are located in the northern suburbs, particularly Stirling (who don’t subscribe to profile.id), Joondalup and Wanneroo.

  17. Wendy Rose says:

    Hi Glenn
    Is there a way to find out how many Karen speaking people live in WA and roughly what area they are in.
    Thank you!
    Wendy

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