The most noticeable thing about Australia’s immigration
over the last 30 or 40 years has been a shift from mainly European to predominantly Asian migrants. The results of the Census of 2016 reflects the increasing Asianisation of our country.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics uses a pretty broad definition of “Asian” which includes people coming everywhere from Pakistan, Georgia and India to China, Japan and Philippines. While the Census showed that at least 26% of the population
were born overseas, of these the percentage of migrants born in Europe fell from 40.3% to 33.9% since 2011, but the Asian-born increased from 32.9% to 39.7%. In fact 19.5% of the overseas-born come from three countries, namely China, India and Philippines.
Of the total population, native and overseas-born, 10.3% came from Asia but only 3.9% from England and 2.2% from New Zealand. (1)
How are these migrants faring economically? Some are
doing pretty well, especially in regard to income. The Census showed the median weekly income for people born in Australia was $688 but migrants from Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka had median incomes higher than this. At least 13 other
Asian nationalities had median incomes lower than the Australian-born. Furthermore while the Australians had an unemployment rate of 6.4% every Asian-born migrant nationality had a rate higher than this. Those from China had an unemployment rate of 11.8% and
those from Afghanistan 17.8%. Almost every European nationality actually had lower unemployment rates than the Australian-born and in the case of those from Ireland, England, Scotland, Belgium and France, had higher median incomes. (2)
Then there is the matter of crime. Crime statistics for New South Wales show that areas that have a high proportion of migrants from Asia and the Middle East tend to have worse crime rates. Averaged over the years 2011 to 2016 the homicide rate in the Fairfield
local government area (which includes the Vietnamese ghetto of Cabramatta) had a murder rate about twice the state average, Bankstown about two and a half times and Auburn just over three times the state average. (3)
Prison statistics show that the Vietnam-born are more likely to be in jail than the Australian-born. Statistics from the prisoner census of 2012 showed that 22% of prisoners from India were in for homicide or related crimes compared to only 6-7% of all prisoners
that year. (4) Domestic violence, including a number of deaths, has characterised the Hindu and Sikh communities in Australia. (5)
How is our Asianised economy going? The prognosis is
not good. We once had the highest living standards in the world as measured by our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita but figures downloaded from Wikipedia show our per capita GDP using parity pricing (which takes into account the purchasing power of
our currency) was rated 17th in the world in 2016 and 18th in 2017. This is based on figures from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (6)
result of large scale immigration are the remittances migrants send back to their home country. This was estimated to be over $16 billion in 2016 including $2.79 billion going to China, $1.76 billion to India and over a billion to Vietnam. (7)
No doubt we have taken in a lot of qualified migrants from Asia over the last four decades but we have also acquired a lot of problems. Any economic gains appear ephemeral.
(1) Charis Chang, “How Asian are We Really? What Australia’s Census 2016 Showed Us”, www.news.com.au/national.. 29 June 2017
(7) Pew Research Center, “Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2016”, www.pewglobal.org 23 January 2018
UNEMPLOYMENT AND INCOME
OF ASIAN & EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS
According to the 2016 Census figure the Australian born had an unemployment rate of 6.4%, median
weekly personal income of $688 and family income of $1,834. The average unemployment rate for those born overseas was 7.9%, median weekly personal income was $615 and family income was $1,725.