Moving to Australia
Emigrate to Australia ©2009-11

About Australia

Australian Map with States copyright

Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession in the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include climate-change issues such as the depletion of the ozone layer and more frequent droughts, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.


Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Area total: 7,741,220 sq km
Area country comparison to the world:
Area of land:
7,682,300 sq km
Area of water:
58,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states
Land boundaries:
0 km
25,760 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea:
12 nm; contiguous zone: 24 nm; exclusive economic zone: 200 nm;
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Current Weather generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point:
Lake Eyre -15 m highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
Natural resources:
bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
note: Australia is the world's largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports
Land use: arable land: 6.15% (includes about 27 million hectares of cultivated grassland); permanent crops: 0.04%; other: 93.81% (2005)
Irrigated land:
25,450 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
398 cu km (1995)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 24.06 cu km/yr (15%/10%/75%)
per capita:
1,193 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
Geography - note:
world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world

Population: 21,515,754 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 54
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.4% (male 2,033,106/female 1,929,863)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 7,397,562/female 7,197,829)
65 years and over: 13.7% (male 1,350,248/female 1,607,146) (2010 est.)
Median age: total: 37.5 years
male: 36.8 years
female: 38.3 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.171% (2010 est.)
Birth rate: 12.39 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
Death rate: 6.81 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
Net migration rate: 6.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Urbanization: urban population: 89% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.055 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.72 years
country comparison to the world: 8
male: 79.33 years
female: 84.25 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.78 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Ethnic groups: white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%
Religions: Catholic 25.8%, Anglican 18.7%, Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 3%, Eastern Orthodox 2.7%, other Christian 7.9%, Buddhist 2.1%, Muslim 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 11.3%, none 18.7% (2006 Census)
Languages: English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99% female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 20 years
male: 20 years female: 21 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 4.5% of GDP (2005) country comparison to the world: 85

Government type: federal parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital: name: Canberra geographic coordinates: 35 17 S, 149 13 E time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends first Sunday in April
note: Australia is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions: 6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Dependent areas: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island, Norfolk Island
Independence: 1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)
National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)
Constitution: 9 July 1900; effective on 1 January 1901
Legal system: based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts International Criminal Court jurisdiction with conditions
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory


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