Australia's Population

Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. 9 out of 10 people live on only 3% of the land.

Most of Australia's 25 million people live near the coast, because the inner parts are made up of deserts. 80% of the country’s population live in the south-eastern part of the country. Here you can also find the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, or the capital Canberra.

Most people in Australia are immigrants or come from families who came to the country from Europe.

Until the beginning of the 20th century most of the immigrants came from Great Britain and Ireland. After World War II, Australia's government allowed people from other countries to enter . Since the 1970s more and more people from Asian countries have been coming .

However, not everybody is allowed to come and live in Australia. You must pass a special test and show special skills that the Australians need.

Dutch immigrants arrive in Australia in 1954

Where Australians were born
Image: Saruman-the-white

Aborigines

The Australian Aborigines have a history which is much like that of the American Indians. When British settlers landed on the continent at the beginning of the 19th century many Aborigines were killed or they had to leave their homes. The English took away their land. The white people developed Australia and left the Aborigines locked out .

Today, some Aborigines live in cities and big towns, but they can't always get jobs there. Many have stayed on their traditional land. There they live in small communities in the same way that they did hundreds of years ago. They preserve their culture, draw paintings and sell handicrafts to tourists who pass by and visit them.

But most of the country's 300,000 Aborigines cannot live like the white population . They don't have houses and medical care and most of them don't earn as much money as white people.

Recently, the government's feelings about their native people have changed. Over the last few decades the government has created many programs to improve the life of Aborigines. They send them to better schools and help them get better jobs. The Australians are also starting to give them back the land that they took away from them 200 years ago.

Aborigines performing music and dance
Image: Photo By: Cpl. Angel Serna