Census 2011:My comments in Australian Financial Review story!

 

Yadu Singh

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Australian Financial Review

21st June, 2012

India tops migrant mix

By PIP FREEBAIRN

First they were British and Irish, then Greeks, Italian and Vietnamese, but now the fastest growing wave of migrants to Australia are Indians.

The 2011 census showed yesterday that the number of Indian migrants in Australia has doubled since five years earlier with around 150,000 new migrants arriving here.

The proportion of Australian residents born in India rose from0.7 per cent in 2006 to 1.4 per cent in 2011 as their number increased from 147,106 to 295,362.

Their growing contingent joins longer-standing migrants such as Yadu Singh, the president of Indian Australian Association of NSW. He came to Australia in 1991 to train as a cardiologist and enjoys the quality of life. He denies that Australia is perceived as racist and dangerous.

“Despite all the nonsense, Australia is a welcoming country and Indians know that. It was the Indian media that overreacted to the events a few years ago.

“Indian migrants know while there are a few [racists], the rules and regulation of this country are not in anyway racist.”

Dr Singh is referring to a series of incidents in Melbourne in which robberies and assaults on trains and in public places were perceived as being racially motivated.

Most Indians live in NSW, followed by Victoria, and most are located in capital cities. Melbourne had the highest proportion of Indian-born residents, at 2.7 per cent. But a regional bonus in the points test for permanent migration status means some Indian migrants are now branching out to Newcastle, Wollongong, and Bathurst.

Indian-born Australians are most likely to speak English at home, followed by Hindi and Punjabi, a language spoken in Northern India and regions of Pakistan.

The census reveals that the number of Punjabi speakers grew the fastest of any language in Australia – by 207 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

The growth of Hinduism has also matched the growth of Indian migration. While only 1.3 per cent of residents identify as Hindus, its numbers of adherents have almost doubled from 148,000 in 2006 to 275,534 in 2011.

Census director Andrew Henderson said the growth of Indian migration meant the Indian-born had overtaken Italian-born as those migrants moved into their second generation. “It is fundamentally shifting the cultural mix in Australia,” he said.

Australia and India share a number of cultural touchstones, not least widespread English usage in both nations and a legacy of common colonial histories. Cricket also binds the two nations, with Test matches that involve India in Sydney and Melbourne attracting large vocal crowds in support of the visiting team.

Indian permanent migration to Australia hit a monthly peak of almost 1800 in early 2008, before dipping to 680 in 2010 but has recovered to 1350 arrivals a month in early 2012.

Many Indians come to Australia not just for economic opportunity but to take advantage of the education system. Dr Singh said Indians who came to Australia tended to be young and highly educated and were often seeking further training in accounting, medical degrees, or nursing.

Indian-born Australians tend to be younger than the median age of the total population, 36 compared to 47.

Hass Dellal, the head of Australian Multicultural Foundation,which advises government, said the new wave of migration indicated that Australia was engaging more in the region.

“But we are not taking advantage of the opportunities it brings, economically or culturally. We need things such as languages in schools so that we can make the most of the advantages of our multicultural society.”

Australian Census 2011:what it says about India & Indians in Australia!

Australian Census 2011:what it says about India & Indians in Australia!

I was waiting for the latest Census 2011 data. This is out today. It has some very interesting information.

  • There are a total of 21,507,717 people in Australia.
  • 26% people were born overseas and 20% had one parent born overseas.
  • Top 10 counties by birth of migrants include India at 4th spot [295400 people]. UK, NZ, China are higher.
  • People of Asian background by birth have moved up in proportion of people born overseas [33% in 2011 Vs 24% in 2001].
  • Before 2007, UK was the top source of migrants but India is the top source of migrants in 2007-11. India now contributes 13.1% of migrants [2007-11] compared to 12% from UK. Most of the top 10 countries from where migrants are arriving from are Asian countries.
  • 47% of all Indians in Australia are Indians who have arrived in recent years [2007-11]. Corresponding numbers for Chinese is 35.
  • 200,000 Indians have arrived in Australia between 2001-11. Corresponding numbers are 176,200 and 127,700 for Chinese and New Zealanders respectively.
  • 98 males for 100 females in Australia but numbers skewed adversely for Nepalese [144 Males for 100 females], Afghanistani people [143 males for 100 females] and Pakistani people [143 males for 100 females].
  • 390900 [2%] people have identified their ancestry as Indian ancestry, compared to 866000 [4%] for Chinese ancestry. This number may be an underestimate as some second and third generation people of Indian ancestry may have identified themselves as from “Australian ancestry”.
  • Among those who identified as of Indian ancestry, 61% were born in India, 20% in Australia and 19% in other countries.
  • Among those who identified their ancestry as Indian, only 12.9% had one more ancestry, compared to much higher proportions from other groups. This means that marriages outside Indian segment is much less common. One explanation is that Indian community is a newer community in Australia. It is likely to change in years/decades.
  • Indian ancestry numbers may be an underestimate as a section of Indian community ran a campaign before Census to identify themselves as “Punjabi” ancestry, not Indian ancestry.
  • 61% people follow Christianity in 2011 compared to 68% in 2001 and 96% in 1911.
  • Non-Christian faiths have grown from 4.9% [900,000 people] to 7.2% [1.5 millions] between 2001 to 2011.
  • Buddhism is the commonest non-Christian religion [2.5%], followed by Islam [2.2%] and Hinduism [1.3%].
  • Hinduism had the fastest growth. It grew 189% between 2001 to 2011. 275000 people identify themselves as Hindu now. 275000 Hindus from a total of 391000 people with Indian heritage means Hindus constitute 70% of total number of Australians of Indian ancestry.
  • Growth of Islam and Buddhism have been 69% [476,300 people] and 48% [529000 people] in the last decade.
  • “No religion” category grew too from 15% to 22% between 2001 to 2011.
  • Over half [56%] people born overseas are Christian.
  • Hindi is one of the Top 10 language, other than English, spoken by people at home. 104900 people [0.5%] speak Hindi at Homes. Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese and Vietnamese are spoken by more Australians. Hindi is the only Indian language among the top 10 languages in Australia. Punjabi language is spoken by Punjabi sub-segment of Indian community significantly but I am not completely clear about the comparison between Hindi and Punjabi languages. There is some confusion about it. It is however safe to say that Hindi is the only Indian language in the Top 10 languages in Australia. I will study this data more carefully and will seek clarifications.
  • Among those who speak Hindi, 80.2% speak English very well.

My take is that increasing numbers of  young and highly trained Indians are choosing to migrate to Australia. This is despite a negative campaign against Australia, which was run by a segment of Indian media in recent years. It proves that Australia is a fantastic place to live, work and settle. Indians have rejected Indian media’s campaign to create a false characterisation of Australia as a racist nation.

One could argue that India is losing so many well-trained young people but I doubt it is a relevant factor anymore. There is unemployment and under-employment in India, which is made much worse by perpetual, if not permanent, reservation system which reserves 50% jobs/training positions and even promotion opportunities to people who have been historically discriminated.  India’s so-called loss is Australia’s gain. Australia should continue to attract and accept skilled migrants from all over the world.

Indian Australian community has grown significantly in recent years and will continue to grow in coming years. There is an urgent need to network this community [particularly newer migrants] for mentoring/guidance in regards to settlement issues and integration in the Australian community, and also pastoral care, when needed.

Indian community associations and leaders need to analyse how they can provide guidance to newer migrants, when such guidance and mentoring become necessary.

One does not need to be an Einstein to predict that Indian Australian community will achieve increasing importance in Australian politics. They will constitute significant proportions in many constituencies. I predict, and in fact hope, that some “good” people from amongst us will enter Australian Parliaments and Local Councils within next 5 years.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/21st June, 2012

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