Australians, colloquially known as Aussies, are citizens and nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia, although some dual citizens, expatriates and permanent residents may also claim Australian nationality. Home to people of many different ethnic origins, religious and national origins, the Australian culture and law does not correspond nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and loyalty to the country. Australia is a multicultural society and has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 29% of the population.
The development of a separate Australian identity and national character is often linked with the anti-transportation and nativist movements and the Eureka Rebellion during the colonial period and in the lead-up to Federation, as well as the period surrounding the First World War. However, Australian culture predates the federation of the Australian colonies by several decades – Australian literature, most notably the work of the bush poets, dates from colonial times. Modern Australian identity draws on a multicultural and Anglo-Celtic cultural heritage.
The Colony of New South Wales was established by the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1788, with the arrival of the First Fleet, and five other colonies were established in the early 19th century, now forming the six present-day Australian states. Large-scale immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from Southern and Eastern Europe introducing a variety of elements. Immigration from the Middle East, south and east Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, and Latin America has also been having an impact.
Until the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles, and a majority of Australians have some British or Irish ancestry. These Australians form a broad ethnic category known as Anglo-Celtic Australians. Asian Australians constitute the largest broad ethnic minority category by a large margin, at 16.15% of the population at the 2016 census. In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were English (36.1%), Australian (33.5%), Irish (11.0%), Scottish (9.3%), Chinese (5.6%), Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Indian (2.8%), Greek (1.8%), and Dutch (1.6%).
Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Sri Lankan are the most commonly nominated Asian ancestries in Australia. Chinese Australians constituted 5.6% of the Australian population and Indian Australians constituted 2.8 percent at the 2016 census.
The current Australian resident population is estimated at 25,518,000 (11 September 2019). This does not include an estimated 1 million Australians living overseas, but it includes Australians born overseas. There are an estimated 1 million Australians (approximately 5% of the population) residing outside Australia. The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement facilitates open migration to and from New Zealand.
Australians have various religions and spiritual beliefs. Majority (52.1%) were Christian, while 30.1% of the population reported as having no religion, of those reporting as having religious affiliations according to the 2016 census. As in many Western countries, the level of active participation in church worship is lower than would be indicated by the proportion of the population identifying themselves as Christian; weekly attendance at church services was about 1.5 million in 2001, about 7% of the population (21.5 million) that year.