Culture and identity
Australia’s Indigenous peoples have lived in the country for more than 50,000 years. There are 200–250 language groups represented across Australia, with diverse and dynamic cultures, art forms and technologies.
People of many nationalities, predominantly English, Scottish and Irish descent, have settled in Australia since 1788. More than 6.4 million people (27.7%) from over 200 countries have migrated to Australia. People born in the UK continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 5.3% of Australia's total population at 30 June 2013. This was followed by persons born in New Zealand (2.6%), China (1.8%), India (1.6%) and Vietnam (0.9%).
A diverse range of art, literature, music, film, dance and theatre reflects Australia's multicultural heritage. Australians are particularly renowned for their love of sports.
Australia is considered to be one of the healthiest countries in the world. Life expectancy is high, about 82 years, and the infant mortality rate low, at four per 1,000 births. Australians generally have universal access to the doctor of their choice for out-of-hospital care, free public hospital care and subsidised pharmaceuticals under a tax-funded national health insurance scheme. However, the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is much worse than the general population. About 0.1% of Australia’s total population (27,000) are living with HIV.
Religion and beliefs
Approximately 64% of the population identify as Christian and around 7% identify as one of the four main non-Christian religions: Buddhism (2.5%), Islam (2.2%) and Hinduism (1.3%) and Judaism (1%). The rest follow another or no religion.
Food and shelter
With a range of climates and a multicultural community, Australians produce and eat a wide range of foods. Cereals, dairy produce, fish, meat and poultry, and fresh fruits and vegetables form the basis of a plentiful diet. There is increasing recognition of indigenous plants and animals so bush tomatoes, wattle seeds, desert limes, quandongs, kangaroo and emu are becoming more common restaurant foods.
The most common housing style is the single-storey detached house, often on a large block of land. Australian homes are usually well-serviced with running water, gas, electricity, sewerage systems and telephones.