The Uruguay-born Community

Historical Background

Economic decline and political unrest in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s encouraged middle class and skilled Uruguayans to migrate to democracies such as Australia.

By 1981 there were almost 9300 Uruguay-born in Australia, rising to 9715 in 1996. With the restoration of democracy in Uruguay, numbers of Uruguay-born in Australia have begun to decline and this is expected to continue as the population ages.

Today

Geographic Distribution

Economic decline and political unrest in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s encouraged middle class and skilled Uruguayans to migrate to democracies such as Australia.

By 1981 there were almost 9300 Uruguay-born in Australia, rising to 9715 in 1996. With the restoration of democracy in Uruguay, numbers of Uruguay-born in Australia have begun to decline and this is expected to continue as the population ages.

Age and Sex

The median age of the Uruguay-born in 2011 was 55 years compared with 45 years for all overseas-born and 37 years for the total Australian population.

The age distribution showed 1.1 per cent were aged 0-14 years, 1.7 per cent were 15-24 years, 26.4 per cent were 25-44 years, 41.1 per cent were 45-64 years and 29.7 per cent were 65 years and over.

Of the Uruguay-born in Australia, there were 4400 males (47.6 per cent) and 4838 females (52.4 per cent). The sex ratio was 90.9 males per 100 females.

Ancestry

In the 2011 Census, the top ancestry responses* that Uruguay-born people reported were Spanish (3744), Uruguayan (3229) and Italian (1431).

In the 2011 Census, Australians reported around 300 different ancestries. Of the total ancestry responses*, 7221 responses were towards Uruguayan ancestry.

*At the 2011 Census up to two responses per person were allowed for the Ancestry question; therefore providing the total responses and not persons count.

Language

The main languages spoken at home by Uruguay-born people in Australia were Spanish (7511), English (1472) and Italian (140).

Of the 7763 Uruguay-born who spoke a language other than English at home, 80.7 per cent spoke English very well or well, and 18 per cent spoke English not well or not at all.

Religion

At the 2011 Census the major religious affiliations amongst Uruguay-born were Catholic (6009) and Christian, nfd (303).

Of the Uruguay-born, 19.1 per cent stated 'No Religion' which was lower than that of the total Australian population (22.3 per cent), and 3.2 per cent did not state a religion.

Arrival

Compared to 62 per cent of the total overseas-born population, 92.7 per cent of the Uruguay-born people in Australia arrived in Australia prior to 2001.

Among the total Uruguay-born in Australia at the 2011 Census, 3.5 per cent arrived between 2001 and 2006 and 1.6 per cent arrived during 2007 and 2011.

Median Income

At the time of the 2011 Census, the median individual weekly income for the Uruguay-born in Australia aged 15 years and over was $490, compared with $538 for all overseas-born and $597 for all Australia-born. The total Australian population had a median individual weekly income of $577.

Qualifications

At the 2011 Census, 53.4 per cent of the Uruguay-born aged 15 years and over had some form of higher non-school qualifications compared to 55.9 per cent of the Australian population.

Of the Uruguay-born aged 15 years and over, 2.1 per cent were still attending an educational institution. The corresponding rate for the total Australian population was 8.6 per cent.

Employment

Among Uruguay-born people aged 15 years and over, the participation rate in the labour force was 57.7 per cent and the unemployment rate was 5 per cent. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 65 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.

Of the 4881 Uruguay-born who were employed, 41.9 per cent were employed in either a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupation. The corresponding rate in the total Australian population was 48.4 per cent.

Produced by the Community Relations Section of DIAC All data used in this summary is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing. Sources for the Historical Background are available on our website.
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