The Saudi Arabia-born Community

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The Saudi Arabia-born Community

Historical Background

The Saudi Arabia-born are relatively new migrants to Australia. Migrant numbers from Saudi Arabia continue to be small and most arrive under the Skilled Migration Program.


Geographic Distribution

The latest Census in 2011 recorded 10,518 Saudi Arabia-born people in Australia, an increase of 202.1 per cent from the 2006 Census. The 2011 distribution by state and territory showed New South Wales had the largest number with 3,069 followed by Victoria (2,777), Queensland (2,182) and Western Australia (1,143).

Age and Sex

The median age of the Saudi Arabia-born in 2011 was 24 years compared with 45 years for all overseas-born and 37 years for the total Australian population.

The age distribution showed 26.3 per cent were aged 0-14 years, 27.8 per cent were 15-24 years, 43.8 per cent were 25-44 years, 1.8 per cent were 45-64 years and 0.2 per cent were 65 years and over.

Of the Saudi Arabia-born in Australia, there were 6,065 males (57.7 per cent) and 4,451 females (42.3 per cent). The sex ratio was 136.3 males per 100 females.


In the 2011 Census, the top ancestry responses* that Saudi Arabia-born people reported were Arab nfd (3,495), Saudi Arabian (3,358) and Indian (646).

In the 2011 Census, Australians reported around 300 different ancestries. Of the total ancestry responses*, 3,696 responses were towards Saudi Arabian 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.


The main languages spoken at home by Saudi Arabia-born people in Australia were Arabic (8,129), English (1,051) and Urdu (363).

Of the 9,740 Saudi Arabia-born who spoke a language other than English at home, 72.4 per cent spoke English very well or well, and 26.5 per cent spoke English not well or not at all.


At the 2011 Census the major religious affiliations amongst Saudi Arabia-born were Islam (8,707) and Catholic (727).

Of the Saudi Arabia-born, 2.5 per cent stated 'No Religion' which was lower than that of the Australian population (22.3 per cent), and 1.5 per cent did not state a religion.


Compared to 62 per cent of the total overseas-born population, 12.3 per cent of the Saudi Arabia-born people in Australia arrived in Australia prior to 2001.

Among the total Saudi Arabia-born in Australia at the 2011 Census, 11.6 per cent arrived between 2001 and 2006 and 69.6 per cent arrived between 2007 and 2011.

Median Income

At the time of the 2011 Census, the median individual weekly income for the Saudi Arabia-born in Australia aged 15 years and over was $644, 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.


At the 2011 Census, 58.4 per cent of the Saudi Arabia-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 Saudi Arabia-born aged 15 years and over, 31.6 per cent were still attending an educational institution. The corresponding rate for the total Australian population was 8.6 per cent.


Among Saudi Arabia-born people aged 15 years and over, the participation rate in the labour force was 19.9 per cent and the unemployment rate was 18 per cent. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 65 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.

Of the 1,251 Saudi Arabia-born who were employed, 52.8 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.
© Commonwealth of Australia.

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