You son of a migrant!

by | Oct 9, 2012 | demography, education, immigration

Over the course of the 20th century Australia experienced a remarkable increase in high school graduation rates.  This has been relatively stable for almost two decades at 74%, but is it evenly spread across the community?


One interesting variable impacting education attainment is immigration status.  It is not surprising that when designing an obstacle course for foreigners to jump through in order to be granted visas, the immigration department would include an education hoop.  As such, the fact that migrants have higher rates of high-school completion than the local variety is to be expected.
The extent of this effect is somewhat dependant on which corner of the globe the migrants arrive from, but all regions result in higher rates than those born in Australia*.
The data herein refers to people aged 20 to 29, to focus on the more current situation, while also reducing the impact of the change over time while also being mindful the rates have been stable since the mid 1990s.
* Regions grouped by the Standard Australian Classification of Countries( SACC)2011:
Interestingly, however, this effect endures beyond the first generation.  According to Census 2011 data, people born in Australia to two migrant parents are 18% more likely to complete high school than Australians with non-migrant parents.  Those with one migrant parent are 8% more likely (this appears to be the case regardless of whether the migrant is the mother or father).
Unfortunately the Census does not provide information beyond the previous generation, so we can’t (from this source) examine how long the migrancy influence is felt for.  
Come November, data on tertiary education will become available, allowing for much greater analysis of such topics. More to come.
All data presented in this post was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2011 Census: