The make-up of the modern Australian

AncestryDNA, Most Popular
18 January 2018

Australia is a uniquely diverse country.

In addition to being home to one of the oldest continuous cultures on earth, Australia is now home to people from nearly 200 countries.

And while many Australians know their recent family histories, DNA testing now allows them to learn more about where they come from than ever before.

At Ancestry, we looked at the results of Aussies who have taken an AncestryDNA test to discover the make-up of modern Australia.

What Our Study Revealed

The ethnicities with the highest averages for Australians in our study* were Great Britain and Ireland.

Data based on insights from Australian-born AncestryDNA test-takers who’ve received results as of December 2017.

According to our study, the average Australian is:

  • 31.00% British
  • 28.62% Irish
  • 17.15% Western European (primarily French and German)

The top two most common ethnic regions, Great Britain and Ireland, align with the top reported ancestries in the 2016 Australian census.

But our study showed a higher percentage of Irish ethnicity than I would have expected (28.6%), given that only 7.6% of the population reported having Irish ethnicity in the census.

Rural Ireland, where your ancestors might hail from.

For me, this echoes a common theme I’ve seen in Australian customers’ experiences: Even people who think they know exactly where their families came from can be surprised.

You Might Well Be Surprised

One of my favorite examples of DNA testing revealing surprise origins is the set of stories that surfaced when we DNA tested an entire Bondi Beach apartment block.

Many of the residents were totally surprised by their DNA test results:

Theo, Zareena, and Mariah.
  • One resident named Theo was completely convinced his ancestry was purely Greek. But his DNA test revealed an 18% Europe East ethnicity estimate, along with 2% Asia South.
  • His wife Zareena, from South Africa, was blown away by her results, which revealed she had roots from Africa, Great Britain, Asia, Polynesia, and even Scandinavia.
  • Another of the residents tested, a Brazilian woman named Mariah, had eighteen different ethnicity estimates in her AncestryDNA test results!

Might your ethnic breakdown be similar to the average ethnicity our study revealed? Or will you be totally surprised? Take an AncestryDNA test to find out!

– Amy Pike


*The insights in this study were based on data as of December 2017, from customers in Australia who have taken an AncestryDNA test.