Australia ranks as one of the best countries to live in the world by international comparisons of wealth, education, health and quality of life. The sixth-largest country by land mass, its population is comparatively small with most people living around the eastern and south-eastern coastlines.

The country’s first inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, are believed to have migrated from Asia tens of thousands of years before the arrival of British settlers in 1788. They now make up less than 3% of Australia’s 23 million people.

Years of mass immigration after the Second World War heralded sweeping demographic changes, making modern Australia one of the world’s most multicultural countries. But migration continues to be a sensitive issue politically.

In shaping its foreign and economic policy, Australia first looked to Europe and the US but in the last 20 years has developed stronger ties with Asia. It has acted as peacekeeper in the region sending missions to Solomon Islands, East Timor and Papua New Guinea.

Although Australia remains part of the Commonwealth, the future role of the monarchy has been a recurring issue in politics. An aging population, pressure on infrastructure and environmental concerns such as climate change are some of the long-term challenges facing the country.

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Australia is a country in Oceania bordering the Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean. Australia is comprised of mainland Australia, the island of Tasmania, and several small islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The terrain is mostly low plateau with deserts. The government system is a federal parliamentary democracy and a commonwealth realm. The chief of state is the queen and the head of government is the prime minister. Australia has a mixed economic system in which the economy includes a variety of private freedom, combined with centralized economic planning and government regulation. Australia is a member of Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Languages
English 76.8%, Mandarin 1.6%, Italian 1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Greek 1.2%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.1%, other 10.4%, unspecified 5%

Ethnic Groups
English 25.9%, Australian 25.4%, Irish 7.5%, Scottish 6.4%, Italian 3.3%, German 3.2%, Chinese 3.1%, Indian 1.4%, Greek 1.4%, Dutch 1.2%, other 15.8% (includes Australian aboriginal .5%), unspecified 5.4%

Religions
Protestant 30.1% (Anglican 17.1%, Uniting Church 5.0%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.8%, Baptist, 1.6%, Lutheran 1.2%, Pentecostal 1.1%, other Protestant 1.3%), Catholic 25.3% (Roman Catholic 25.1%, other Catholic .2%), other Christian 2.9%, Orthodox 2.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Muslim 2.2%, Hindu 1.3%, other 1.3%, none 22.3%, unspecified 9.3%

Population, total
24,598,933 (2017)

Ease of Doing Business Rank
14 out of 190 (2017)

GDP per capita, PPP (current international $)
$47,047 (2017)