Victoria, or just Vic., is a state in southeast Australia. Victoria is the most densely populated state in the country and the second most populous. Victoria is the smallest state on the Australian mainland, and it's bordered by Tasmania and the Bass Strait to the south, South Australia to the west, New South Wales to the north and the Tasman Sea to the east.
Victoria has an estimated population of 5.71 million, ranking second in the country, with a population density of 25 people per square kilometer or 64 per square mile, which also ranks 2nd in Australia. Victoria accounts for 25% of all Australians.
Most of the people in Victoria are concentrated in the area around Port Phillip Bay, including the metropolitan area of the largest city, Melbourne. 75% of the state's population lives in Melbourne in the south. The greater Melbourne metro area has an estimated population of 4.17 million.
The founding Anglo-Celtic population of Victoria has been supplemented over the years by many migrants from southern and eastern Europe. There have also been waves of immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.
Around 72% of people in Victoria were born in Australia, but only 66% in Melbourne were born in the country while up to 95% are Australia-born in the rural areas in the northwest. Over two-thirds of Victorians have Australian (23.3%), English (23.5%), Scottish (6.4%), Irish (7.6%) and Scottish (6.4%) ancestry, while under 1% are Aboriginal. The most common countries of birth among those born outside of Australia include those from England (3.2%, India (2.1%), China (1.8%), New Zealand (1.5%) and Italy (1.4%).
The largest religious affiliation is Catholic at nearly 27%, followed by the with no religion (24%), Anglican (12.3%), Uniting Church (4.7%) and Eastern Orthodox (4.3%).
Melbourne is currently leading Australia's population growth adding more than 77,000 people between 2011 and 2012 alone. Five of the eight municipalities in Australia with the largest growth in the country were located in Melbourne, including the city itself and several suburbs. Victoria is also growing rapidly. In 2011, Victoria's population grew by more than 100,000 a year for the first time since 2009, with net overseas migration reaching a 4-year high.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts Victoria will have a population of 7.2 million by 2050. Like much of Australia, Victoria has an aging population with the median age climbing from 35 to 37 between 2001 and 2011. By 2021, it's estimated that 25% of Victoria's population will be over 60.
Before European settlement, the area of Victoria was inhabited by many Aboriginal groups, collectively known as the Koori. The colony of New South Wales was established in 1788, and Australia was divided into the eastern half (New South Wales) and the western half (New Holland). The first European settlement in the Victoria area was established in 1803. This settlement had 402 people, including government officials, officers of marines, privates, 307 convicts, 17 convicts' wives and children sent from England in the HMS Calcutta.
The next settlement in the state was at Portland in 1834, with Melbourne's founding taking place the following year.
In 1851, Victoria gained independence from New South Wales as the Colony of Victoria. Just days later gold was discovered near Ballarat and Bendigo, with later discoveries throughout the area. This triggered one of the world's largest gold rushes, and the colony quickly grew in power and population. In just ten years, the population increased from 76,000 to 540,000. Several gold records were produced during this time, including the discovery of the largest gold nugget. Between 1851 and 1860, the Colony of Victoria produced 20 million ounces of gold or more than 30% of the world's output at the time. During the gold rush, immigrants came from around the world, notably China and Ireland.
Victoria eventually became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. Until 1927, Melbourne remained the largest city in the new country.