After centuries of habitation by Aboriginal settlers from southeast Asia, Australia, which lies between the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, was claimed by the British in 1770. The six states created over the following centuries formed the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. In the early 21st century, almost 90 percent of the population has become urbanized, and per capita income has reached $38,500. Three-fourths of the work force is engaged in service industries. Australia now ranks second in the world on the United Nations Development Programme's list of countries with Very High Human Development. Ninety-two percent of Australia's population is white, and 7 percent is Asian. One percent of the population is either Aborigine or belongs to another ethnic group. Most of the people are ...

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