Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. Australia’s size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and dry desert in the centre. It is the flattest continent, with the oldest and least fertile soils; desert or semi-arid land commonly known as the outback makes up by far the largest portion of land.

 

Australia has the world’s 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF). With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. It has a market economy, a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland in 2013.

 

Since 1788, the primary influence behind Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic Western culture, with some Indigenous influences. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world. Australia is also known for its cafe and coffee culture in urban centres, which has influenced coffee culture abroad, including New York City. Australia and New Zealand were responsible for the flat white coffee.

 

Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated to be 99% in 2003. In the Programme for International Student Assessment, Australia regularly scores among the top five of thirty major developed countries. About 58% of Australians aged from 25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications, and the tertiary graduation rate of 49% is the highest among OECD countries. The ratio of international to local students in tertiary education in Australia is the highest in the OECD countries. In addition, 38 percent of Australia’s population has a university or college degree, which is among the highest percentages in the world.