Multicultural landscape bigger, more diverse


ABS’s 2011 Census of Population and Housing data reveals a fundamental shift in the country’s cultural make-up, with almost a quarter of the population born overseas.

The latest Census data has revealed that almost a quarter (24.6%) of Australia’s population was born overseas and 43.1% of people have at least one overseas-born parent.

The United Kingdom is the leading country of birth for the overseas-born population (20.8%). It is followed by New Zealand (9.1%), China (6.0%) and India (5.6%).The number of people born in India has experienced the largest growth with an increase of 148,261 people since the 2006 Census, followed by China (112,379) and New Zealand (93,934). The largest decreases were recordedamong people born in Italy (13,729 people) and Greece (10,050).

Dr Jill Charker said these results highlight the cultural diversity of Australia’s population. “Multicultural communities across the country worked very hard with the ABS during the Census to ensure we captured a full and accurate picture of Australia’s diversity,” Dr Charker said. “Multiculturalism plays a big part in who we are as a nation and we thank all community groups for their participation in the Census, and helping to create a brighter future for all Australians,” she added.

Dr Charker encouraged everyone to go online and look at the snapshot of Australia captured by the Census. “Census data is available freely online and can be used for a variety of purposes across a wide range of sectors, and even by individuals,” Dr Charker said.

At an event held to release the results, guests were welcomed by Sheba Nandkeolyar, CEO of Multicultural Connexions, agency partner for dissemination of Census 2011 Multicultural insights.Chief Guest Dr Geoffrey Lee, Member for Parramatta, spoke about the importance of Census data for State planning, while Mr Nihal Gupta, Chair of the NSW Multicultural Business Advisory board stated that the growing migrant figures added to the cultural and skilled richness of Australia.

The launch concluded with a Q&A session providing the media and community leaders the opportunity to interact with Dr Charker. “All Australians can go online and see what Census data says about their community, and the place they call home,” said Dr Charker.

Data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing is now available from the ABS website. Visit

Punjabi on the Rise

Punjabi is the fastest growing Indian language, showing a 207.5% increase from 23,164 people in 2006 to 71,229 people in 2011.

Mandarin is the most widely used non–English language spoken at home among Australia’s top 20 languages:the number of Mandarin speaks grew to 336,410 in 2011 from 220,604 in 2006 – an increase of 52.5%