Key multicultural stats for NSW from the 2016 Census.

NSW is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse states where one in four (25%) speaks a language other than English at home. In Sydney the figure rises to one in three (36%). This is due to the high concentration of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) audiences in greater Sydney, only 8% of CALD audiences live outside of Sydney.

Top languages spoken in NSW
The top languages (other than English) spoken at home in NSW and their English proficiency are shown below. The top five languages are unchanged since 2006, however the order have changed.

Mandarin is now the state’s most spoken language, overtaking Arabic. Mandarin is up 72% since the past Census, Hindi is up by 27% and Korean by 26%. All language groups in the top 10 have recorded increases except Greek, down 6% and Italian, down 9% since the 2011 Census.

RankLanguageHigh ProficiencyLow ProficiencyTotalNot applicableGrand Total
Total1549025336268188529355947867480194
1Mandarin170426681652385911351239947
2Arabic167006319351989411882200828
3Cantonese10382038770142590746143338
4Vietnamese6894833346102294604102896
5Greek68294125768087081681685
6Italian6514195947473595975697
7Hindi6345630206647656267037
8Spanish5534075186285867263523
9Korean39428199525938053359914
10Tagalog4336313134467645145133
11Nepali3188324343431728334608
12Punjabi2965834803313829133429
13Bengali2894425303147420731687
14Indonesian2683629792981521930032
15Urdu2695124302938133029723
16Tamil2679326692946220629676
17Macedonian2306347492781232628144
18Thai1820563962460123224841
19Filipino233336732400620924211
20French225669582352422223743
21German220906622275228423029
22Portuguese1952432332275723823005
23Persian (excluding Dari)1787239552182720922044
24Turkish1742539892141421021623
25Serbian1755437092126322021489
26Croatian1818627592094520821149
27Assyrian Neo-Aramaic1560845122012019320316
28Gujarati1697117791875012718875
29Russian1583828231866111018765
30Japanese1458725981718513617321
31Samoan1483313701620333816544
32Polish1254714521399912614127
33Malayalam127481034137829613885
34Telugu115418161235710012463
35Maltese112648971216116712328
37Khmer762839381156611911697
38Sinhalese10741435111765611232
39Tongan91759491012416010286
40Chaldean Neo-Aramaic622930499278649340
41Dari6745227290171229141
42Dutch838819485821118688
43Armenian69698277796457839
44Afrikaans75711197690517735
45Min Nan554616327178407213
46Chinese, nfd455425127066557114
47Hungarian58815966477526533
48Marathi56153215936315967
49Lao381915355354515405
50Burmese381710394856374902
51Hazaraghi298917904779644834
52Fijian43151524467684532
53Bosnian31926543846403889
54Kannada34681793647173663
55Hebrew33161213437323468
56Czech31821873369293395
57Swedish31841053289253316
58Inadequately described226162428853673247
59Malay26821412823192838
60Southern Asian Languages, nfd25072052712402750
61Auslan19716612632632693
62Kurdish20825342616392653
63Pashto20475492596572650
64Shona2511522563222580
65Romanian21982352433212450
66Maori (New Zealand)2322592381512432
67Slovak21041242228152239
68Ukrainian19652242189212208
69Wu1471674214532147
70Dinka16423351977322012
71Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian, so described15202651785411828
72Swahili16111401751231770
73Akan1632811713311743
74Danish168239172151731
75Hakka1279395167491675
76Maori (Cook Island)1477931570471612
77Finnish14361381574151588
78Mongolian901597149881507
79Fijian Hindustani1386631449131458
80Krio1179951274401314
81Slovene1165891254151271
82Somali10661641230171245
83Bisaya97641101781028
84Rohingya42153295315968
85Norwegian929279565960
86Latvian8352986410871
87Tibetan5662808467859
88Bulgarian787558425844
89African Languages, nec7556582020841
90Konkani786378234829
91Karen4563708263825
92Amharic6936475720773
93Albanian6679876510772
94Mauritian Creole7194276110760
95Cebuano729257547754
96Lithuanian686337195717
97Igbo6881570314715
98Tok Pisin (Neomelanesian)594326268642
99Yoruba616106263631
100Estonian573265993609
101Indo-Aryan, nfd5554059512609
102Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd5283055859609
103African Languages, nfd5275958613600
104Irish57465806587
105Tokelauan3925244412458
106Sindhi425414664457
107Welsh421114325434
108Sign Languages, nfd21016537519387
109Tigrinya304683723382
110Wiradjuri344735111374
111French Creole, nfd360103700368
112Ndebele35203520355
113Indo-Aryan, nec293423350334
114Gaelic (Scotland)30303036321
115Niue30273094318
116Oriya288263144309
117Burmese and Related Languages, nec18911430312306
118Other Southern Asian Languages287173040302
119Tetum246502964301
120Iranic, nfd226672938295
121Uygur207842910288
122Kirundi (Rundi)185512364248
123Fulfulde203322356242
124IIokano212152270220
125Ilonggo (Hiligaynon)21902190219
126Rotuman20362090206
127Tulu18531880197
128Azeri166221883187
129Madi155301850184
130Zulu16401643172
131Aboriginal English, so described16531686168
132Swiss, so described16501650168
133Chin Haka82801620165
134Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nec15341573163
135Catalan15381610159
136Hmong97541510153
137Ewe127261534152
138Turkmen129221510150
139Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)120251450147
140Luganda13601360144
141Assamese13541390138
142Yiddish12231254136
143Creole, nfd12441280129
144Norf'k-Pitcairn12501250127
145Timorese92381306125
146Mandinka101141154118
147Oromo97211180116
148Pampangan963990106
149Georgian7618940103
150Latin87191060100
151Tswana92092095
152Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nec87491088
153Bandjalang85085688
154Cypriot, so described771390087
155Gumbaynggir84084087
156Mandaean (Mandaic)741387485
157Yumplatok (Torres Strait Creole)71374482
158Bislama76076081
159Kashmiri76076079
160Ga78381077
161Bari71475074
162Czechoslovakian, so described701080073
163Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nfd68068072
164Icelandic63467072
165Pidgin, nfd68876071
166Acholi67370071
167Gamilaraay66369070
168Balinese56965070
169Uzbek581169069
170Pacific Austronesian Languages, nec571067069
171Hausa55964068
172Solomon Islands Pijin66066067
173Dan (Gio-Dan)55459064
174Gilbertese57057363
175Burmese and Related Languages, nfd302757362
176Zomi164157060
177Bemba58058059
178Dhivehi53457059
179Balochi50353057
180Moro (Nuba Moro)331245557
181Other Eastern Asian Languages, nec312556056
182Key Word Sign Australia252348355
183Papua New Guinea Languages, nfd52052054
184Motu (HiriMotu)58058052
185Liberian (Liberian English)45550452
186Themne44549052
187Seychelles Creole45045352
188Acehnese282048051
189Xhosa39039646
190Dravidian, nec41041045
191Belorussian36642043
192Nyanja (Chichewa)35035041
193Eastern European Languages, nfd33033039
194American Languages37643038
195Mon-Khmer, nec34741035
196Invented Languages36036034
197Anuak30535033
198Romany19625032
199Dhanggatti24630031
200Papua New Guinea Languages, nec30030030
201Luo26026029
202Dharawal22022329
203Bikol25025028
204Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd23326027
205Yolngu Matha, nfd25025327
206Kikuyu23023027
207Mon181230026
208Middle Eastern Semitic Languages, nec24428026
209Tuvaluan23023026
210Nuer17017026
211Paakantyi26329024
212Lingala26430022
213Other Southeast Asian Languages22022022
214Pacific Austronesian Languages, nfd19019322
215Turkic, nec19524021
216Javanese12315021
217Other Southern European Languages, nec12618019
218Bassa15015019
219Harari13013019
220Sign Languages, nec9716017
221Eastern Asian Languages, nfd12315016
222Chinese, nec12315015
223Nyungar11011015
224Shilluk18018014
225Iberian Romance, nfd13013014
226Iranic, nec10313014
227Mann808014
228Yankunytjatjara11011013
229Letzeburgish909013
230Basque17017012
231Frisian808012
232Celtic, nec15015011
233Tai, nec10010011
234Nauruan13417010
235Iberian Romance, nec13013010
236Other Eastern Asian Languages, nfd13013010
237Middle Eastern Semitic Languages, nfd505010
238Ngarrindjeri90909
239German and Related Languages, nfd50509
240Iban40409
241Finnish and Related Languages, nfd1001008
242Kalaw Kawaw Ya/Kalaw Lagaw Ya1001008
243Warlpiri70708
244Kpelle60608
245Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nfd1101107
246Arrernte, nec70707
247Gurindji60607
248Scandinavian, nec50507
249Kuuku-Ya'u60636
250Pitjantjatjara60606
251Torres Strait Island Languages, nfd30306
252Krahn00006
253Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles, nec00006
254Tai, nfd70705
255Finnish and Related Languages, nec50505
256Southern European Languages, nfd50505
257Tiwi50505
258Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles, nfd50505
259Muruwari40405
260Other Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nec30305
261Murrinh Patha40404
262Guugu Yimidhirr40404
263Meriam Mir40404
264Arrernte, nfd40404
265Portuguese Creole, nfd40404
266Baltic, nfd00004
267Githabul70703
268Yorta Yorta40403
269Celtic, nfd30303
270South Slavic, nfd30303
271Other Eastern European Languages, nec30303
272Southeast Asian Languages, nfd30303
273Anindilyakwa30303
274Kriol30303
275Aromunian (Macedo-Romanian)00003
276Tatar00003
277Luritja00003
.

Note: does not include English and Not Stated. Low Proficiency include “Not Well” or “Not at All”, High Proficiency include “Well” or “Very Well” in relation to English language proficiency.

Top local government areas (LGAs) ranked by the percentage of residents who speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home in NSW.

RankLGATotalLOTE% LOTE
Total7480230188201825
1Fairfield (C)19881614072471
2Cumberland (A)21607714181166
3Strathfield (A)403132587064
4Burwood (A)368102342163
5Canterbury-Bankstown (A)34630020832360
6Rockdale (C)1094026154256
7Georges River (A)1468347861754
8Parramatta (C)22615311761652
9Liverpool (C)20433010609452
10Ryde (C)1163045590148
11Botany Bay (C)466512078945
12Blacktown (C)33696513830041
13Canada Bay (A)880153596841
14Willoughby (C)743032989640
15Sydney (C)2083767538636
16Randwick (C)1406594511232
17The Hills Shire (A)1572435011232
18Hornsby (A)1426664437931
19Campbelltown (C) (NSW)1570074771630
20Inner West (A)1820375171528
21Ku-ring-gai (A)1180533274628
22Lane Cove (A)36050951426
23North Sydney (A)676551505322
24Waverley (A)668131401621
25Griffith (C)25635534721
26Hunters Hill (A)13999272219
27Penrith (C)1960643307717
28Wollongong (C)2036303429717
29Woollahra (A)54239837615
30Northern Beaches (A)2528763820915
31Mosman (A)28476430215
32Camden (A)782201127214
33Sutherland Shire (A)2184652841113
34Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional (A)56027678712
35Shellharbour (C)68460711210
36Newcastle (C)1554121538110
37Armidale Regional (A)2945123338
38Coffs Harbour (C)7294954607
39Leeton (A)111678167
40Albury (C)5108034516
41Byron (A)3155621267
42Balranald (A)22901547
43Wagga Wagga (C)6238341287
44Blue Mountains (C)7690247086
45Carrathool (A)27231646
46Orange (C)4034824116
47Hawkesbury (C)6459138516
48Central Coast (C) (NSW)327736192136
49Wollondilly (A)4852027666
50Wingecarribee (A)4787827016
51Walgett (A)61123265
52Snowy Monaro Regional (A)2021610695
53Goulburn Mulwaree (A)2960814015
54Western Plains Regional (A)5007523485
55Lismore (C)4313419895
56Lake Macquarie (C)19737387494
57Kiama (A)214669314
58Tweed (A)9137438514
59Bathurst Regional (A)4130116944
60Cobar (A)46501894
61Shoalhaven (C)9964940134
62Maitland (C)7730730674
63Hay (A)29451124
64Ballina (A)4178615824
65Eurobodalla (A)3722914004
66Tamworth Regional (A)5966222394
67Yass Valley (A)161435724
68Moree Plains (A)131584664
69Brewarrina (A)1645584
70Snowy Valleys (A)143985033
71Lithgow (C)210907333
72Muswellbrook (A)160865593
73Hilltops (A)184976343
74Port Stephens (A)6955623713
75Oberon (A)53011803
76Murrumbidgee (A)38381273
77Edward River (A)88472893
78Bellingen (A)126704033
79Inverell (A)164855213
80Singleton (A)229907163
81Berrigan (A)84622623
82Port Macquarie-Hastings (A)7854124003
83Junee (A)62951923
84Bega Valley (A)3325410103
85Upper Hunter Shire (A)141124203
86Wentworth (A)67982003
87Parkes (A)146114153
88Bourke (A)2633723
89Kyogle (A)89392443
90Mid-Western Regional (A)240796523
91Cowra (A)124643313
92Central Darling (A)1831483
93Mid-Coast (A)9030223623
94Broken Hill (C)177094463
95Murray River (A)116822923
96Narrandera (A)58531443
97Tenterfield (A)66241592
98Nambucca (A)192104562
99Bland (A)59581382
100Kempsey (A)288866472
101Gunnedah (A)122142732
102Bogan (A)2689602
103Temora (A)61101342
104Lachlan (A)61951332
105Clarence Valley (A)5067010822
106Cabonne (A)133912812
107Forbes (A)95892012
108Glen Innes Severn (A)88321842
109Warren (A)2730562
110Gundagai (A)1114422722
111Warrumbungle Shire (A)93801912
112Greater Hume Shire (A)103572092
113Gilgandra (A)4234842
114Federation (A)122792392
115Cessnock (C)5556110562
116Narrabri (A)130832272
117Richmond Valley (A)228053912
118Uralla (A)6049982
119Blayney (A)72591172
120Upper Lachlan Shire (A)76941212
121Lockhart (A)3121431
122Weddin (A)3660501
123Coonamble (A)3919491
124Walcha (A)3090381
125Narromine (A)6444771
126Coolamon (A)4313511
127Gwydir (A)5255601
128Liverpool Plains (A)7689841
129Dungog (A)8976760

Note: Unincorporated NSW, No usual address (NSW) and Migratory – Offshore – Shipping (NSW).

NSW is home to over 216,000 people who identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander more than any other Australian state or territory. This is an increase of 25% since the 2011 Census. Seven in 10 of the community (68%) live outside greater Sydney.

 0-45-1415-2425-4445-6465+Total
Males13006253392110924496180415379107368
Females11958239712021726141203236200108809
Total249564931541327506533835411576216176

As always, get in touch if you have any questions on how to reach multicultural audiences.

Please read other IDENTITY posts for data from the 2016 Census on:

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Credit: Image courtesy of SBS.