Key Statistics From The 2016 Australian Census

Key Statistics From The 2016 Australian Census

Key multicultural stats from the 2016 Census June 27 release.

The Census is the most comprehensive research into diverse communities in Australia. IDENTITY, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency, has summarised key multicultural stats from the June release of the 2016 Census below, including:

  • Top languages spoken in Australia, other than English.
  • Top 35 languages ranked by low English proficiency.
  • Top 50 countries of birth in Australia.
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Status by Age and Gender.

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Top languages spoken in Australia (other than English).

4.9m people speak a language other than English in Australia according to the 2016 Census. That’s an increase of 1m since the last Census in 2011. Mandarin is now our most spoken language other than English, by a long way – almost double the next language group, Arabic.

top 5 languages spoken in Australia 2016 census

All languages recorded in the Census ranked by total Australian population. To sort by a State or Territory, click on the arrow pointers at the top of the corresponding column. For example, to find the top languages spoken in NSW, click on the arrow pointer to the right of the NSW column. For top languages spoken in Victoria, click on the pointer on the right of VIC.

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Note, English not included, Other Territories not included.

Top 35 Languages Spoken at Home ranked by Low English Proficiency.

To sort by other variables, please click on the arrow pointers at the top of the desired variable column.

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Note: top 35 language groups shown. Total all non-English includes all languages other than English.

Top 50 Countries of Birth by Age.

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Note: Total All Countries include all countries of birth (not just the top 50).

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Status by Age and Gender.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics will be making more data available via Table Builder next week. And even more data will be released in October.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or email us from the contact page!

Top 10 Languages Spoken in Australia – 2016 Census

Top 10 Languages Spoken in Australia – 2016 Census

The top languages spoken in Australia confirms our changing diversity.

The Australian population as at the 2016 Census was 23.4m people, compared to 21.5m in 2011, up 8.8%.  The 2016 Census data released today confirms the changing face of Australia. Italian, is now the fifth most spoken language, other than English. It was number one at the 2006 Census and number two in 2011. 

One in five Australians now speak a language other than English at home.

Growth in Asian and Indian languages are obvious. The most dramatic is Mandarin, now almost double the next largest language group, Arabic. Mandarin has grown by over 170% in the decade to 2016. The total number of Chinese speakers (Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu and others) now exceed 927,000 (our earlier prediction of 1m was pretty close!).

Top 10 Languages Australia 2016 Census

The growth is even more obvious when we graphed the growth (or decline) of the top 5 languages spoken in Australia.

Top 5 languages spoken in Australia

Languages other than English spoken at home, 2016 Census.

You’ll hear dramatic stats about the number of people born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. This is potentially misleading because it includes those born in the UK, NZ, USA and other English speaking countries.

If you’re looking at targeting people from different cultures who might speak other languages then the table below might be more relevant.

Low English proficiency Australia

The number of people who speak a language other than English at home has increased by almost 1 million to 4.9m, which is 20.8% of the Australian population. The number of people with low English proficiency has also jumped to almost 820,000.

A Corporate Cultural And Food Experience

A Corporate Cultural And Food Experience

You can rack up big bucks on corporate entertainment, or stand out from the crowd and give them an rich and interesting cultural experience. IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency has a suggestion…

Last year a PwC report found report found that 82.7% of people who work in media and entertainment are monolingual and speak only English at home. Most live in Sydney and are clustered round the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs with the top 10 suburbs shown below:

  • North Bondi
  • Newtown/Camperdown/Darlington
  • Leichhardt/Annandale
  • Surry Hills
  • Potts Point
  • Bondi/Tamarama/Bronte
  • Coogee/Clovelly
  • Paddington
  • Randwick
  • Redfern/Chippendale

This is dramatically different from the demographic make up of Sydney, where one in three speaks a language other than English at home (2011 Census, ABS). According to ThinkTV research released this month, “media and advertising types are living in a bubble called AdLand“.

Cabramatta main street

John street, Cabramatta

Last year, a media agency contacted IDENTITY Communications to run a food tour for their team of 20 people. The team has done just about everything; fine dining with lots of booze and other typical corporate bonding activities. Encouragingly, the group director really wanted his team to experience cultures and geographies outside of the inner city, eastern suburbs bubble. We jumped at the chance. The half day adventure was a roaring culinary and cultural success which is still talked about today.

While the cultural diversity of clients is probably more balanced than AdLand, a food tour of Sydney’s diverse suburbs can also be an eye-opener, and help clients and agencies understand their customers. It makes an imaginative and interesting change from the usual fine dining and boozing.

Merryland Taste Food Tours

As I discovered recently during a Merrylands experience run by Taste Food Tours, a three hour cultural and food tour costs less than a typical three course fine dining experience. Not only do you feel richer for the experience, the walking and talking burned more calories than sitting on plush chairs being looked after by uber cool waiters.

Merrylands was part of the Holroyd Council before it merged recently with Auburn to become Cumberland Council. Just over half of the residents of Holroyd Council spoke a language other than English according to the 2011 Census. The area is home to a sizeable number of migrants from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, China and India. This Taste Food tour was called From Afghanistan to Persia, an evening experience coinciding with Ramadan.

Afghan mantu Merrylands

Afghan Mantu, Bahar Restaurant, Merrylands

Seven stops, seven different food experiences and an opportunity to talk with the hard working, humble owners of these amazing eateries. If you have a sweet tooth, check out Asal Sweet for their Persian cakes and pastries or Shiraz for the alluringly named dessert, rice in rose water and saffron ice cream. Love dumplings? Mantu (above) is a must-try; the skin is thick and firm, inside it’s a mixture of lamb mince, onion and spices. They’re served with a sauce made of yellow split peas, tomato, onion, garlic. Yogurt is also poured over the top. If you love your meat, Kebab Hojat is your stop – the charcoal grill will make your mouth water (below).

Kebab Hojak Merrylands

Kebab Hojat, Merrylands

Photos and videos used are courtesy of noodlies, Sydney food blog. You can read more about Taste’s Afghanistan to Persia food tour at noodlies.

If you’re looking for a different and interesting experience than the usual, pricey fine diner – a cultural food tour might tick all the boxes.

UPDATE: I did Taste Food Tour’s Ramadan Night Markets in Lakemba last night. It was amazing, check out the video below.

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Credit: This amazing Merrylands experience was thanks to Taste Food Tours (they do heaps of tours all over Sydney).

NITV And IPG Mediabrands Announce Unique Indigenous Partnership

NITV And IPG Mediabrands Announce Unique Indigenous Partnership

Justified criticism about the lack of diversity is good. We think providing positive solutions is better. 

Rightly, the lack of diversity in the Australian media and advertising industry have been pointed out by organisations and individuals; not enough diversity on our screens, in our TV commercials and in the staff that creative and media agencies hire. For decades, multicultural marketing agencies have highlighted the benefits of multicultural marketing. The industry has long argued that advertisers should invest more advertising budget to multicultural or “ethnic” marketing.

NITV IPG Mediabrands Partnership

L-R: Wei Ng (IDENTITY Communications), Mark Ella (NITV), Danny Bass (IPG Mediabrands), Glenn Hamilton (NITV), Thang Ngo (IDENTITY Communications).

IDENTITY Communications are hugely proud to lead an IPG Mediabrands-wide initiative aimed at increasing investment in Indigenous media as well as improving employment opportunities Indigenous Australians. The NITV and IPG Mediabrands partnership announced this week is a first in Australia. The partnership is supported and sponsored by Danny Bass, IPG Mediabrands CEO.

We’re hugely proud to play a role that takes the debate beyond debate and criticism, to providing one solution to this complex issue. Details of the Indigenous partnership between NITV and IPG Mediabrands are contained in the media release below.

IDENTITY will be announcing other Australian first multicultural marketing initiatives in coming months.



May 23, 2017: Australia’s National Indigenous Television network (NITV) and IPG Mediabrands have announced a unique partnership to raise awareness of the potential of Indigenous audiences within IPG Mediabrands’ client base. The partnership aims to increase investment from Mediabrands on NITV to help support more production of Indigenous content on the network.

NITV is a free-to-air channel led by and focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The channel commissions or acquires content primarily from the Indigenous production sector. It was founded in 2007, then launched as part of SBS in 2012 and currently reaches more than two million unique viewers a month. It is available in 95% of Australian homes.

The agreement is a first in Australia. NITV will help Mediabrands businesses develop a greater understanding of Indigenous communities and help develop insights, strategies and connections for client teams. Mediabrands will help NITV unlock greater investment into Indigenous media and create opportunities for improved representation across the marketing industry.

NITV Executive, Mark Ella said, “Australia’s Indigenous audience are sometimes stereotyped by advertisers who overlook the rich diversity of our people. This partnership will help us to understand what clients are looking for and bring the potential of our audiences to Mediabrands’ clients in an authentic way. It is a true partnership that offers both sides unique benefits.”

Danny Bass, CEO of IPG Mediabrands Australia, said there was both a need and a responsibility for the Media Industry to be far more inclusive of Indigenous people and minorities. “Our industry is a major contributor to helping shape the culture of Australia and that culture has been shaped in great part by our Indigenous People. The partnership with NITV is a two-way lens for brands and Indigenous people to influence each other in the digital world. More broadly, Mediabrands is fully committed to providing roles for Indigenous people within our business.”

At IPG Mediabrands the partnership with NITV will be led by the group’s multicultural division, IDENTITYCommunications. Thang Ngo, Managing Director of IDENTITY Communications, said, “Diversity and representation are topical issues in the industry. This partnership moves beyond debate and criticism to solutions that aim to make a tangible difference.”

The partnership allows for joint internship programs and NITV support in development of an IPG Mediabrands Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The partnership is effective immediately.


5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

IDENTITY Communications are predicting the multicultural marketing industry in Australia will change dramatically in 2017.  Here’s why.

We’re not talking about terminology and semantics which have changed over time such as NESB (non-English speaking background) and LOTE (languages other than English) being replaced by CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse), refugee with asylum seeker, ethnic marketing with multicultural marketing

Beyond descriptors, we believe there are five key trends in multicultural marketing that will change the industry forever. And it will happen in 2017.

Multicultural Marketing

1. Census 2016
The multicultural industry relies on Census data to quantify the size of the opportunity. Size and English language proficiency are two data points referenced frequently by multicultural agencies. While Census 2016 isn’t in itself a trend – it’s the trend in the data that will make a big splash.

We predict when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the full 2016 Census data on 27 June, the multicultural opportunity will be more compelling than ever before. We’re predicting it will show the Chinese speaking community in Australia will pass 1 million people for the first time and that Mandarin, followed by Cantonese, will be the two most spoken languages in Australia (other than English). Our modelling suggests Australia’s population will increase by 11% between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, however, the China-born population will increase by 90% during the same period.

2. Data, Insights & Strategy
While Census 2016 will help multicultural marketing agencies get in front of the client, the general lack of CALD data and insights to inform strategy will continue to be a major set-back. Roy Morgan, with relatively small migrant sample sizes, is of limited help. There are still no independent media consumption data sources for in-language print, radio and TV (most print publications are not audited) and consumer insight research is severely lacking for CALD audiences.

Similarly, it’s not enough to respond to a client brief with a media schedule. Those days are over. Clients expect data, insights and strategic thinking to inform the agency’s recommendations.

Multicultural marketing is more than translation and agencies that invest in data, insights and build up their strategic offering will gain a significant competitive advantage.

3. Collaboration & Consolidation
Multicultural agencies have tended to work independently of ‘mainstream’ media and creative agencies. That’s another agency in addition to media, creative, digital, PR, social and search agencies for a time-poor client to manage. There’s been a trend back to the full service agency model, and we believe it will impact the multicultural marketing sector. Multicultural agencies that understand how mainstream agencies work and can collaborate seamlessly, will reap the rewards. Similarly multicultural agencies that are part of a larger mainstream marketing communications group will benefit by being a part of that group’s comprehensive offering.

4. Shift from Traditional Media
The shift from in-language traditional media to digital, social and mobile is on. It’s no longer enough to spend the bulk of a client’s budget on ethnic print or radio channels. And increasingly, it’s not enough to recommend a couple of Facebook and WeChat posts as add-on. Programmatic, data, retargeting, building ‘look alike’ audiences, community management, influencer marketing, search and SEO are expertise that will distinguish successful multicultural marketing agencies from the also-rans.

5. Multicultural is dated?
Just as multicultural replaced ethnic, CALD replaced NESB, there’s an argument that multicultural is an out-dated concept. Supporters of the change argue that multicultural often refers to different ethnic backgrounds, but if we’re talking about embracing diversity what about sexual orientation, indigenous, age, ability, etc. In California, Latinos have outnumbered Whites since 2015 – what’s multicultural and what’s mainstream in this context? Rather than differentiating with multicultural, should we not look at cultural marketing that recognises similarities and differences? Some say polyculturalism should replace multiculturalism.

Whatever term we’ll end up using in the future, the undeniable truth is that cultural diversity is here to stay and clients are looking to their agencies for effective strategies to reach this valuable and growing market.

That’s our view. Do you agree? Are there any other trends in multicultural marketing that you’ve picked up? We’d love to hear your thoughts.