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Australia
Language spoken at home

In Australia, 18% of people spoke a language other than English at home in 2011.

Australia's language statistics show the proportion of the population who speak a language at home other than English. They indicate how culturally diverse a population is and the degree to which different ethnic groups and nationalities are retaining their language.

Australia's language statistics should be analysed in conjunction with Country of Birth and Proficiency in English to assist in identifying specific cultural and ethnic groups in the area and the services required by the multicultural community.

Derived from the Census question:

'Does the person speak a language other than English at home?'

Total population

Language spoken at home - Ranked by size
Australia - (Usual residence)20112006Change
Language (excludes English)Number%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2011
Mandarin336,1781.62.3220,6041.11.6+115,574
Italian299,8291.41.8316,8941.62.1-17,065
Arabic287,1711.32.0243,6611.21.9+43,510
Cantonese263,5381.21.8244,5571.21.8+18,981
Greek252,2111.21.7252,2261.31.9-15
Vietnamese233,3881.11.6194,8541.01.5+38,534
Filipino/Tagalog136,8460.60.892,3270.50.6+44,519
Spanish117,4930.50.798,0020.50.7+19,491
Hindi111,3490.50.770,0060.40.5+41,343
German80,3660.40.475,6360.40.4+4,730
Korean79,7840.40.554,6240.30.4+25,160
Punjabi71,2310.30.523,1630.10.2+48,068
Macedonian68,8430.30.467,8330.30.4+1,010
Persian/Dari62,3400.30.437,1540.20.3+25,186
Australian Indigenous Languages61,7490.30.055,6990.30.0+6,050
Croatian61,5450.30.463,6170.30.4-2,072
Turkish59,6250.30.453,8580.30.4+5,767
French57,7410.30.343,2160.20.3+14,525
Indonesian55,8610.30.442,0370.20.3+13,824
Serbian55,1140.30.352,5300.30.4+2,584
Polish50,6960.20.353,3900.30.4-2,694
Tamil50,1450.20.332,7040.20.2+17,441
Sinhalese48,1920.20.329,0560.10.2+19,136
Russian44,0540.20.336,5030.20.3+7,551
Japanese43,6900.20.235,1110.20.2+8,579
Dutch37,2470.20.236,1850.20.2+1,062
Urdu36,8350.20.219,2890.10.1+17,546
Thai36,6650.20.223,6430.10.2+13,022
Samoan36,5740.20.228,5280.10.2+8,046
Bengali35,6470.20.220,2200.10.1+15,427
Afrikaans35,0270.20.216,8090.10.1+18,218
Maltese34,3980.20.236,5180.20.3-2,120
Gujarati34,2100.20.211,8730.10.1+22,337
Portuguese33,3480.20.225,7770.10.2+7,571
Assyrian/Aramaic31,3170.10.223,5220.10.2+7,795
Khmer29,5180.10.224,7100.10.2+4,808
Nepali27,1560.10.24,6540.00.0+22,502
Malayalam25,1080.10.27,0890.00.1+18,019
Chinese, nfd23,7920.10.211,6670.10.1+12,125
Non-verbal so described21,9070.10.127,0010.10.2-5,094
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Excludes languages with fewer than 20 people speaking them at home, or less than 0.1% of the total population.

Language spoken at home - Summary
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
Language summaryNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2011
Speaks English only16,508,34776.870.415,581,33478.572.3+927,013
Non-English total3,911,72018.224.73,146,18015.821.8+765,540
Not stated1,084,6235.04.91,127,7585.75.9-43,135

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Language spoken at home, 2011
Language spoken at home, 2011 Mandarin, Greater Capital Cities: 2.3% Italian, Greater Capital Cities: 1.8% Arabic, Greater Capital Cities: 2.0% Cantonese, Greater Capital Cities: 1.8% Greek, Greater Capital Cities: 1.7% Vietnamese, Greater Capital Cities: 1.6% Filipino/Tagalog, Greater Capital Cities: 0.8% Spanish, Greater Capital Cities: 0.7% Hindi, Greater Capital Cities: 0.7% German, Greater Capital Cities: 0.4% Mandarin, Australia: 1.6% Italian, Australia: 1.4% Arabic, Australia: 1.3% Cantonese, Australia: 1.2% Greek, Australia: 1.2% Vietnamese, Australia: 1.1% Filipino/Tagalog, Australia: 0.6% Spanish, Australia: 0.5% Hindi, Australia: 0.5% German, Australia: 0.4%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in language spoken at home, 2006 to 2011
Change in language spoken at home, 2006 to 2011 Mandarin, Australia: +115,574 Italian, Australia: -17,065 Arabic, Australia: +43,510 Cantonese, Australia: +18,981 Greek, Australia: -15 Vietnamese, Australia: +38,534 Filipino/Tagalog, Australia: +44,519 Spanish, Australia: +19,491 Hindi, Australia: +41,343 German, Australia: +4,730
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the language spoken at home by the population of Australia in 2011 compared to Greater Capital Cities shows that there was a larger proportion of people who spoke English only, and a smaller proportion of those speaking a non-English language (either exclusively, or in addition to English).

Overall, 76.8% of the population spoke English only, and 18.2% spoke a non-English language, compared with 70.4% and 24.7% respectively for Greater Capital Cities.

The dominant language spoken at home, other than English, in Australia was Mandarin, with 1.6% of the population, or 336,178 people speaking this language at home.

There were no major differences between Australia and Greater Capital Cities in 2011.

Emerging groups

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of people who spoke a language other than English at home increased by 765,540 or 24.3%, and the number of people who spoke English only increased by 927,013 or 5.9%.

The largest changes in the spoken languages of the population in Australia between 2006 and 2011 were for those speaking:

  • Mandarin (+115,574 persons)
  • Punjabi (+48,068 persons)
  • Filipino/Tagalog (+44,519 persons)
  • Arabic (+43,510 persons)

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