AustraliaCommunity profile
census-message-logo

We’re continuing to update these pages with data from the 2016 Census. Read more about our updates.

Skip to content

Western Australia

Language spoken at home

census-message-logo

This topic has been updated with 2016 Census data for all areas. What's this?

In Western Australia, 18% of people spoke a language other than English at home in 2016.

Western 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.

Western 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.

Please note: Due to changes in ABS rules around perturbation and additivity of data to protect the confidentiality of individuals in 2016, counts of individual language groups and totals derived from them may differ slightly from those published by the ABS. For more information see notes on data confidentiality.

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
Western Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Language (excludes English)Number%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Mandarin47,8401.92.528,0531.31.6+19,787
Italian29,4011.21.231,4581.41.4-2,057
Filipino/Tagalog25,5831.00.813,9760.60.6+11,607
Vietnamese20,2470.81.216,5500.71.1+3,697
Cantonese19,3390.81.218,0470.81.2+1,292
Afrikaans14,2080.60.210,9460.50.2+3,262
Arabic14,1320.61.411,9610.51.3+2,171
Punjabi12,2230.50.64,8330.20.3+7,390
Persian/Dari12,0850.50.56,4080.30.3+5,677
Indonesian10,9340.40.39,1080.40.3+1,826
Hindi10,7470.40.74,9570.20.5+5,790
Spanish10,4150.40.68,2190.40.5+2,196
Australian Indigenous Languages10,2510.40.39,6040.40.3+647
French9,5970.40.37,7080.30.3+1,889
German9,3200.40.38,7130.40.4+607
Malayalam7,5440.30.22,9160.10.1+4,628
Gujarati7,4350.30.24,8310.20.2+2,604
Korean7,1070.30.53,9420.20.4+3,165
Portuguese7,0700.30.24,9230.20.2+2,147
Tamil6,8880.30.34,0570.20.2+2,831
Thai6,4030.30.24,5610.20.2+1,842
Polish5,9780.20.26,0050.30.2-27
Malay5,8990.20.15,6740.30.1+225
Japanese5,8590.20.24,4110.20.2+1,448
Macedonian5,8490.20.35,8840.30.3-35
Croatian5,5560.20.25,9620.30.3-406
Urdu5,3680.20.32,3450.10.2+3,023
Dutch5,1000.20.15,5410.20.2-441
Serbian5,0380.20.25,0450.20.3-7
Sinhalese4,9390.20.32,9630.10.2+1,976
Burmese4,9040.20.14,3520.20.1+552
Greek4,7900.21.05,3200.21.2-530
Non-verbal so described3,6110.10.12,3250.10.1+1,286
Bengali3,2630.10.21,9090.10.2+1,354
Russian3,2180.10.22,0880.10.2+1,130
Shona3,2150.10.02,0450.10.0+1,170
Māori (New Zealand)2,8590.10.12,2400.10.0+619
Nepali2,8310.10.39520.00.1+1,879
Somali2,5280.10.11,7450.10.0+783
Min Nan (incl.Hokkien)2,4810.10.12,2060.10.1+275
Swahili2,3640.10.01,5320.10.0+832
Telugu2,1690.10.11,0760.00.1+1,093
Karen2,0670.10.01,2700.10.0+797
Bosnian1,8770.10.11,9030.10.1-26
Romanian1,8570.10.11,6360.10.1+221
Turkish1,7270.10.21,5170.10.3+210
Dinka1,6000.10.11,3520.10.0+248
Khmer1,5690.10.21,2880.10.1+281
Hungarian1,2320.00.11,1150.00.1+117
Chinese, nfd1,2110.00.11,7930.10.1-582
Marathi1,0660.00.16200.00.0+446
Swedish1,0090.00.08410.00.0+168
Samoan9430.00.26210.00.2+322
Auslan9410.00.06750.00.0+266
Amharic8900.00.05570.00.0+333
Serbo-Croatian Yugoslavian, so described8110.00.08080.00.0+3
Kannada8010.00.04260.00.0+375
Czech7830.00.06340.00.0+149
Danish7660.00.08120.00.0-46
Tigrinya7450.00.04980.00.0+247
Chin Haka7200.00.0750.00.0+645
Hebrew6230.00.05710.00.0+52
Ukrainian6170.00.04960.00.0+121
Hakka5950.00.05010.00.0+94
Pashto5460.00.03200.00.0+226
Kurdish5330.00.03980.00.0+135
Tongan4400.00.13030.00.1+137
Finnish4170.00.03330.00.0+84
Slovak4140.00.03760.00.0+38
Estonian4110.00.01930.00.0+218
Oromo4050.00.02570.00.0+148
Albanian4040.00.03440.00.0+60
Maltese3870.00.14370.00.2-50
Norwegian3700.00.04020.00.0-32
Fijian3700.00.02170.00.0+153
Bulgarian3300.00.02940.00.0+36
Māori (Cook Island)3080.00.02120.00.0+96
Nuer2890.00.02000.00.0+89
Lao2260.00.02060.00.0+20
Slovene2000.00.01870.00.0+13
Latvian1610.00.02340.00.0-73
Assyrian/Aramaic1450.00.21280.00.1+17
Tetum1170.00.0810.00.0+36
Armenian1030.00.0830.00.0+20
Indo-Aryan, nfd950.00.0350.00.0+60
Tswana900.00.0870.00.0+3
Fijian Hindustani520.00.0220.00.0+30
Wu510.00.0360.00.0+15
Tokelauan410.00.0370.00.0+4
Yiddish270.00.0250.00.0+2
Tibetan220.00.0190.00.0+3
Uygur100.00.0190.00.0-9
Show me more!

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
Western Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Language summaryNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Speaks English only1,861,04175.272.71,775,99679.376.8+85,045
Non-English total435,31417.620.8324,34814.518.2+110,966
Not stated178,0377.26.5138,1596.25.0+39,878

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Language spoken at home, 2016
Language spoken at home, 2016 Mandarin, Australia: 2.5% Italian, Australia: 1.2% Filipino/Tagalog, Australia: 0.8% Vietnamese, Australia: 1.2% Cantonese, Australia: 1.2% Afrikaans, Australia: 0.2% Arabic, Australia: 1.4% Punjabi, Australia: 0.6% Persian/Dari, Australia: 0.5% Indonesian, Australia: 0.3% Mandarin, Western Australia: 1.9% Italian, Western Australia: 1.2% Filipino/Tagalog, Western Australia: 1.0% Vietnamese, Western Australia: 0.8% Cantonese, Western Australia: 0.8% Afrikaans, Western Australia: 0.6% Arabic, Western Australia: 0.6% Punjabi, Western Australia: 0.5% Persian/Dari, Western Australia: 0.5% Indonesian, Western Australia: 0.4%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in language spoken at home, 2011 to 2016
Change in language spoken at home, 2011 to 2016 Mandarin, Western Australia: +19,787 Italian, Western Australia: -2,057 Filipino/Tagalog, Western Australia: +11,607 Vietnamese, Western Australia: +3,697 Cantonese, Western Australia: +1,292 Afrikaans, Western Australia: +3,262 Arabic, Western Australia: +2,171 Punjabi, Western Australia: +7,390 Persian/Dari, Western Australia: +5,677 Indonesian, Western Australia: +1,826
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016 (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 Western Australia in 2016 compared to Australia 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, 75.2% of the population spoke English only, and 17.6% spoke a non-English language, compared with 72.7% and 20.8% respectively for Australia.

The dominant language spoken at home, other than English, in Western Australia was Mandarin, with 1.9% of the population, or 47,840 people speaking this language at home.

There were no major differences between Western Australia and Australia in 2016.

Emerging groups

Between 2011 and 2016, the number of people who spoke a language other than English at home increased by 110,966 or 34.2%, and the number of people who spoke English only increased by 85,045 or 4.8%.

The largest changes in the spoken languages of the population in Western Australia between 2011 and 2016 were for those speaking:

  • Mandarin (+19,787 persons)
  • Filipino/Tagalog (+11,607 persons)
  • Punjabi (+7,390 persons)
  • Hindi (+5,790 persons)

To continue building your demographic story go to...

v17.11.15-1.0.1