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Greater Melbourne

Language spoken at home

In Greater Melbourne, 29% of people spoke a language other than English at home in 2011.

Greater Melbourne'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.

Greater Melbourne'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
Greater Melbourne - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
Language (excludes English)Number%Australia %Number%Australia %2006 to 2011
Greek113,4552.81.2114,1583.11.3-703
Italian112,6822.81.4120,3613.31.6-7,679
Mandarin100,6392.51.662,4391.71.1+38,200
Vietnamese85,1122.11.171,0781.91.0+14,034
Cantonese71,2401.81.265,6351.81.2+5,605
Arabic65,4321.61.353,7551.51.2+11,677
Hindi31,6170.80.517,6530.50.4+13,964
Turkish31,1990.80.327,8220.80.3+3,377
Punjabi29,5330.70.37,8050.20.1+21,728
Macedonian29,3840.70.329,0440.80.3+340
Filipino/Tagalog28,2860.70.620,2910.60.5+7,995
Spanish27,6260.70.523,3300.60.5+4,296
Sinhalese27,4330.70.216,7390.50.1+10,694
Croatian18,8490.50.319,6840.50.3-835
Maltese17,2130.40.218,0830.50.2-870
Tamil16,9410.40.210,7940.30.2+6,147
German16,2730.40.415,6590.40.4+614
Serbian16,2720.40.315,5620.40.3+710
Russian15,8430.40.213,7000.40.2+2,143
Polish15,1500.40.216,2960.40.3-1,146
French14,9410.40.311,0710.30.2+3,870
Persian/Dari14,7830.40.38,9110.20.2+5,872
Indonesian13,2880.30.310,0930.30.2+3,195
Khmer11,5890.30.19,8550.30.1+1,734
Urdu10,6900.30.25,0150.10.1+5,675
Korean10,0350.30.45,8020.20.3+4,233
Assyrian/Aramaic9,8420.20.17,0690.20.1+2,773
Gujarati9,0460.20.22,6130.10.1+6,433
Malayalam8,3880.20.12,7230.10.0+5,665
Japanese7,6950.20.25,8650.20.2+1,830
Samoan7,1890.20.25,2980.10.1+1,891
Telugu7,0440.20.13,0040.10.0+4,040
Dutch6,8650.20.26,7050.20.2+160
Thai6,7710.20.24,5670.10.1+2,204
Chinese, nfd6,7210.20.13,3210.10.1+3,400
Hungarian6,6280.20.17,0840.20.1-456
Bengali6,5260.20.23,6550.10.1+2,871
Albanian6,1390.20.05,4040.10.0+735
Bosnian5,8000.10.15,6430.20.1+157
Somali5,5730.10.04,2180.10.0+1,355
Hakka5,5000.10.04,8560.10.0+644
Non-verbal so described5,3020.10.16,0610.20.1-759
Min Nan (incl.Hokkien)5,2040.10.14,5140.10.1+690
Hebrew4,8710.10.03,8010.10.0+1,070
Romanian4,8480.10.14,3470.10.1+501
Portuguese4,7820.10.23,9340.10.1+848
Nepali4,3880.10.18200.00.0+3,568
Malay4,0140.10.12,5770.10.1+1,437
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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
Greater Melbourne - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
Language summaryNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2006 to 2011
Speaks English only2,652,58066.476.82,496,37568.578.5+156,205
Non-English total1,160,58029.018.2947,08826.015.8+213,492
Not stated184,5204.65.0202,3515.65.7-17,831

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 Greek, Australia: 1.2% Italian, Australia: 1.4% Mandarin, Australia: 1.6% Vietnamese, Australia: 1.1% Cantonese, Australia: 1.2% Arabic, Australia: 1.3% Hindi, Australia: 0.5% Turkish, Australia: 0.3% Punjabi, Australia: 0.3% Macedonian, Australia: 0.3% Greek, Greater Melbourne: 2.8% Italian, Greater Melbourne: 2.8% Mandarin, Greater Melbourne: 2.5% Vietnamese, Greater Melbourne: 2.1% Cantonese, Greater Melbourne: 1.8% Arabic, Greater Melbourne: 1.6% Hindi, Greater Melbourne: 0.8% Turkish, Greater Melbourne: 0.8% Punjabi, Greater Melbourne: 0.7% Macedonian, Greater Melbourne: 0.7%
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 Greek, Greater Melbourne: -703 Italian, Greater Melbourne: -7,679 Mandarin, Greater Melbourne: +38,200 Vietnamese, Greater Melbourne: +14,034 Cantonese, Greater Melbourne: +5,605 Arabic, Greater Melbourne: +11,677 Hindi, Greater Melbourne: +13,964 Turkish, Greater Melbourne: +3,377 Punjabi, Greater Melbourne: +21,728 Macedonian, Greater Melbourne: +340
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 Greater Melbourne in 2011 compared to Australia shows that there was a smaller proportion of people who spoke English only, and a larger proportion of those speaking a non-English language (either exclusively, or in addition to English).

Overall, 66.4% of the population spoke English only, and 29.0% spoke a non-English language, compared with 76.8% and 18.2% respectively for Australia.

The dominant language spoken at home, other than English, in Greater Melbourne was Greek, with 2.8% of the population, or 113,455 people speaking this language at home.

The major differences between the languages spoken at home for the population of Greater Melbourne and Australia in 2011 were:

  • A larger percentage speaking Greek at home (2.8% compared to 1.2%)
  • A larger percentage speaking Italian at home (2.8% compared to 1.4%)
  • A larger percentage speaking Vietnamese at home (2.1% compared to 1.1%)

Emerging groups

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of people who spoke a language other than English at home increased by 213,492 or 22.5%, and the number of people who spoke English only increased by 156,205 or 6.3%.

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

  • Mandarin (+38,200 persons)
  • Punjabi (+21,728 persons)
  • Vietnamese (+14,034 persons)
  • Hindi (+13,964 persons)

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