Notes on the data: Birthplace & Non-English speaking residents

People born in predominantly non-English speaking countries resident in Australia for five years or less, 2011


Policy context:  People born in predominantly non-English speaking countries and who have been in Australia for less than five years can face a number of difficulties. For many who arrive without proficiency in English, the combination of economic struggle with adjustment to a new language and a new cultural milieu can be expected to give rise to considerable stresses. Although a relatively small group, they also pose special challenges for deliverers of health, welfare and other community services [1]. This community is also not a homogeneous group, even though there are common experiences including those relating to migration and dislocation. There is great diversity in language, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, education and age structure [2].

Reflecting this trend, the proportion of migrants born in Asia increased from 24% of the overseas-born population in 2001 to 33% in 2011 [2]. The proportion of the overseas-born population arriving from countries outside Europe and Asia has also increased.


  1. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW). Australia's welfare, 2011. (AIHW Cat. no. AUS 142). Canberra: AIHW; 2011.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Cultural diversity in Australia - Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012-2013. (ABS Cat. no. 2071.0). Canberra: ABS; 2012.

Notes:  The data comprise people born in predominantly non-English speaking countries arriving from 2007 to 2011. The year 2011 is the period 1 January 2011 to 9 August 2011 (Census Night), therefore, the data presented represent a total time of approximately 4 years and 7 months.

'Predominantly non-English speaking countries' comprise all but the following overseas countries, designated as 'English speaking': Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The data exclude the 5.6% of the population who did not state their country of birth, as well as the 4.5% of people born overseas who did not state their year of arrival. (The proportions excluded were calculated based on the Australian data.)


Numerator:  People born in predominantly non-English speaking countries, and resident in Australia for less than five years


Denominator:  Total population


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census 2011 data.


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