This post is part of the On the Move blog series. These posts have been prepared by our Economic Analysis Unit.
How many places of birth are represented in Australia? Which local government areas (LGAs) have a majority of their residents born overseas? What language could we all be speaking in 2021? All of these questions and more can be answered with the help of a recently released series of publications called The People of Australia (PoA).
Prepared under the auspices of the former RAC (Research Advisory Committee), the PoA series have been released every five years since 2003. They are based on data from the most recent Census and provide detailed overviews of Australia’s population at the national, state and LGA levels. Birthplace, language, religion and citizenship are all covered. With several thousand graphs, tables and maps spread across eleven volumes covering over 4000 pages in total, there is something in here for everyone!
For example, did you know there are 252 distinct places of birth represented in the Australian population? Australia takes out top spot accounting for 15 million of us, while England with 900 000 and New Zealand with 483 000 make up the top three. At the other end of the list Sao Tome and Principe (252nd on the list) has contributed 11 persons.
The PoA can also reveal where all these immigrants live. As detailed in Figure 1, although they are scattered across Australia, of the nearly 600 LGAs only six can claim to have a majority of their population born overseas (See Figure 1).
On the issue of languages, PoA reveals that Mandarin is the most common language spoken at home (other than English or Indigenous languages) accounting for more than 1.5 per cent of the population. Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek and Vietnamese are the only other languages accounting for more than 1 per cent each. This might all change however if the growth of the Seychelles Creole language keeps up. As the PoA highlights (see Figure 2), between the 2006 and 2011 Census’ the number of speakers of this language increased nearly 3 800 per cent. Although total numbers remain small (702 in 2011 up from 18 in 2006) if this rate of growth keeps up all of us will be speaking Seychelles Creole well before the 2021 Census!