What are the most common languages spoken in Australia?

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Top 10 Languages Spoken in Australia – 2016 Census

The Australian population as at the 2016 Census was 23.4 million people, with one in five Australians now speaking a language other than English at home. The top five are Mandarin (2.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.2%), Vietnamese  (1.2%) and Italian (1.2%).  A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.

Top 10 Languages Australia 2016 Census

Did you know?

  • Australia doesn’t have an official language.
  • Around 150 Aboriginal languages are spoken in Australia, half the number before the arrival of Europeans.
  • According to the 2016 Census, there were there 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes.

So what languages should I translate my brochure into?

It depends on the audience you are trying to reach. You can use the top ten as a guide, but here are a few others worth considering:

  • languages spoken by humanitarian entrants: Dari, Farsi (Persian), Burmese, Tamil,  Khmer, etc…
  • languages spoken by wide communities: Spanish, French, Portuguese,
  • newly emerging languages (spoken by recently arrived refugees, such as Hazaragi, Rohingya…). However, services for these languages may be scarce.