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Understanding refugee communities

Who are our refugee communities?

‘Refugees’ describes the situation of people, but it doesn’t define who they are. Australia has many different refugee communities. Whether you are looking to learn more about them, you have a friend from that community, or you are working with or supporting refugees, you can find out much more about them using the information here.


Settlement data

The Department of Social Services maintains statistics on the people coming to Australia. Unfortunately, they have recently decommissioned their excellent Settlement Reporting Facility, which made it easy to search for information about where refugees came from, their visa category, their local government area and State, and key demographic statistics. However, their most requested data is now on

The census

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ QuickStats series presents key themes from the Census relating to persons, families and dwellings for people born in a selected range of countries. Users can select from the top 53 countries of birth for geographic areas ranging from Australia, States and Territories to Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and Rest of State.

Go to QuickStats

Summaries by States

The Victorian Government has produced a report from the 2016 census data on the key cultural and language diversity indicators for Victoria’s population. It includes country of birth (birthplace), ancestry, language spoken at home and religion by Local Government Areas (LGA).

Population Diversity in Local Councils

The Queensland Government has produced snapshot figures in a flyer for Queensland.

Multicultrual Diversity Figures

The Western Australian Government has produced an interactive tool, Diversity WA, which you can search to find out more key information about diversity in WA in a graphical way.

Go to Diversity WA

Community profiles have also been produced for some South Australian local government areas.

Community profiles

If you want to know more about where people from, there are some excellent resources out there.

SBS Cultural Atlas

This excellent resource allows you to explore key aspects of a community’s culture, using a friendly and easy interface. It supplements a cultural competency course that can also be taken online.

The Cultural Atlas is an online atlas including over fifty countries representing Australia’s largest migrant populations. It provides a comprehensive guide to each country, describing the dominant culture of each country and their behaviour in relation to Australian norms. It aims to inform and educate the public in cross-cultural attitudes, practices, norms, behaviours and communications.

Each country page will also show the country’s flag, its location on the world map, and a list of sources. You can also find quick statistics for each country (for example, population, languages, religions) and the country’s population in Australia (ancestry, average age, language spoken at home etc.).

Read the Cultural Atlas

State community profiles

Victorian 2016 Census Community profiles

NT Community Profiles

Refugee community organisations

If you would like to get in contact with a community organisation representing people from certain refugee backgrounds, you can use the following resources in your State or Territory:

Victorian multicultural community directory

Queensland multicultural resource directory

SA community directory

Tasmania: Multicultural Council of Tasmania members

WA Government: List of community associations

NT Government

ACT community directory

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