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Punjabi is the most spoken language among India-born Australians

SBS Punjabi tells you which states do Punjabi speakers reside in Australia Source: SBS Punjabi

Punjabi is now the most-spoken language among India-born people living in Australia.

According to Census 2016 data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a total of 455, 385 people born in India currently reside in Australia. This corresponds to an increase of 54 per cent of India-born people in Australia, over the past five years.

 2.1 per cent of Australia’s population was born in India, with India being the fifth most popular country of birth among all Australians.

Punjabi is the most common language spoken by people born in India, with over 22 per cent of all India-born Australians stating in Census 2016 that they speak Punjabi at home.

Hindi, Malayalam and Gujarati are second, third and fourth in this list of Indian-born speakers in Australia, according to the ABS.

 A total of 102,661 India born people identified  Punjabi as their mother tongue, making Punjabi the most common language spoken by Australians born in India. With a total of 132,000 Punjabi speakers in Australia, almost four in five (over 78 per cent) were born in India.  

The second most common language spoken by Australians born in India is Hindi, with 98,623 declaring in Census 2016 that they were born in India and speak Hindi at home. This corresponds to 62.4 per cent Hindi speakers being born in India, and more than one in five ( 21.4 percent) born in Fiji.

Just over 40,000 or 76.6 percent of Malayalam speakers in Australia were born in India, whilst 38,256 migrants said they spoke Gujarati at home, making it the fourth-most spoken language among Indian Australians.

In the past decade, the Punjabi population of Australia has increased five-fold, with a majority of them choosing Victoria as their state of choice in Australia.

Analysing the six Indian subcontinental languages available via ABS Quick Stats, Punjabi is the most spoken language of them all in Victoria. According the Census 2016 data, 31,523 males and 24,645 females in Victoria, speak Punjabi.

Indian subcontinental languages spoke in Victoria
Indian subcontinental languages spoke in Victoria, according to Census 2016
SBS Punjabi

In a briefing provided by the Australian Buruea of Statistics on Thursday July 7, Punjabi is now the seventh most spoken language in Melbourne, after English. It is spoken by 1.2% of Melbourne's population, and is the most popular Indian sub-continental language, followed by Hindi and Sinhalese.

 

Punjabi language is the seventh most language spoken in Melbourne, after English
Punjabi language is the seventh most language spoken in Melbourne, after English
ABS

Apart from Victoria, two more states of Australia have the larger proportion of Punjabi speakers, as compared to other South Asian  / Indian languages. One of them is Western Australia, where 12,223 Punjabis reside, 6,862 being male and 5,537 being female Punjabi speakers. 

Indian subcontinental languages spoken in WA, as stated in ABS Quick Stats
Indian subcontinental languages spoken in WA, as stated in ABS Quick Stats
SBS Punjabi

South Australia is the third state, where Punjabi speakers outnumber other Indian subcontinental language groups. A total of 9,306 Punjabis reside there, of which 5,031 are male and 4,273 are female. 

Comparison of six subcontinental languages spoken in SA, as revealed in Census 2016
Comparison of six subcontinental languages spoken in SA, as revealed in Census 2016
SBS Punjabi

In Queensland, the number of Punjabi and Hindi speakers have almost the same proportion, with a margin of less than 200 speakers between the two major subcontinental languages of the state. Whilst there are 18,163 Hindi speakers in the state, there are 17,991 Punjabi speakers, followed by 2,564 Tamil speakers.

Data for six Indian subcontinental languages spoken in Queensland
Data for six Indian subcontinental languages spoken in Queensland
SBS Punjabi

South Australia has 9,306 registered Punjabi speakers, Northern Territory has 670 and Tasmania has 489.

The number of Punjabi speakers in each state and territory of Australia
The number of Punjabi speakers in each state and territory of Australia
ABS

Overall though, Hindi remains the most popular Indian subcontinental language spoken in Australia, with a majority of its speakers residing in New South Wales. In NSW alone, there are are 67,034 Hindi speakers making it the most commonly spoken subcontinental language, followed by Punjabi with 33,435 speakers, Bengali with 31,687 speakers, and Urdu and Tamil - which both have just under 30,000 speakers in NSW. It must be noted the 40 per cent of Hindus of Australia also reside in NSW.

Map charting the number of Hindus in Australia, as per Census 2016
Map charting the number of Hindus in Australia, as per Census 2016
SBS Punjabi

Please note: All the graphs and pie charts above were collated from the Quick Stats data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for Census 2016, which gave information about six subcontinental languages - Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Sinhalese. Apart from these, Gujarati and Malayalam are the most popular Indian subcontinental languages spoken in Australia. There are 52,888 Gujarati speakers in Australia (18,873 in NSW and 15,059 in Victoria), and there are 53,206 Malayalam speakers in Australia (13,881 in NSW and 16,950 in Victoria).

 To explore more details about any language community in Australia, go to http://www.sbs.com.au/news/census-explorer

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