Languages Other Than English and Proficiency in Spoken English
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released information about languages other than English and proficiency in spoken English as revealed through the last Census. The information is based on the count of persons (place of usual residence) and shows the numbers of those with languages other than English and their level of proficiency in spoken English. The information is based on specific questions on the Census form that ask about languages spoken at home and whether those with other languages speak English well or not well.
Quality and Applicability
Place of usual residence counts are used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in all its standard data sets e.g. Basic Community Profile, Expanded Community Profile, Indigenous Profile and QuickStats.
Information about languages other than English and proficiency in spoken English can tell us a great deal about first generation migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds as well as the degree to which second (or more) generation migrants have retained the languages of their parents. Information about proficiency in spoken English is a particularly useful indicator of the need to tailor services/information to linguistically diverse groups – although it is noted that the Census does not collect information about proficiency in written English. All figures relate to the most common languages other than English reported on Census night, which means that smaller language groups are not individually known. Whilst languages other than English and proficiency in spoken English are important, they are best used in conjunction with other cultural diversity indicators such as countries of birth, emerging communities, and religion.
Information about languages other than English and proficiency in spoken English is available for local government areas, statistical local areas, suburbs, and collector districts. Figures are by sex.
Collector districts are the smallest spatial units under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification system used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Collector districts enable the collection and dissemination of Census data. Statistical local areas fit into the boundaries of incorporated bodies of local government (i.e. local government areas) when aggregated.
Information about languages other than English and proficiency in spoken English refers to 8 August 2006, the most recent Census.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics progressively released all standard data sets based on the 2006 Census during 2007.
Information about languages other than English is contained in the Basic Community Profile Cat. No. 2001.0 2006 Table B12. Information about proficiency in spoken English is contained in the Expanded Community Profile Cat. No. 2005.0 2006 Table X05. Select the 'Community Profiles' function to search for an area by name then open its Basic Community Profile or Expanded Community Profile.
Cost and Format
Australian Bureau of Statistics data sets are downloadable free of charge in excel spreadsheet format.
Additional Data Source(s)
Information about languages other than English (top 10) and proficiency in spoken English is available through profile.id, an online product designed to support local government planning and accessible through council websites. Go to your council website, search for community profiles, and click on 'Who Are We/Where Were We Born' and 'Who Are We/How Well do We Speak English' to generate reports based on the last Census. Reports are available for local government areas and smaller areas (e.g. suburbs). More on profile.id.
Information about languages other than English based on the last Census is available through the Victorian Local Governance Association online library of social statistics.