Demographic information are widely used in the surveys especially the census so that they can help the government to prepare and deal with issues and demands of growth in population Bouma (2016). Collecting this kind of data will bring fairness in the distribution of the resources depending on the tastes as in the generations of the day. Australia as a country has its majority speaking English only then followed by other languages. The latest census report by the (ABS, 2016) stated that apart from English, other languages that were spoken in Australia were Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese and Vietnamese among other languages. Arabic was spoken in the country by a total population of 287,174 people which was represented by 1.3% of the entire Australian population, this is according to (ABS Census, 2011). Growth has been observed in population of Arabic speakers in the past few years since the last census.
A larger proportion of population of Arabic speakers who were resident in Australia were from Middle East countries while others were Australian origin and the rest were from west and North Africa. 4.4% of the overseas born Australians were Arabic speakers as reported by ABS (2016). Lebanon origin took the largest proportion of the Arabic speakers as represented by 27.5% in Victoria and 30.9% in the entire Arabic speakers in the country. Most Egyptians whose first language was Arabic resided in Victoria as represented by 10.9% against 7.5% who were within Australia. Iraq origins were represented by 7.9% in Victoria while their population in Australia was represented by 5.2%, Kuwait origin residents in Victoria was represented 1.6% in Victoria whereas they were represented by 1.0% of the entire Australian population. The Sudan migrants in Victoria was represented by 1.7% who were also Arabic speakers and their entire population in Australia was represented by 1.9%. Arabic was one of the highly spoken language among the non-English speaking groups as it has increased since the previous years by 18% in Australia and 13.5% increase in Victoria.
The census showed that the Australians who were Muslim, the majority of around one third were from Victoria. Not all the Arabic speakers were Muslim as only 42.8% Lebanon origin Arabic speakers were Muslim while the remaining proportion 57.2% were in other religions, the Iran origin Arabic speakers who were in Islam were represented by 40.1% while others were either in other religions or no religion. The country has in the recent past recorded low Lebanese who were Muslim as immigrants (i.e. 550 Islamic Lebanese) in a year. ABS reported that the rise in the Islamic community would not be as a result of immigration of the Muslim to the country but from birth of the Muslim residents in the country.
Female gender was highly populated in Victoria than their male counterpart with 50.9% and 49.1% respectively, this was according to ABS census (2016). Though the female gender percentage was higher than that of male gender, the difference was by a small margin i.e. (1.8%). The population comprised of the people of all the origin including non-Arabic speakers. The male Arabic speaker in the country were represented by 50.8% of the total Arabic speaker in the country against 49.2% that of the female Arabic speakers in the country. This shows that there were more male Arabic speakers than the female Arabic speakers in Australia.
The arrival of the Arabic speaking people especially from middle east Lebanon for that matter have been stable since 1992 and this was as a result of Australian government ease entry restriction rules during the outbreak of civil war back in 1975, this was as reported by Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s (DIAC’s) Community Information Summary for Lebanon. Gulf war in Iraq had made the number of the people born in Iraq rising since 1991 which had been seen to range from 825 to 2,594 people in each year.
Generally, the Arabic speakers’ immigrants had low level of education qualifications as this can be confirmed by a whopping 55.9 % of the entire Arabic speaker’s population in Australia. Being that most of the Arabic speakers were from Lebanon, Lebanese with lower level of academic qualification was represented by 34.2% while the other from the rest of the world were represented by 43.2%, ABS (2016).
Arabic speakers were scattered all over the states of Australia. Victoria being one of the states with the highest population (i.e. 56,000) of arabic speakers, the population was found to have spread in places like Banyule, Brimbank, Casey,Darebin, Hobson Bay, Maribyong, Yarra etc. in Victoria.
From the census results, we can therefore conclude that not all the Arabic speakers were Muslims. This was confirmed by the number of Lebanese Arabic speakers immigrating to the country who were not Muslims being represented by 57.2%. Further, the results confirmed that the rise in Islamic community was as a result of birth by the Muslim residents but not immigration as it might be thought. Additionally, it can as well be concluded that most of the Arabic speakers were not highly educated as the low education level was registered to 55.9% amongst them. The Arabic speaking community was represented by 1.4% of the entire population in Australia.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2016), Census of Population and Housing.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2011), Census of Population and Housing.
Bouma, G. D. (2016). The role of demographic and socio-cultural factors in Australia’s successful multicultural society: How Australia is not Europe. Journal of Sociology, 52(4), 759-771.
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