Acceptance of diversity


Theme: Cohesive
Dimension: Valuing diversity, belonging and culture


  • Proportion of people who used a language other than English at home
  • Proportion of people who agree or strongly agree accepting immigrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger

Why does this matter

Cultural diversity is one of the greatest assets of our multicultural society. It provides a cornerstone for continuous integration of migrants from diverse ethnic, linguistic and faith backgrounds into our social fabric. It also plays an important role in our prosperity, enriching our schools and workplaces and deepening our connections with the world.

Linguistic ability is a proxy for whether a society celebrates diversity.

Ongoing acceptance of multiculturalism and immigrants from a diverse range of countries is a key indicator of cohesion. This helps protect our society from social divisions, including those seen in other parts of the world.

Has there been progress

In 2021, 5.8 million people (22.8 per cent) reported speaking a language other than English at home. This was an increase from 4.9 million people (21.6 per cent) in 2016.

Of the 1.6 million Australian-born people who spoke a language other than English, in 2021, most had one or both parents born overseas, and almost half were children aged under 15 years. The top five most common languages in Australia other than English are Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Punjabi.

In 2022, 78 per cent of Australians agreed that accepting immigrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger, up from 63 per cent in 2018.1

1 Scanlon Foundation Research Institute (2022) Mapping Social Cohesion Survey 2022, accessed 13 July 2023

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