Communities of NSW

According to the 2016 Census, within NSW:

Top Ancestries

Top Countries of Birth

Top Languages

Culturally diverse communities in NSW bring many benefits to our state. It is important that the views and concerns of all people are heard in the decision making processes and that all people have equal access to government services and opportunities to participate in public life.

Multicultural NSW recognises the importance of social cohesion and harmony and with that the vital role that community organisations play in supporting and strengthening all of our culturally diverse communities.

Find more Community Profile census data here »


NSW Population in 2016: 7,480,228
NSW Population in 2011: 6,917,601
An increase of 562,627 (8.1%)

NSW is home to 33.6% of Australia’s overseas-born population.

27.6% of the NSW population was born overseas (compared with 26.3% for total Australian population).

21% of the NSW population was from a non-English speaking background (compared with 17.9% for total Australian population).

People from around 225 birthplaces have made NSW their home.

Sydney had the largest overseas-born population of all the capital cities (1,773,496), followed by Melbourne (1,520,253) and Perth (702,545).

In NSW, we come from 307 ancestries, practice 148 religions and speak more than 215 languages.

As our society becomes more culturally diverse, maintaining and building social cohesion and community harmony become increasingly important. Primarily, social cohesion and community harmony result in:

  • The well-being of all the people of NSW (health, social and personal security, childhood outcomes, upward mobility)
  • Improved collective participation
  • Higher levels of trust in government, institutions and community
  • Reduced rates of crime and other anti-social behaviour

Conversely, low levels of social cohesion can lead to social problems such as:

  • Polarisation, leading to anti-social behaviour
  • Disengagement and a lack of participation in society and community
  • Health issues, both physically and mentally, reducing life expectancy