The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the main statistical agency in Australia. The ABS conducts a census of population and housing once every five years and the most recent census was conducted by the ABS in 2011. The 2011 census data published by the ABS contains information relating to the language spoken at home by country of birth. The language spoken at home variable records the main language other than English spoken at home.
According to the ABS, on the 9th of August 2011 (census night), there were circa 295,000 India-born people in Australia. Excluding the India-born people who indicated that they only speak English at home, the top 8 India-born language groups in descending order by population counts are: Hindi (20%), Punjabi (19%), Gujarati (9%), Malayalam (7%), Tamil (6%), Telugu (6%), Marathi (2%), and Kannada (2%) (Figure 1).
Figure 1 (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)
The percentage of India-born people who indicated that they mainly speak Hindi or Punjabi at home is almost equal. However, considering people born in all countries who were surveyed on the census night, there are far more number of people who indicated that they mainly speak Hindi at home (>111,000 people) compared to people who indicated that they mainly speak Punjabi at home (>71,000 people). Apart from the India and Australia-born people, a vast majority of the people who indicated that they mainly speak Hindi at home are Fiji-born. A large proportion of Fiji’s population is of Indian origin and Hindi is widely spoken in Fiji.
There are more than 50 other India-born language groups in Australia. Some of the other language groups which did not make the top 8 include Urdu, Bengali, Konkani, Tulu, and Oriya.