Over the past two decades, the country of origin of Australia’s migrants has changed rapidly.

In many cases, this reflects Australia’s commitment to refugees and influxes due to wars.

According to EthnoLink’s latest analysis of Census data, we can now reveal that Italian, Greek, Croatian, Polish and Maltese are the languages most rapidly in decline in Australia.

In top place is Italian, which experienced an unprecedented reduction of 23.1%, representing 81,627 speakers, between 2001 and 2016.

Australia’s Top 5 Rapidly Declining Languages

Language2001
Number of Speakers
2016
Number of Speakers
Change
(Number of Speakers)
Change
(%)
Italian353,229271,602-81,627-23.1%
Greek263,487237,583-25,904-9.8%
Croatian69,74856,885-12,863-18.4%
Polish58,99248,070-10,922-18.5%
Maltese41,34731,993-9,354-22.6%

Australia’s Italian Population

Italian Australians represent the sixth largest ethnic group in Australia.

Many Australians are unaware that Italian migration to Australia began to increase significantly at the same time that the United States placed restrictions on migrants from Italy.

Migration really took off after World War II.

The 1950s saw a huge influx of Italian migrants to Australia.

The Italian born population in Australia grew by over 200% to 119,897 between 1947 and 1954.

By 1961, those numbers rose to 228,296, before eventually peaking at 288,300 in 1971. This led to a surge in the need for Italian to English translation services.

Country of BirthArrived
1900-1945
Arrived
1946-1955
Arrived
1956-1965
Arrived
1966-1975
Arrived
1976-1985
Arrived
1986-1995
Arrived
1996-2005

Arrived
2006-2015

Italy1,48637,63365,17633,5825,3822,7903,53314,391


According to our analysis, the average age of an Italian speaker in Australia who speaks English “Not Well” or “Not at All” is 73 years of age. 

For comparison sake, using the same criteria, the average age for Mandarin speakers is 40 years of age.

 This demonstrates the staggering difference in the language needs of culturally diverse Australians.

 

Average Age Italian Speakers in Australia