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4713.0 - Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/05/2010  Final
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LANGUAGE

There were 52,000 Indigenous people who reported speaking an Australian Indigenous language at home in the 2006 Census. The majority of Indigenous people (372,000 or 86%) reported speaking English only at home, similar to the level reported by non-Indigenous people (83%). About one in eight Indigenous people, or 12%, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home. Indigenous languages were much more likely to be reported by Indigenous people living in geographically remote areas. Over half the Indigenous people living in Very Remote areas (56%) reported speaking an Indigenous language at home, compared with 1% of those in Major Cities.

INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE SPEAKERS, Indigenous persons
Diagram: INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE SPEAKERS, Indigenous persons



Of those Indigenous people who speak an Indigenous language at home, almost three-quarters (74%) live in Very Remote Australia, with 14% living in Remote Australia. Only 4% of Indigenous people who speak an Indigenous language live in Major Cities. Over half (56%) of all Indigenous language speakers live in the Northern Territory where 59% of the Indigenous population speak an Australian Indigenous language.

Australian Indigenous Language Speakers(a)(b), Indigenous persons
Graph: Australian Indigenous Language Speakers(a)(b), Indigenous persons



The pattern of Indigenous language speakers by age in the 2006 Census was consistent with that for the 2001 Census, with older people marginally more likely to indicate they speak an Indigenous language at home than younger people. In the 2006 Census, of Indigenous people aged 45 years and over, 13% reported speaking an Indigenous language compared with 10% of 0-14 year olds. In the 2001 Census, 16% of Indigenous people aged 45 years and over reported speaking an Indigenous language compared with 10% of 0-14 year olds.


The most widely spoken Indigenous language groups were Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages, reported by 16% of all Indigenous language speakers. The Torres Strait Island Language groups and the Western Desert Languages group were the next most widely spoken (both 14%).


Torres Strait Creole was the most widely spoken Indigenous language with 5,800 Indigenous speakers, followed by Kriol with 3,900 Indigenous speakers. The languages of Arrernte (in the Arandic Language group), Djambarrpuyngu (Yolgnu Matha Language group) and Pitjantjatjara (Western Desert Language group) all had over 2,500 Indigenous speakers.

Australian Indigenous Language Speakers by Language Group, Indigenous persons
Graph: Australian Indigenous Language Speakers by Language Group, Indigenous persons


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