3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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Living Diversity: Australia’s Multicultural Future


The 'Living Diversity: Australia’s Multicultural Future' report provides and examines information on how Australians engage with multiculturalism, their sense of identity and belonging, the ways in which they engage with others of different backgrounds, and their use of media.

Commissioned by the SBS Board, Living Diversity explores the characteristics of a cross-section of all Australians and also the characteristics of five selected non-English speaking background (NESB) groups as well as Indigenous Australians.

The purpose of Living Diversity was to explore multicultural issues not addressed elsewhere, fill gaps in the existing knowledge base and inform strategic decision-making on the development of SBS’s services.

Themes explored include the relationship between cultural background (including language, cultural identity, migrant generation) and social attitudes and behaviours (including use of media), and the extent to which there is a ‘mainstreaming’ of cultural difference and diversity in Australia.


Seven sample groups comprising persons aged 16 years and over were surveyed. This comprised a nationally representative sample of 1,437, five NESB samples (406 Filipino, 401 Greek, 400 Lebanese, 401 Somalis, and 400 Vietnamese), and 56 Indigenous people.

Further sample details and characteristics of NESB participants are contained in pages 67 to 70 of the Living Diversity report (see 'Availability of data and publications' below).


Living Diversity used a number of questionnaires depending on the sample group being interviewed. The following is a list of subject headings and data items collected:

  • Demographics
    • Employment status and characteristics, self-described cultural identity, education, religious affiliation, sex and age
    Page 70 of the Living Diversity report contains a table listing the primary characteristics of all sample groups including sex, age group, education and employment (see 'Availability of data and publications' below).
  • Languages spoken
    • Language spoken at home
    • Who do you normally speak this language with?
  • Family background
    • Birthplaces of the participant and their parents; linguistic background of grandparents; year of migration; importance of family background knowledge; whether in a relationship with a person from a different culture; and the presence of children
  • Participation in community activities
    • Participation in organised community activities; if so, types of community organisation(s) involved in and language spoken for each type
  • Overseas and cultural contact including food and travel
    • Regular contact with anyone living overseas, including the country where they or their parents were born and types of people they communicated with (e.g. siblings); whether they had travelled overseas in the past three years; and how many times they have returned to their country of birth
  • Attitudes toward contemporary social issues
    • Attitudes towards globalisation, tolerance, cultural diversity, maintenance of cultural identity, reconciliation and the national migration program; identification of the two most important issues facing Australians
  • Life satisfaction in Australia
    • Satisfaction with life on a whole and Australian society; world view compared to that of their parents; extent to which Australia considered home; likelihood of living overseas in the future
  • Personal tastes and preferences
    • Favourite recreational activities; who most admired
  • Media preferences
    • Attitudes towards the media; favourite television and radio stations; subscription to pay TV; news and current affairs preferences; 'world music' tastes; viewing of subtitled films and films in other languages; radio listening in languages other than English; SBS radio and television use; Internet use

Note: Inclusion in the NESB sample groups was determined by participants self reported cultural identity.


Australian standard statistical classifications were followed loosely for religion, cultural and ethnic groups, country of birth and language.


Data are available at the capital city/rest of state level for all sample groups except the Indigenous sample which was based on six communities from urban, regional and remote Australia.


The Living Diversity report is available in PDF format on the SBS website via the 'Corporate' and 'Publications' sections.


Georgie McClean
Manager, Policy and Research
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
Ph: +61 (0) 2 9430 3817
Fax: +61 (0) 2 9430 3047
Email: georgina.mcclean@sbs.com.au