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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The Challenging Racism Project


The Challenging Racism Project is a project based from the University of Western Sydney, but including academics from Macquarie University, Melbourne University, and Murdoch University. It has been principally funded by grants from the Australia Research Council and by other government agencies.

Between October and December 2001, a telephone survey of residents throughout the states of Queensland and New South Wales was conducted to collect attitudinal information on racism (sample of 5056). The main focus of this survey was to develop a measure of the attitudes that respondents hold towards cultural diversity, cultural privilege, the extent of racism, and tolerance of specific cultural groups. This survey was replicated across Victoria in 2006, generating a sample of 4016, and then in ACT (454), South Australia (1484), Northern Territory (300), Tasmania (351) and Perth (851) in 2008.

In 2005 the Challenging Racism Project conducted another national survey focussing on respondents' experiences of racism along with their feelings and reactions to those experiences.

The data are intended to assist local communities with the formulation of their own locally-appropriate anti-racism initiatives.


The 2001, 2006 and 2008 surveys of adult household residents throughout the states of Australia generated a completed sample of 12,517. The sample was area stratified at Statistical Local Areas to enable regional variation to be examined. Because of the relative sizes of the state capitals, the sample is dominated by urban respondents.

The 2006 survey had a sample size of 4,020 adult household residents from across Australia.


    • Country of birth
    • Language spoken at home
    • Cultural ancestry of parents (2005 survey only)
    • Religion (2005 survey only)

Other demographics such as education, age and gender are also collected.

The 2001, 2006 and 2008 surveys included attitudinal questions that gauge a respondents' tolerance (or discomfort) with specific cultural groups, as well as their opinions on the desirability of cultural diversity and on the extent of racism. Beliefs in racial separatism (differentiation), racial hierarchy (inferiorisation) and racial categories (racialisation) were also gauged, along with piloted questions on respondents' experiences of racism within a limited range of activity spheres.

The 2006 survey collected data on the incidence of respondents' experiences with racism including racist talk (i.e. verbal abuse), exclusion, unfair treatment (i.e. denied service or employment) and physical attacks. Other data items relate to the location of occurrence, respondents' reactions to incidents of racism, and their feelings towards the experience and outcomes.

    • Australian Standard Classification of Countries
    • Australian Standard Classification of Languages
    • Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (2005 survey only)
    • Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (2005 survey only)


The data sets are arranged by Statistical Districts for non-metropolitan areas, and by Sub-Statistical Districts within the capital cities.


Project data tables and findings appear in various formats including tables of data by regions, articles and conference papers. These are available from the Challenging Racism Project page, and the University of Western Sydney website:


Kevin Dunn
School of Social Sciences
University of Western Sydney
Email: K.Dunn@uws.edu.au

Jim Forrest
Associate Professor
Dept of Human Geography
Macquarie University
Email: jim.forrest@mq.edu.au