Who Lives Where? Migrants Settling in Australian Cities

In a moment I’m going to show you a series of maps of Australia’s state capital cities. I’m sure they will instantly remind you of the kind of maps that are thrust before us as the election results come through on election night.

Don’t worry, it’s not that, there’s no need to hightail it out of here. This post isn’t about politics at all.

These maps actually reveal the top three birthplaces for immigrants in suburbs in our major cities across Australia.

Where migrants settle in Australia

Multicultural AustraliaI am indebted to readers Arvin and Anton for inspiring this post. A while back, on my page about Perth, Arvin asked where he could get information regarding demographics of migrants in Perth suburbs, and Anton said…

Try the SBS page Where Immigrants Where Born. It will show you top three migrant groups from all areas of Australia.

Sounded interesting to me, so I Googled “SBS page Where Immigrants Where Born” and found it immediately. And yes, it was interesting.

SBS have gathered information based on the 2011 census here in Australia and made it into several colourful interactive maps. To get the full benefit of all the information they have to offer, you really need to visit the website to enjoy that full interactivity.

To make that easy for you, I have images of each of the cities that are non-interactive, but all you need to do is click on any of these city images to be taken directly to the SBS page with the full information.

On this website though, for those who don’t really need the full interactive experience, you can still get some very useful information about the demographics of each of our cities at a glance.

Here are some of the key codes for the colours:

  • Grey = England and New Zealand
  • Green = India
  • Red = China
  • Pink = Vietnam
  • Blue = Italy

Of course there are light blues, light greens and even pastel greens and these are Greece, Lebanon and Iraq whilst yellow is Fiji. Like I say though, just click on the maps for more information.

So, let’s look at some maps.

Sydney migrant map

This is the most colourful map and therefore I would suggest our most cosmopolitan city…

Sydney migrants mapMelbourne migrant map

Another quite colourful map, I think it’s safe to say that Melbourne runs a close second to Sydney…

Melbourne migrants mapBrisbane migrant map

Brisbane is predominantly grey which means England and New Zealand…

Brisbane migrant map

Perth migrant map

Quite grey in Perth too…

Perth migrant mapAdelaide migrant map

A bit more colour here…

Adelaide migrant mapCanberra migrant map

Mostly grey but with a hefty chunk of red…

Canberra migrant mapHobart migrant map

Mostly grey but with a tiny chunk of red…

Hobart migrant mapDarwin migrant map

Fairly grey but with some colours we haven’t seen much of before…

Darwin migrant mapClearly immigrants from England and New Zealand are dominant in many areas, but if you visit the website over at SBS you will get a second series of maps. These maps exclude England and New Zealand which allows countries like Canada, United States, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and more to come to the fore.

So if you’re about to move to Australia and you want to settle in a town or suburb where some of your neighbours will have come here from the same country as you, you really do want to check out these maps.


It gets even better, all of Australia is covered, not just the state capital cities. So no matter where you fancy moving to in Australia, you can find out the migrant demographic by birth place before you get here.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Kirsty Rowland April 2, 2016, 2:15 am | Link

    Hi, I’m thinking of migrating with my husband and two children (4+3 years old) we are trying our best to decide on the best place to raise our children. We would like to be near ish the coast but other than that we are fairly clueless at the moment. Any help on best places to raise children would be greatly appreciated

  • Candice September 25, 2015, 4:53 am | Link


    I hope you can assist. We are going to Australia on a 489 visa which means we have to live in a regional area of a state for 2 years before we can apply for permanent residency. Do you have an idea of which would be better please? My husband is a welder by trade and we have the choice of Queensland and New south wales?

    Any help would be really appreciated.


    • BobinOz September 26, 2015, 12:10 am | Link

      You should go where the work is, the place that has the most job opportunities for your husband. Check out my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship, there are some links to help you research that.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Ronny July 17, 2015, 7:37 pm | Link

    Very interesting, as usual, thx bob.

    Considering I’d like to move to Australia, this post is of assistance as soon as I decide in which city I want to settle. But I haven’t decided yet. So I must say I’m one step prior to use this (very well made) tool.
    I have no relative, no specific bias that would narrow my choices. I’m (quite) free to move in all of Austalia. Therefore, I may ask if you have any info about places where ossies (themselves) want to live. I mean is there a place locals would elect as the best city (or neighbourhood) ? A kind of ranking made by australians that would point out a place/region as affordable/safe/with employment/good weather/…


    • BobinOz July 19, 2015, 11:31 pm | Link

      Hi Ronny, thanks, glad you like it.

      Well, there have been a few polls about it, you might be interested in reading the following post…


      But I wouldn’t take that top 11 list too seriously, I think you’ll find that most Australians probably do quite passionately love the cities they come from, I’d say each and every one of our major cities are extremely livable. At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal preferences.

      Affordable usually means fewer job opportunities, all of our cities are safe and weather is a subjective viewpoint; do you want hot, humid, four seasons or a cooler climate? Rhetorical questions, of course, but these are choices you need to make and then select a city accordingly.

      I chose Brisbane based on my preferences, I’ve now been to all the major cities apart from Canberra to have a look around and I still wouldn’t swap Brisbane for any of them. But then that’s just me.

  • djmcbell June 25, 2015, 11:09 pm | Link

    Just in case you’re looking for something to write an article about Bob…


    • BobinOz June 26, 2015, 8:04 pm | Link

      Gosh, there are some big numbers in there, I’m frightened to think what the queue must be like now at the post office 🙂

      Thanks for this, if I can use it in a post I will. Cheers, Bob

  • Asya June 22, 2015, 10:41 pm | Link

    My brother in law is thinking to move to Australia. I found this article while I was looking for some info for him. Thanks you so much for sharing such an amazing info.
    I will forward this page to some friends on facebook where some guys are absolutely crazy about Australia 🙂

  • Snoskred June 16, 2015, 12:52 pm | Link

    This is deeply fascinating, Bob. Thanks for putting this post together! 😉 I notice if you click on any of the maps it takes you to the SBS website and there you can zoom out on the map and move about Australia, so I was able to see my area of the South Coast in NSW.

    I’ll be linking to this post on my weekly wrap up on Sunday.

    • BobinOz June 16, 2015, 5:24 pm | Link

      Yes, it is fascinating stuff isn’t it? Without doubt, well worth clicking through on those maps as you’ll get much more information. I could have embedded the interactive maps here, but they look much better on their website, their pages are wider.

      And yes, thanks, please do spread the word on your site, I think this is interesting information for many people moving to Australia.

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