Tale of two cities: Where Philippine ancestry reigns

Michelle Baltazar

Where were you on the night of August 9 last year? It was the night the government took the pulse of the nation, finding out who we are and the way we live, work and play.

 The Census data were released last week and one of the key findings came as no surprise: Australia has become a multicultural nation where one in four Australians was born overseas, in some cases, from the Philippines.

There are many ways to slice and dice the data but the headline number is that the number of Filipino Australians in the country rose 6.7% to 171,200 since the last Census (2006), with Philippines ranked seventh in the Top 10 list of countries of birth for the overseas-born population.

In New South Wales, data gathered from Blacktown and Campbelltown show that Filipinos gravitate towards both cities. In Blacktown, for a population of more than 43,000, more than half were born in Australia and coming in second was India (8.9%) and Philippines (4.8%). Tagalog was one of the top 5 languages spoken at home.

Similarly, Campbelltown is another Filipino hub. Out of a population of more than 69,500, the second ‘country of birth’ was the Philippines (2.8%) and Tagalog was also in the top 5 languages spoken at home.

But to put in context, Filipino is just one of more than 300 ancestries registered by the latest Census. The local community also has a long way to go before it reaches the stature achieved by its Filipino-American counterparts. Fil-Am is the second largest Asian community after the Chinese in the US According to the US Census Bureau, there were 3.4 million Filipinos living in the country in 2010.

Still, the strong showing of Filipino-Australians in the latest Census suggest the community is in the radar as the government outlines the roadmap for the nation’s social reforms.

“This Census data will help shape the future of our country over the next five years, providing a brighter future for all Australians,” said Andrew Henderson, 2011 Census Executive Director, in a press statement.

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