Vietnamese Australians

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Vietnamese Australians
Người Úc gốc Việt
Total population
294,798 By ancestry (2016 census)[1]
1.4% of the Australian population
262,910 Born in Vietnam (2019)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth
Australian English, Vietnamese
Buddhism, Christianity, Irreligion, Taoism, Confucianism

Vietnamese Australians (Vietnamese: Người Úc gốc Việt) are Australians of Vietnamese ancestry, or people who migrated to Australia from Vietnam. Communities of overseas Vietnamese may be referred to as Việt Kiều or người Việt hải ngoại.

History in Australia[edit]

Up until 1975 there were fewer than 2,000 Vietnam-born people in Australia.[3] Following the takeover of South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese communist government in April 1975, Australia, being a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, agreed to resettle its share of Vietnam-born refugees under a refugee resettlement plan between 1975 and 1985. After the initial intake of refugees in the late 1970s, there was a second immigration peak in 1983–84, most likely a result of the 1982 agreement between the Australian and Vietnamese governments (the Orderly Departure Program) which allowed relatives of Vietnamese Australians to leave Vietnam and migrate to Australia. A third immigration peak in the late 1980s seems to have been mainly due to Australia's family reunion scheme.[4] Over 90,000 refugees were processed, and entered Australia during this time.[citation needed]

Number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from Vietnam since 1991 (monthly)
Flag of South Vietnam (1955-1975)

By the 1990s, the number of Vietnam-born migrating to Australia had surpassed the number entering as refugees. From 1991 to 1993, the percentage of Vietnam-born migrants had reached 77 per cent of the total intake of Vietnam-born arriving in Australia, and by 2000, the percentage of Vietnam-born migrants had climbed to 98 per cent. In 2001–2002, 1,919 Vietnam-born migrants and 44 humanitarian entrants settled in Australia.

Vietnamese Australians in Australian society[edit]

History of dual socioeconomics[edit]

Flag of "reunified" Vietnam (1940/1955-now)

Vietnamese Australians used to vary in income and social class levels. Australian born Vietnamese Australians are highly represented in Australian universities and many professions (particularly as information technology workers, optometrists, engineers, doctors and pharmacists), whilst in the past, some members in the community were subjected to poverty and crime.[5]

Migratory tendencies[edit]

Vietnamese Boat People Memorial, in Brisbane, QLD, dedicated 2 December 2012, executed by Phillip Piperides

In December 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimated that there were 3,950 Australian citizens that were also a Vietnamese citizen. It is not clear what proportion of this number are returned emigrants with Australian citizenship or their Vietnamese Australian-born kin, and what number is simply other Australians in Vietnam for business or for other reasons. The greater proportion (3,000) were recorded in the south of the country, with the rest dispersed through the provinces of Vietnam.



People with Vietnamese ancestry as a percentage of the population in Sydney divided geographically by postal area, as of the 2011 census
One dot denotes 100 Vietnamese-born Melbourne residents

About 0.8% of the Australian resident population was born in Vietnam; in terms of birthplace, Vietnam has been the fifth-largest source of immigration to Australia, behind the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, and India.[1] Only the United States and France have larger Viet Kieu communities. According to results of the 2016 Census, 219,355 Australian residents declared that they were born in Vietnam[1]

At the 2016 census, 294,798 people declared that they have Vietnamese ancestry.[1]

In the 2001 census, the 155,000 people of Vietnamese ancestry were first or second generation Australians; first generation Australians of Vietnamese ancestry outnumbered second generation Australians with Vietnamese ancestry (74% : 26%) Relatively few people of Vietnamese ancestry stated another ancestry (6%). Among the leading ancestries, the proportion of people who spoke a language other than English at home was highest for those of Vietnamese (96%).[6]

At the 2006 Census, 173,663 Australian residents declared themselves to be of Vietnamese ancestry. A further 2,190 declared themselves as having Hmong ancestry. Respondents could nominate up to two ancestries.[7] There may additionally be persons of Vietnamese descent born in Australia, or of arguably non-Vietnamese ancestries (such as Cantonese) born in Vietnam, who elected not to nominate their ancestry as Vietnamese.

Over three-quarters of people born in Vietnam live in New South Wales (63,786, or 39.9%) and Victoria (58,878, or 36.8%).[7] In Melbourne the suburbs of Richmond, Footscray, Springvale, Sunshine and St Albans have a significant proportion of Vietnamese-Australians, while in Sydney they are concentrated in Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Vale, Canley Heights, Bankstown, St John's Park and Fairfield. Other places of significant Vietnamese presence include Brisbane, where many have settled in suburbs like Darra and Inala, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.


Phap Hoa Temple, a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Adelaide.

According to census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2004, Vietnamese Australians are, by religion, 30.3 per cent Catholic, 0.4 per cent Anglican, 3.1 Other Christian, 55.2 per cent Other Religions, mainly Buddhists, Taoists, and Ancestral worshippers and 11.0 per cent have no religious beliefs.

According to the 2016 census, 40.46% of Australians with Vietnamese ancestry are Buddhists, 28.77% are Christians, and 26.46% follow secular or no religious beliefs.[8]


In 2001, the Vietnamese language was spoken at home by 174,236 people in Australia. Vietnamese was the sixth most widely spoken language in the country after English, Chinese, Italian, Greek and Arabic.

Vietnamese-Australian to Vietnam relationship[edit]


During October 2003, government owned SBS TV began airing a Vietnamese news program called Thoi Su ('News'). The stated purpose was to provide a news service to cater for Australia's Vietnamese population. This was received poorly by the significant portion of the older generations of the Vietnamese community had previously fled after the fall of South Vietnam and still harboured resentment to the communist government and its institutions, including the state-controlled media. Thoi Su was regarded as a mouthpiece for the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party, and uncritically endorsed government policy and practices using strong language while failing to report issues objectively including political arrests or religious oppression in Vietnam. A large protest was convened outside SBS's offices.[9] SBS decided to drop Thoi Su (which was being provided at no cost to SBS through a satellite connection). SBS subsequently began broadcasting disclaimers before each foreign news program stating it does not endorse their contents.

Overseas Vietnamese diaspora[edit]

Besides local Vietnamese news from SBS Australia, variety shows such as Paris By Night, a mostly overseas Vietnamese production, has become well-renowned amongst Vietnamese-Australians and well as Vietnamese content from Vietnam. Figures from the show such as Nguyen Ngoc Ngan and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen are beloved personalities by Vietnamese at large as well as many other figures such as the late Chi Tai and Hoai Linh.

Vietnamese Australians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "2016 Census Community Profiles: Australia".
  2. ^ Migration, Australia
  3. ^ Note however, that before 1976 Vietnam was not separately recorded as a country of birth for settlers so the Australian Bureau of Statistics is unable to provide an exact picture of settler intake prior to this time.
  4. ^ "4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, 1994 : Population Growth: Birthplaces of Australia's settlers". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 May 1994. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Cracking the cultures of crime". 7 March 2011.
  6. ^ "4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, 2003 : Population characteristics: Ancestry of Australia's population". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3 June 2003. Retrieved 14 March 2008. In the 2001 census almost all people of Vietnamese ancestry were first or second generation Australians, consistent with the timing of Vietnamese immigration, which essentially began in the mid-1970s and increased over the 1980s.
  7. ^ a b Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Redirect to Census data page".
  8. ^ "Census TableBuilder  - Guest Users Log in".
  9. ^ Gibbs, Stephen (2 December 2003). "Crunch time for SBS over Vietnamese news bulletin". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 March 2008. Thousands of members of Sydney's Vietnamese community will today protest against SBS's continued broadcast of a Hanoi news service that former refugees say contains offensive and distressing communist propaganda.
  10. ^ "Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen".

External links[edit]