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NSW Electorate Profiles: cultural diversity (2013 Redistribution - Regional NSW)

NSW Electorate Profiles: cultural diversity (2013 Redistribution - Regional NSW)

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Background Paper 09/2014 by Jack Finegan and Daniel Montoya

This paper presents cultural diversity data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing for the 39 NSW State Electoral Districts (SEDs) located in regional NSW, as redistributed in 2013. Data from the 2006 Census is also included for several census indicators. A companion background paper contains the profiles of the 54 NSW SEDs located in Greater Sydney – NSW Electorate Profiles: cultural diversity (2013 Redistribution – Greater Sydney).

The impetus behind this paper lies in part in requests for information on cultural diversity received by the Research Service from Members of Parliament, but also derives from the significance of cultural diversity in NSW in social, historical and political terms. This paper provides a snapshot of cultural diversity in each electorate and examines certain characteristics of people born in non-English speaking countries.

Each electorate profile is in two parts. Following a map of the electorate, the first part sets out three census indicators of cultural diversity – country of birth, ancestry and language spoken at home. These indicators measure a different aspect of cultural diversity, each having its own limitations. Note that for the purposes of this paper, the term ‘cultural diversity’ encompasses ethnicity and language.

Country of birth is a count of the number of first-generation immigrants born in a country defined according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries. There are two limitations to using country of birth as a proxy for ethnicity, where ethnicity refers to the shared identity or similarity of a group of people based on one or more factors such as shared history, cultural tradition, geographic origin, language and race. Country of birth does not count any immigrants beyond the first-generation. It also involves the assumption that a person’s country of birth is equivalent to their ethnicity, leading to the problem where, for example, a person of Indian ethnicity born in England would be counted as English by this indicator.

Ancestry is a count of the number of persons who have identified a particular ethnic or cultural group as being his or her ancestry as defined according to the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups. Compared to country of birth, ancestry is a more subjective measure of ethnicity as it involves self-identification of ethnic or cultural group affiliation. Census respondents may report up to two ancestries. Where two ancestries are given, both are taken into account in this paper.

Language spoken at home is a count of the number of persons who speak a language other than English at home according to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages. This indicator may be used as a proxy for ethnicity. While it may count immigrants beyond the first-generation, it could also exclude first-generation immigrants who no longer speak their native language, having been in Australia a long time or because they live with people who do not speak the language.

Because of their differences, these three indicators may produce significantly different figures. For example, in the Albury electorate, 411 persons were born in Germany, 197 speak German at home and 5,687 persons claimed German ancestry. Country of birth was chosen for more in-depth analysis because it is a more objective count of ethnicity.

The second part of each profile examines the electorate’s five largest populations of people born in a non-English speaking country. These populations are broken down by the following indicators:

    · Year of arrival;

    · Age;

    · Citizenship;

    · Labour force;

    · Personal weekly income;

    · Highest level of schooling completed; and

    · Highest non-school qualification attained.

Electorate and NSW averages are provided for comparative purposes.

Several interpretative points bear keeping in mind when reading the profiles:

    · Minor discrepancies between figures are due to Census randomisation;

    · The percentages included in each Table are based on the total figures set out in that Table, except in the case of the unemployment rate, which is calculated as a percentage of the labour force, that is the total number of employed and unemployed people; and

    · The terminology employed has been adopted from the Census. A brief table of definitions is included at the end of each profile.