The story of diverse communities – Migrants in Port Phillip

The story of diverse communities – Migrants in Port Phillip

The City of Port Phillip, Victoria, is the latest LGA to subscribe to .id’s Communities of Interest module for Located in the inner suburbs just south of Melbourne, Port Phillip includes St Kilda, Port Melbourne, Albert Park, Elwood, South Melbourne and the St Kilda Rd area. It has a young population with many renters, and is now a very high income area. But the young affluence hides pockets of high disadvantage, and the City added the Communities of Interest module to explore the characteristics of a range of population groups in the area.

Let’s have a look at the characteristics of migrants in Port Phillip.

In 2011, 31% of Port Phillip’s residents were born overseas – which happens to be about the same as the Melbourne average. This is also increasing, from 26.9% in 2006.

The interesting bit is the makeup of the new arrivals. Using the recent arrivals CoI, we can see that:

  • Those arriving in the past 5 years are very young, both compared to total population and population across Melbourne.

Five year age groups, 2011

Birthplace, 2011

This all paints a picture of a gentrified, inner city area, where there are a lot of new migrants, mainly business and skilled migrants, taking advantage of Port Phillip’s bayside lifestyle close to Melbourne.

But these recent arrivals are quite different to the migrant communities which have been living in Port Phillip for some time.

Most of the new arrivals are English speaking – If we look at the population speaking a language other than English at home, a different picture emerges. They are actually a little older than the Port Phillip population, and substantially lower income – in fact much more similar to non-English speaking background population across Melbourne.

Household income quartiles, 2011

Three of the largest established non-English speaking groups in Port Phillip are Italians, Greeks and Russians, and the Communities module allows users to explore the characteristics of these three groups individually.

All three of these groups are substantially older than the Port Phillip population, being derived from migration after World War II.

Greek speakers, while elderly, clearly show that the language continues through subsequent generations. There are a clear 3 generations showing in this chart, original migrants, and 2nd and 3rd generation Australians (and the change chart also shows increases in 3 generations with declines in the in-between years). 51% of Port Phillip’s Greek speakers were born in Australia.

Five year age groups, 2011

Port Phillip has one of the largest Russian communities in Australia, most arriving after World War II. As you can see they are now quite elderly.

Five year age groups, 2011

They are also very low income, with low education levels, and far less likely to have Internet access at home than the wider population.

Although they are mostly elderly, the overall number of Russian speakers is stable at around 1,400, with some younger, second and third generation speakers entering the population, even a few young children.

Change in five year age groups, 2006 to 2011

This community is mainly in older lone person households and older couples without children. But 12.6% were living in one parent families, perhaps indicating an elderly parent being cared for by their children.

The Russian speakers were not mainly born in Russia. In fact a higher proportion (36%) were born in Ukraine, with Russia next (26%), and also various other former Soviet republics, like Latvia and Belarus. 9.5% were born in Australia.

This disadvantaged community is now largely housed in the significant pockets of public housing. In 2011, 38.1% of Russian speakers were in public housing (and, significantly, 8% of all non-English speaking background population, but only 4% of total population).

In contrast, Greek and Italian speakers, though elderly, were largely not in public housing. In fact the Greeks are predominantly home owners, with 57% fully owning their home without a mortgage.

So Port Phillip’s significant pockets of public housing are an important element in maintaining the cultural diversity of an increasingly gentrified area, and provide a link to the history of the area. Well off, English speaking migrants are the main new arrivals, but there is a significant community of elderly non-English speaking background population, particularly Russian speakers, in the public housing areas.

This information can help Port Phillip council plan for services to these communities, and understand the issues affecting the population.

We have only explored a few of the characteristics of Port Phillip’s Communities of Interest here. The same level of detail is available for a multitude of different age groups, countries of birth, low income households and people with a disability. And each area has a slightly different story to tell.

It’s worth reflecting that NONE OF THIS VALUABLE INFORMATION would be available without the 5-yearly population Census. We need to save the Census and ensure that it is run in 2016. See this blog for what you can do to help.

Learn more about communities of interest here or visit our demographic resource centre.

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Glenn Capuano - Census Expert

Glenn is our resident Census expert. After ten years working at the ABS, Glenn's deep knowledge of the Census has been a crucial input in the development of our community profiles. These tools help everyday people uncover the rich and important stories about our communities that are often hidden deep in the Census data. Glenn is also our most prolific blogger - if you're reading this, you've just finished reading one of his blogs. Take a quick look at the front page of our blog and you'll no doubt find more of Glenn's latest work. As a client manager, Glenn travels the country giving sought-after briefings to councils and communities (these are also great opportunities for Glenn to tend to his rankings in Geolocation games such as Munzee and Geocaching).

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