Filipino community profile

Information about the Filipino community in Victoria including where they live and when they arrived, languages spoken, English language proficiency, religions and significant dates.

These profiles are of Victorian communities, using the best available data we have from the 2021 Australian Census.

The Census defines ancestry as the cultural or ethnic group you most identify with.

We acknowledge that the profiles are not definitive. There are limitations and challenges in assigning ancestry or ethnicity to a specific ‘community’, especially as defined by geographical borders.


In the early twentieth century, very few Philippines–born people lived in Victoria. Australia’s immigration and labour policies, such as the White Australia Policy (The Immigration Restriction Act 1901), restricted the growth of the Filipino community.

In the 1950s, the relaxation of the White Australia Policy and the introduction of the Colombo Plan saw many Filipinos arrive in Australia. Most of these initial arrivals were Filipino students, skilled tradespeople, and professionals.

During the 1970s, there was a huge increase in Filipino immigration to Australia. During this time, the declaration of martial law in the Philippines also caused many Filipinos to seek a new life in Australia. Most Filipino migrants were female spouses of Australian residents. Many Philippines–born people were also sponsored by a family member to settle in Australia.

This wave of migration continued, and the Filipino community became one of the fastest–growing migrant communities in Australia. Between 1981 and 2016, the increase in the Philippines–born population of Victoria soared and went from 3,55 to 51,287 people.

During this period, many arrived as skilled migrants, and there was also a large increase in the migration of Filipino spouses and fiancées under the family reunion program.

Filipino community

The Filipino community in Victoria is the second largest in Australia. There are 95,188 people in Victoria who have Filipino ancestry, of which 68,463 were born in Philippines.

The gender breakdown for the Filipino community is:

  • male: 40,791 (42.9%)
  • female: 54,397 (57.1%).

Most of the Filipino community is young, with the largest cohorts aged from 0–14 (21.2%) and 25–34 (19.6%).

Insights for communication and engagement

The following are some key insights from the data when communicating and engaging with the Filipino community:

  • The Filipino community is growing, with many people arriving between 2016 and 2021.
  • The community has high levels of English language proficiency and may therefore understand information or resources in English.
  • Write in plain language. Use plain words, short sentences, headings, lists and other design elements to make information clear.
  • Digital channels can help reach the many young people in the Filipino community.
  • For placed–based activities, the south–western and south–eastern suburbs are where most of the population lives.

For more insights about communicating with multicultural audiences read the:

Better practice guide for multicultural communications
PDF 3.35 MB
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Better practice guide for multicultural communications - accessible version
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Many people in the Filipino community live in Melbourne’s south–western and south–eastern suburbs.

The City of Wyndham is home to one of the largest Filipino communities in Victoria with 10,628 people. The City of Casey is next with 9,485 people.

The following 10 local government areas have the largest Filipino communities.

Local government areaPopulation
Greater Dandenong3,352
Greater Geelong2,839

Philippines–born population

The following statistics focus on people living in Victoria who were born in the Philippines. This will be referred to as the ‘Philippines–born population’.


The top languages spoken by the Philippines–born population in Victoria are:

  • Tagalog (25,966)
  • Filipino (21,421)
  • English (16,468)
  • Bisaya (1,385)
  • Cebuano (1,119)
  • Ilonggo (Hiligaynon) (254).

English language proficiency

The Philippines–born population in Victoria has high levels of English language proficiency:

  • 73.8% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 1.8% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 24.1% of the population speak English only.


The Philippines–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Catholic (73.4%)
  • Christianity (5.8%)
  • other Protestant (2.9%)
  • Pentecostal (2.6%)
  • no religion (5.4%).

Years of arrival

There are three significant points of arrival for the Philippines-born population: 2001-2010, 2011-2015 and 2016-2021. Most of the Philippines-born population in Victoria arrived in these three periods.

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage


Naming conventions are influenced by the history of the Spanish and American colonisation of the Philippines. This has meant that Filipino names follow both Spanish and Western practices.

Following the Spanish tradition, Filipinos use paternal and maternal surnames and order them according to Western traditions of first name, middle name and surname.

The names are usually arranged as: [Personal name(s)], [Mother’s paternal family name], [Father’s paternal family name]. For example, a male named, Jose Mario Bello Pineda.

Some people may have two given names that reflect the Spanish tradition.

Nicknames are commonly used in Filipino culture, and family and close friends usually call each other by their nicknames, rather than the full first name. Calling someone by a nickname is inappropriate unless you’ve been invited to do so.

Significant dates

Filipino communities celebrate many cultural and religious festivals.

The following are some key dates of significance:

  • Lunar New Year – varies each year.
  • People’s Power Revolution Day – 25 February
  • Day of Valour – 9 April
  • Independence Day – 12 June
  • Good Friday – varies each year.

Sources of information

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Country of birth QuickStats
  • SBS Cultural Atlas
  • Encyclopedia of Melbourne (School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, in association with the University of Melbourne's eScholarship Research Centre).
  • Museums Victoria.