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Indian community profile

Information about the Indian 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 the ethnic and linguistic complexity of the Indian community and note that these profiles are not definitive.

There are limitations and challenges in assigning ancestry or ethnicity to a specific ‘community’, especially as defined by geographical borders.


The Indian community in Victoria is well established, and there have been three distinct waves of migration.

The first wave of arrivals happened after the change to Australia's immigration policies in the late 1960s. The second wave was when large numbers of India–born skilled arrived during the 1980s and 1990s. In the late 1990s, the Indian community grew again when India–born students began attending Victorian higher education institutions.

By 2001, the number of Indian people in Victoria had reached 30,744. Approximately 96% lived in metropolitan Melbourne (particularly the south–eastern and north–western suburbs).

Between 2011 and 2021, the Indian community in Victoria continued to grow. The majority (55.3%) of the Indian community arrived in Victoria during this period.

Victoria is now home to the second–largest Indian communities in Australia (4% of the Victorian population in 2021). Punjabi is the fastest growing language. The Indian community represents many languages, faiths and cultural groups. It is a highly educated community that is proficient in English.

Indian community

The Indian community in Victoria is one of the largest in Australia. There are 371,901 people in Victoria who have Indian ancestries, of which 258,193 were born in India.

The following ancestries have been included in defining the Indian community: Indian, Bengali, Fijian Indian, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Parsi, Punjabi, Sikh, Sindhi, Indian Tamil, and Telugu.

The gender breakdown for the Indian community is:

  • male: 196,558 (52.9%)
  • female: 175,343 (47.1%).

Most of the Indian community is young, with the largest cohorts aged from 0–14 (25.4%), 25–34 (24.3%) and 25–34 (24.3%).

Insights for communication and engagement

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

  • The Indian community is growing, with many people who were born in India arriving between 2016 and 2021.
  • People in the Indian community who speak Hindi often have a high level of English language proficiency and may therefore understand information or resources in English.
  • People in the Indian community who speak other languages may have a lower level of English language proficiency and there are many in the community who may require in–language information, resources or in-person support.
  • Write in plain language. Use plain words, short sentences, headings, lists and other design elements to make information clear.
  • Social media and digital channels can help reach the many young Indian people who live in Victoria.
  • For place–based activities, the south–eastern and north–western suburbs are where most of the community lives.
  • For religious Indians, it can be helpful to receive information in places of worship by providing brochures.

For more insights about communicating with multicultural audiences read the:

Better practice guide for multicultural communications
PDF 3.35 MB
(opens in a new window)
Better practice guide for multicultural communications - accessible version
Word 2.33 MB
(opens in a new window)


Many people in the Indian community live in Melbourne’s south–eastern and north–western suburbs.

The City of Wyndham is home to one of the largest Indian communities in Victoria with 65,433 people. The City of Casey is next with 44,967 people.

These 10 local government areas have the largest Indian communities, which include people from the range of ancestries outlined above.

Local government areaPopulation
Wyndham 65,433
Casey 44,967
Whittlesea 23,814
Hume 23,614
Melton 20,788
Monash 17,352
Greater Dandenong 14,086
Melbourne 10,861
Brimbank 10,268
Whitehorse 9,032

India–born population

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


There are many different languages spoken in the India–born population with 22 officially recognised languages and hundreds of dialects.

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

  • Punjabi (77,605)
  • Hindi (48,425)
  • English (34,645)
  • Telugu (21,162)
  • Malayalam (18,608)
  • Gujarati (17,847)
  • Tamil (14,083)
  • Marathi (6,057)
  • Urdu (5,861)
  • Kannada (4,670).­­­­­­­

English language proficiency

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

  • 82.1% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 4% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 13.4% of the population speak English only.


The India–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Hinduism (49.3%)
  • Sikhism (25.1%)
  • Catholicism (10.4%)
  • Islam (4%).

Years of arrival

There are three significant points of arrival for the India–born population: 2001–2010, 2011–2015 and 2016–2021. Most of the India–born population in Victoria arrived from 2011–2021. Only 4.8% of the India–born population arrived in Victoria from 1991–2000.

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage
1951 to 19602510.1
1961 to 19702,6241.0
1971 to 19803,6621.4
1981 to 19906,3812.5
1991 to 200012,3884.8
2001 to 201085,76233.2
2011 to 201551,84620.1
2016 to 202191,00735.2


Names in India vary based on an individual's religion and region of origin. Surnames were introduced during British colonisation and are more commonly used in parts of northern India.

Honorific titles are common in Indian communities. They indicate formal or informal social and religious relationships. These titles can take the form of prefixes, suffixes, or replacements. Examples include 'Guru' (meaning 'teacher' or 'expert') and 'Baba' (a mark of respect for Hindu and Sikh ascetics).

Significant dates

Indian communities celebrate many region–specific cultural and religious festivals, but they come together to celebrate occasions like Diwali (the Festival of Lights) and Indian Independence Day. Most religious festivals and dates of significance are based on the lunar calendar.

These are some key dates of significance:

  • Republic Day – 26 January
  • Indian Independence Day – 15 August
  • Diwali (also known as Festival of Light) – takes place every autumn between October and November, with the date changing every year.
  • Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthday – 15 April
  • Baisakhi – varies each year in April
  • Holi – 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).