Lebanese community profile

Information about the Lebanese 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.


The Lebanese community is a well–established one. There have been different waves of migration of Lebanese people to Victoria.

During the late nineteenth century, Victoria saw an influx of migrants from Lebanon, which continued well into the twentieth century. Up until the 1950s, these migrants were often labelled as Aryans, Turks, and Asians. Many of the first arrivals were males or groups of males who wanted to make quick money and then return home. These early settlers often worked as travelling salespeople, especially in rural Victoria. Some later went on to establish retail, warehousing, and manufacturing businesses.

Following World War II, the Lebanese population in Victoria experienced a large increase. In 1954, changes in migration policies led to many more Lebanese arrivals.

Another wave of migration happened during the Arab Israeli War (1967) and the Lebanon War (1975). The Australian Government eased its migration restrictions, which meant that Lebanese people in Australia could sponsor their families back in Lebanon. The period from 1970–1980 saw the largest migration of Lebanon–born people to Victoria, with almost one–quarter of the population arriving during this time.

The migration of Lebanese people has steadily declined since the 1980s and is now only a very small number of people arriving in Victoria.

Lebanese community

The Lebanese community in Victoria is the second largest in Australia. There are 49,107 people in Victoria who have Lebanese ancestries, of which 18,689 were born in Lebanon.

The gender breakdown for the Lebanese community is:

  • male: 24,726 (50.4%)
  • female: 24,381 (49.6%).

Most of the Lebanese community is young, with the largest cohorts aged from 0–14 (25.9%), 25–34 (15.9%), and 15–24 (15.6%).

Insights for communication and engagement

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

  • The Lebanese community is well established, with its arrival peaking from 1971–1980.
  • The community has high levels of English language proficiency and may therefore understand information or resources in English. It is worth noting there are still many in the community who may require in–language information, resources or in-person support, particularly more recent arrivals and older people.
  • Write in plain language. Use plain words, short sentences, headings, lists and other design elements to make information clear.
  • Print, radio, and digital channels can help reach the many Lebanese people who live in Victoria.
  • For place–based activities, most of the community lives in the north–western and inner northern suburbs.

For more insights about communicating with multicultural audiences, read the:

Better practice guide for multicultural communications
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Better practice guide for multicultural communications - accessible version
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Many people in the Lebanese community live in Melbourne’s north–western and inner–northern suburbs.

The City of Hume is home to one of the largest Lebanese communities in Victoria, with 9,987 people. The City of Merri–bek (formerly Moreland) is next with 6,507 people.

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

Local government areaPopulation
Hobsons Bay2,503
Moonee Valley1,293

Lebanon-born population

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


The top languages spoken by the Lebanon–born community in Victoria are:

  • Arabic (16,087)
  • English (1,895).

English language proficiency

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

  • 70.3% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 18.8% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 10.1% of the population speak English only.


The Lebanon–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Islam (48.7%)
  • Catholic (23.1%)
  • Eastern Orthodox (9.8%)
  • no religion (5.1%).

Years of arrival

There have been three main points of arrival for the Lebanon–born population in Victoria. Most of the population arrived from 1971–1980 (24.4%), 1981–1990 (17.5%), and 2001–2010 (15.5%).

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage


The Lebanese community is diverse and made up of people from many different ethnic and religious groups. This means that naming conventions are diverse and depend on a person’s cultural background, family traditions and personal preferences.

These are some common naming conventions within the Lebanese community:

  • Many Lebanese choose traditional Lebanese or Arab names for their children. These might include names like Layla, Ziad, Rania, Hassan, or Yasmeen.
  • Many Lebanese are Christians or Muslims and choose names for that religion. For example, Christian Lebanese often have names of biblical origin, while Muslims may have names common in the Islamic world.
  • Lebanese surnames often have significance and can reflect a person’s region, village, or even a particular trait of an ancestor. However, in Australia, it's a common practice to retain the paternal surname.
  • Over time, many Lebanese change their names to fit within an English–speaking environment. For example, ‘Yousef’ might become ‘Joseph’, or ‘Hussein’ might become ‘Huss’ or ‘Sam’ for ‘Samir’.
  • Honorific titles are often used before a person's name. For example, ‘Mr’ (Monsieur) or ‘Mrs’ (Madame) in French–influenced areas. ‘Sayyid’ (for males) and ‘Sayyida’ (for females) are used as a sign of respect. These titles may be used with first names.

Significant dates

The Lebanese community celebrates various cultural and religious holidays. These dates will vary depending on a person’s religion, heritage and identity. The following are some key dates of significance:

  • Mother’s Day – 21 March
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – 23 April
  • Resistance and Liberation Day – 25 May
  • Martyrs’ Day – 6 May
  • Lebanese Armed Forces Day – 1 August
  • Independence Day – 22 November.

Sources of information

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Country of birth QuickStats
  • SBS Cultural Atlas
  • The Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne)
  • Museums Victoria.