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Serbian community profile

Information about the Serbian 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 Serbian community is an established community in Victoria. There have been three waves of migration of Serbian people to Victoria.

The first wave of Serbians arrived in World War II, where many were considered ‘displaced persons’. The second wave of migration happened in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, many Serbians arrived in Victoria because of the economic crises in Yugoslavia.

The most recent wave of migration happened in the 1990s. Many people arrived during this period as refugees as they fled the former Yugoslavia. Nearly one–quarter of the Serbian community arrived and settled in Victoria from 1991–2000.

Although migration has reduced since the 2000s, Victoria is still home to the second–largest Serbian community in Australia.

Serbian community

The Serbian community in Victoria is second largest in Australia. There are 30,130 people in Victoria who have Serbian ancestry, of which 8,804 were born in Serbia.

The gender breakdown for the Serbian community is:

  • male: 14,778 (49.0%)
  • female: 15,352 (51.0%).

Most of the Serbian community is older to middle aged, with the largest cohorts aged over 65 years (17.3%) and from 35–44 (14.1%). 

Insights for communication and engagement

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

  • The Serbian community is well established in Victoria with most of the population arriving between 1961 and 1980.
  • The community has medium to high levels of English language proficiency and there are many in the community who may require in–language information, resources and in-person support.
  • Write in plain language. Use plain words, short sentences, headings, lists and other design elements to make information clear. 
  • Print and radio channels can be helpful in reaching many Serbian people in Victoria.
  • For place–based activities, the south–western and western suburbs are where most of the community 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 Serbian community live in Melbourne’s south–eastern and western suburbs.

The City of Casey is home to the largest Serbian community in Victoria with 3,924 people. The City of Greater Dandenong is next with 2,348 people.

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

Local government areaPopulation
Greater Dandenong2,348
Greater Geelong1,497
Hobsons Bay897

Serbia-born population

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


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

  • Serbian (6,059)
  • English (1,473)
  • Hungarian (361)
  • Slovak (216).

English language proficiency

The Serbia–born population in Victoria has medium to high levels of English language proficiency:

  • 66.7% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 15.7% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 16.7% of the population speaks English only.


The Serbia–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Eastern Orthodox (52.6%)
  • Christianity (16%)
  • Catholicism (9.6%)
  • no religion (11.9%).

Years of arrival

There have been two main points of arrival for the Serbia–born population in Victoria. Most of the population arrived between 1961–1970 (22.4%), and 1991–2000 (24.8%).

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage


Traditionally, Serbian names begin with family/last name and then followed by the first name. However, many Serbia–born people adopt the standard Western naming style with the first name followed by the family name. Many Serbian last names end with the letters ‘–ić.’ Women usually take the surname of their husband after getting married, while some may add their husband’s surname to their own.

Significant dates

The Serbian 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:

  • New Year’s Day – 1 January
  • Orthodox Christmas – 7 January
  • Serbian New Year’s Day – 14 January
  • Sava Day – 27 January
  • National Day – 15 February
  • Easter – varies each year
  • Slava (family's annual ceremony and veneration of their patron saint) – varies.

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).