Turkish community profile

Information about the Turkish 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.


During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, not many Türkiye–born people migrated to Victoria. This was because of the White Australia policy (The Immigration Restriction Act 1901) and the restrictions on Türkiye–born people after World War I.

The first major wave of Türkiye–born migrants happened during the 1960s and 1970s. The Australian Government began accepting more Türkiye–born people because of the decline in arrivals from Europe.

Türkiye was among the first countries to sign an assisted passage agreement with Australia. Many Turkish people who migrated to Australia and planned to work stayed permanently.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Turkish community in Victoria continued to grow due to the increase in people reuniting with their families.

The number of Turkish people arriving remained steady during the 1990s and 2000s.

From around 2010 onwards, there has been a decrease in the number of people arriving in Victoria.

Turkish community

The Turkish community in Victoria is the largest in Australia. There are 47,015 people in Victoria who have Turkish ancestries, of which 18,689 were born in Türkiye.

The following ancestries have been included in defining the Turkish community: Turkish and Kurdish.

The gender breakdown for the Turkish community is:

  • male: 23,858 (50.7%)
  • female: 23,157 (49.3%).

Most of the Turkish community is young, with the largest cohorts aged from 0–14 (20.1%) and 25–34 (17.0%).

Insights for communication and engagement

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

  • The Turkish community is well established in Victoria, with many people arriving between 1971 and 1980.
  • The community has medium levels 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.
  • Radio and print can help reach the many older Türkiye–born people who live in Victoria.
  • For placed–based activities, the north–western and northern suburbs are where the majority 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 Turkish community live Melbourne’s north–western and northern suburbs.

The City of Hume is home to one of the largest Turkish communities in Victoria with 16,550 people. The City of Merri–bek is next with 3,653 people.

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

Local government areaPopulation
Greater Dandenong1,820
Moonee Valley1,171

Türkiye-born population

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


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

  • Turkish (15,218)
  • English (1,867)
  • Armenian (301)
  • Greek (256)
  • Kurdish (194).

English language proficiency

The Türkiye–born population in Victoria has medium levels of English language proficiency:

  • 59.5% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 29.7% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 10% of the population speak English only.


The Türkiye–born population identify with the following religions.

  • Islam (71.7%)
  • Oriental Orthodox (1.7%)
  • Eastern Orthodox (1.5%)
  • no religion (17.9%).

Years of arrival

There are two significant points of arrival for the Türkiye–born population: 1971–1980 and 1981–1990. Most of the population arrived in Victorian during this time.

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage
1951 to 1960540.3
1961 to 19702,14311.5
1971 to 19804,62224.7
1981 to 19903,43518.4
1991 to 20002,73514.6
2001 to 20102,43213
2011 to 20151,0135.4
2016 to 20211,6849.0


In Turkish culture, names usually follow this order: [Given name] [Family name]. It is common for women to take on their husband’s family name at marriage or add it onto the end of their own. People are often addressed by their first name followed by ‘Bey’ for men and ‘Hanim’ for women. For example, ‘Mustafa Bey’ and ‘Miray Hanim’.

Significant dates

The following are some key dates of significance:

  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – 23 April
  • Labour and Solidarity Day – 1 May
  • Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day – 19 May.
  • Democracy and National Unity Day – 15 July
  • Republic Day – 29 October.

Sources of information

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