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Vietnamese community profile

Information about the Vietnamese 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 Vietnamese community in Victoria is well established and there have been two waves of migration.

The first wave was in the 1970s and 1980s. At the end of the Vietnam War, Victoria became home to many Vietnamese refugees. Many people from resettlement camps based in South–East Asia also arrived at this time.

Victoria was a popular destination because of several migrant hostels in Melbourne’s south– eastern and western suburbs. Many of these suburbs (including Footscray, Springvale and Richmond) became hubs of Vietnamese culture and businesses in Victoria.

The second wave of migration was because of the family reunion scheme. In 1982, the Australian and Vietnamese governments agreed to a migration program for family reunion. Two thirds of arrivals over the next few years were women.

From the 1990s onwards, there was a steady wave of Vietnamese people arriving in Victoria because of the family reunion scheme. Brimbank and Greater Dandenong are now the top two local government areas for the Vietnamese community in Melbourne.

Vietnamese community

The Vietnamese community in Victoria is one of the largest in Australia. There are 121,137 people in Victoria who have Vietnamese ancestry, of which 93,598 were born in Vietnam.

The gender breakdown is:

  • male: 55,909 (46.2%)
  • female: 65,228 (53.8%).

Most of the Vietnamese population is young, with the largest cohorts aged from 0–14 (19.6%), 25–34 (17.8%), and 15–24 (16.1%).

Insights for communication and engagement

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

  • The Vietnamese community is well established in Victoria, with many arriving between 1981 and 1990.
  • 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.
  • Most Vietnamese people in Victoria are aged between 15–34 years old, so digital channels like social media may be the best way to reach them.
  • For place–based activities, the south–eastern and western suburbs are where the majority of the community lives.

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 Vietnamese community live in Melbourne’s south–eastern and western suburbs.

The City of Brimbank is home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities in Victoria with 32,861 people. The City of Greater Dandenong is next with 17,653 people.

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

Local government areaPopulation
Brimbank 32,861
Greater Dandenong 17,653
Maribyrnong 9,680
Whittlesea 5,026
Melton 4,645
Monash 4,154
Melbourne 3,625
Wyndham 3,442
Moonee Valley 3,358
Darebin 3,295

Vietnam–born population

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


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

  • Vietnamese (78,505)
  • Cantonese (8,512)
  • English (4,130)
  • Mandarin (686)
  • Min Nan (461).

English language proficiency

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

  • 56% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • 39% of the population say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 4% of the population speaks English only.


The Vietnam–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Buddhism (45%)
  • Catholicism (19.6%)
  • no religion (29.6%).

Years of arrival

There are two key points of arrival to Victoria for the Vietnam–born population. The majority (27.9%) of the population arrived from 1981–1990 and 1991–2000 (17.3%).

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage


In Vietnamese culture, names typically follow this order: [Family name] [Middle name] [Given name]. However, many Vietnamese people living in English–speaking countries have adapted their names to the Western style. In casual settings, Vietnamese people usually address each other by their given (personal) names. They also use honorific titles, which consider factors like gender, age, and social relationships. These titles are typically related to family, like ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’.

Significant dates

Vietnamese people follow the lunar calendar. Most of the religious celebrations are based on this.

The following are some significant dates:

  • Lunar New Year – 1st day of the 1st Lunar Month (Jan/Feb)
  • Ancestor’s Day – April
  • Commemoration of the Fall of Saigon – 30 April
  • Doan Ngo – June
  • Wandering Souls Day – the 15th day of the 7th lunar month
  • Lantern Festival – 15 August in lunar calendar.

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).