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Pasifika Communities in Australia: latest insights unveiled

Welcome to our report on the Pasifika Communities in Australia. Utilising the latest 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics census data, this analysis celebrates contributions and addresses challenges Pasifika communities face. 

Key report highlights

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Cultural richness and deep-rooted connections - Defined by APEN as those who share genealogical, spiritual, and cultural bonds with the Pacific region—including Aotearoa, New Zealand—Pasifika communities are fostering Australia's unique and vibrant cultural heritage.

Decade unveiled: Progress and trends - This analysis builds on Professor Jioji Ravulo's 2015 report on Pacific communities, examining trends of the last decade and emphasising education as a cornerstone for societal advancement. 

Rising demographics - The report highlights the significant increase in the population of Pasifika communities in Australia. There are 415,033 Pasifika individuals, an astounding surge of 165,000 since 2011. This burgeoning growth elevates the Pasifika population to comprise 1.6% of Australia's total population, a significant surge from their 0.6% representation in 2011.


Education pathways - The analysis shows encouraging progress in Pasifika engagement at all education

levels, resulting in a significant increase in Year 12 or equivalent completions since 2011. However, Pasifika individuals still primarily pursue certificate-level education on their path to higher education.

Economic landscape and workforce dynamics - Navigating economic disparities with resilience, Pasifika individuals in Australia continue to make their mark. However, persistent wage gaps exist despite comparable work hours. Dominance in health care, social assistance, construction, manufacturing, and postal and warehousing sectors is evident. Yet, more progress is needed in professional, education, training, scientific, and technical fields.


Nurturing families and fostering community - Pasifika communities reflect cultural values and show a nuanced shift towards smaller family sizes over the decade. Communal childcare responsibilities strengthen the sense of unity and mutual support.


Lifestyles and unity in diversity - The report highlights the tendency of Pasifika communities to live in larger, multi-generational homes as a reflection of their value for communal living and harmony. It is worth noting that Pasifika households with eight or more members exceed the average in Australia.


Informing inclusive policies for a harmonious future – The report underscores the imperative of place-specific insights, especially poignant in the Western Sydney region where Pasifika communities flourish. These insights are key to shaping policies attuning to these communities' unique needs and challenges, fostering inclusivity and societal cohesion.

Executive Summary

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of Pasifika communities in Australia based on the 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census. 

The Australian Pasifika Educators Network (APEN) define ‘Pasifika’ as peoples and communities who are genealogically, spiritually and culturally connected to the lands, the skies and the seas of the Pacific region (including Aotearoa New Zealand), and who have chosen to settle in and call Australia home.

This analysis seeks to track key trends that have emerged since the 2015 Pacific communities report published by Professor Jioji Ravulo based on the 2011 census. In accordance with the intent of the original report, this current version seeks to provide an understanding of the current demographic and socio-economic experiences of Pasifika communities, with a particular focus on education. This analysis covers population, education levels and employment patterns, as well as family and household characteristics, to not only shed light on the unique circumstances faced by Pasifika communities but also track key trends over the decade between 2011 and 2021. In addition, an examination of the Western Sydney region has been included, highlighting the significance of place-based insights into Pasifika communities towards informing policy responses and initiatives.



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educational needs

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Provide culturally appropriate social services

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accessibility to university education

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Address housing and affordability

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Intervene in barriers to higher education

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Strengthen data collection and research 

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Implement targeted employment support programs

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Implement targeted, place-based interventions

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