Are Australia's suburbs swamped by Asians and Muslims? Countering political claims with data

Jim Forrest, Ron Johnston, Frank Siciliano, David Manley, Kelvyn Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)


Recent decades have seen substantial growth across many developed world countries of right-wing populist political parties whose policies oppose immigration and multi-culturalism as threats to the majority way of life there. These are exemplified in Australia by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, which was successful at elections there at the turn of the twenty-first century and again in 2016. Part of this party’s rhetoric focuses on the geography of immigrant groups in Australia’s cities, with claims that their members live in ghettos. Is that factually correct? Using data from the 2011 Australian census this paper analyses the distribution of Asians and Muslims (the two groups picked out by One Nation and its leader) at four spatial scales within the country’s eleven largest urban areas. It finds no evidence at all of intensive residential segregation of Muslims, and although there are concentrations of Asians – notably in Sydney and Melbourne – most residents claiming Asian ancestry live in neighbourhoods and suburbs where they form a minority (in many cases a small minority) only of the local population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-472
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Geographer
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


  • Immigration
  • Multi-culturalism
  • One Nation
  • residential segregation
  • Australian urban areas
  • Australia

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Are Australia's suburbs swamped by Asians and Muslims? Countering political claims with data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this