Afghan Culture


Almost all Afghans living in Afghanistan are Muslim (99.7%). The current government is established as an Islamic republic; therefore, the moral code of Islam tends to govern the political, economic and legal aspects of an Afghan's life. This being said, not everyone in Afghanistan is strictly religious. For example, there are many Afghans who do not pray regularly.

There are two major denominations of Islam followed in the country: Sunni and Shi’a. These variations of Islam differ primarily in the way they have interpreted the succession of leadership in Islam. Their accounts of history differ following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. One’s ethnicity is presumed to determine which denomination a person belongs to.
  • Sunni (85-90%): The majority of Afghanistan is Sunni Muslim – including most Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks.
  • Shi’a (10-15%): Hazaras are the biggest Shi’a population of Afghanistan. Most belong to the Twelver sect; however, some are Ismaili. A Shi’a Muslim is also known as a Shi’ite.
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  • Population
    [July 2017 est.]
    Note: Statistical estimates on the population of Afghanistan may be unreliable.
  • Languages
    There are over 30 distinct languages spoken across the country. The most widely spoken are:
    Dari - including other Persian variants (80%)
    Pashto (47%)
    Uzbek (11%)
    English (5%)
    Turkmen (2%)
    Urdu (2%)
    [2017 est.]
    Note: Data represents more than 100% because many Afghans speak more than one language.
  • Religions
    Sunni Islam (85%)
    Shi'a Islam (14%)
    Other (0.3%)
    [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2017]
  • Ethnicities
  • Australians with Afghan Ancestry
    53,082 [Census, 2016]
Afghans in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Afghanistan.
  • Average Age
    30 [Census, 2011]
  • Gender
    Male (61%)
    Female (39%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Islam (91.1%)
    Not Stated (6.9%)
    No Religion (1.3%)
    Other (0.8%)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Ancestry
    Afghan - nondescript (66.3%)
    Hazara (16.3%)
    Not Stated (9.3%)
    English (2.0%)
    Other (6.1%)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Dari (50.3%)
    Hazaragi (20.7%)
    Persian [excluding Dari] (12.1%)
    Pashto (7.2%)
    Other (9.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 64.6% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2011]
  • Diaspora
    Queensland (34.8%)
    New South Wales (31.3%)
    Western Australia (13.7%)
    South Australia (11.5%)
    Other (8.7%)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 1996 (9.5%)
    1996 - 2005 (23.4%)
    2006 - 2015 (61.1%)
    2016 (3.4%)
    Not stated (2.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
    Note: Arrivals up until 9 August 2016.
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