South Korean Culture

South Koreans in Australia

Up until 1991, both South and North Koreans were counted as ‘Korean' in the Australian census. The Korean population in Australia was quite low up until the late 1960s when the White Australia Policy was softened. At the end of the Vietnam War (1975), many Koreans working for military contract firms moved to Australia. Some were granted permanent residency status and an increase in sponsored migration. From 1986 to 1991, there was a significant rise in Korean migrants, many coming under the skilled and business migration categories.


More than half of the Korea-born population in Australia has arrived within the last ten years. This includes students seeking educational opportunities in Australia. According to the 2011 census, just over half (53.1%) of the Korea-born population who are employed work in either a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupations. Indeed, families often work together in small business and will pool their capital together to purchase a home, particularly in Victoria.


About half of the Korea-born population identifies with some form of Christianity (at least 54.1%). Within Australia, many members often see Korean churches as a focal point of Korean culture and assists in maintaining traditions through dance, language, and cuisine. The Korean community also flourishes through language schools, Korean language broadcasts on SBS and the several Korean magazines and newspapers around the country.

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South Korea
  • Population
    [Census, 2015]
  • Language
    Korean (official)
  • Religion
    No Religion (56.9%)
    Protestant Christianity (19.7%)
    Buddhism (15.5%)
    Catholic Christianity (7.9%)
    [Census, 2015]
  • Ethnicity
    Korean (96%)
    Foreign nationals (2.7%)
    [Census, 2015]
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Korean Ancestry
    123,017 [Census, 2016]
Koreans in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in South Korea.
  • Median Age
    32 [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (46.9%)
    Female (53.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (38.9%)
    Anglican Christianity (32.1%)
    Christianity [not defined] (5.9%)
    Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity (5.9%)
    Other Religion (11.5%)
    No Religion (2.3%)
    Not Stated (2.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Korean (95.0%)
    English (2.1%)
    Australian (1.0%)
    Chinese (0.7%)
    Other Ancestry (1.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Korean (90.1%)
    English (8.7%)
    Mandarin (0.3%)
    Other (0.6%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 66.2% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (56.1%)
    Queensland (16.8%)
    Victoria (13.7%)
    Western Australia (5.5%)
    Other (7.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (46.4%)
    2007 - 2011 (23.5%)
    2012 - 2016 (25.3%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country South Korea