The historical trend of the Fijian Diaspora in Australia, overall, has been one of a constant rise. In regard to the 2006, 2011 and 2016 censuses, data shows that the Fijian Diaspora in Australia has risen from 67,314 in 2006, to 98,472 overall in 2016. This number converts to around 11% of Fiji’s internal population. In descending order, the population share in each state is: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania.
Of this 98,472, there are 61,469 first generation Fijian migrants living within Australia, of which there were 28,368 males, and 33,105 females. This is a 7.8% growth from the 2011 census’ numbers. While the overall number of first generation Fijians is rising, the rate of arrival from the peak period of 1986-1995, has declined at a rate of 20%.
Of those identifying as Fijian through ancestry there were 37,003 in the 2016 census. This is a growth of 55.67% from the 2011 figures. While this is a tremendous amount of growth between censuses, it could be accounted for through increased community organizations and outreach programs connecting with individuals that had no longer identified as Fijian, or indeed the change in census processing, allowing for hyphenated identities, so this growth may not reflect the reality.
The parental breakdown for the Australia wide figures of 37,003 are as follows; 28,800 identifying as Fijians who had both parents born overseas; 3,711 with only their father being born overseas, 2,390 with only their mother being born overseas; 1,458 having both parents born in Australia; and 1,363 identifying their ancestry as Fijian but not specifying where their parents were born.
Hence, there is a sharp decline in identification as Fijian in the 2nd and further generational diaspora. It could be that many individuals either no longer identify as Fijian after having both, or one, of their parents born in Australia, and they become more detached from their ancestral culture. It may also however be the case that the census question on this aspect of identity and ancestry does not have enough scope or ability to measure the whole of those that are Fijian by ancestry, rather only those who explicitly identify as such.
Both demographic groups of the diaspora are highly centralized on the urban centers of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. This is likely due to the economic opportunities present in the employment sectors that Fijians, and those that identify as such, mainly find themselves in, i.e. social care, manufacturing and construction work. However significant changes have occurred in Western Australia and in the Northern Territory in this regard. In line with the mining boom, though now slowing, many Fijians are moving to both for the economic opportunities present, resulting in a large increase of both first generational and ancestral Fijians. Tasmania has in fact experienced a decline in first generational Fijians, in line with the trend of most migrant ethnicities leaving Tasmania, due to the high cost of living and the lacking employment opportunities present. Ancestral Fijians have risen in Tasmania, but likely only because of the changing of census procedure and community organisations. South Australia and ACT have both experienced significant growth, but largely due to the small initial base being boosted by this change in census procedure.