July 3, 2012 – Melbourne, Victoria – The United Macedonian Diaspora Australia (UMD Australia) congratulates the entire Australian-Macedonian community on the increased participation of Macedonians in the Australian Census of August 2011.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics initial results released last week, there was an increase of close to 10,000 Australians who identified with ‘Macedonian’ ancestry – 93,570, compared to 83,978 in 2006. Meanwhile, 68,849 Australian residents were listed as speaking the Macedonian language at home, compared to 67,833 in 2006. Finally, a total of 40,222 indicated they were born in Macedonia, compared to 40,656 in 2006.
“The official numbers have increased for two main reasons. Firstly, many young Macedonian families are having up to three children, and, secondly, Macedonian non-governmental organisations such as UMD Australia, and other organisations such as AMHRC, have campaigned strongly to spread the news about the importance of the census,” stated UMD Australia Director Ordan Andreevski.
Despite the increases, UMD Australia believes that the real figures are almost double. “According to our estimates, the Macedonian population in Australia is no less than 200,000*. Although we are encouraged, we must continue to work hard in upcoming years to get more participation from our community,” added Andreevski. “One reason for the discrepency is that the Australian Census identifies only one second language of the respondents. Therefore, if a person is multi-lingual, only one language other than English is identified, and many Australian-Macedonians are multi-lingual. Another major reason is that many Macedonians self-identify simply as Australians.”
Many of the Macedonians who arrived over a century ago to Australia leading up to the 1950s originated from the Aegean part of geographic Macedonia in today’s Greece. This region was annexed by Greece in 1913 with the Treaty of Bucharest. Due to past family experiences in Greece, and Greek ethnic cleansing, assimilation and discrimination policies, many of these individuals and their descendants still fear of stating themselves as Macedonians, even when living overseas such in places like Australia. As a result, 3rd, 4th, 5th and beyond generations of Macedonians are difficult to capture.
UMD Australia expressed gratitude to all Australian-Macedonian organisations, Macedonian Orthodox parish communities, and media for working so hard to spread the importance of the Australian Census to Australian-Macedonian households. UMD Australia also expressed gratitude to every Australian-Macedonian who participated in the Census.
Reference: Jupp. J. (2001) The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins. Cambridge University Press
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