Our diverse communities

We’re proud to be one of the country’s most diverse cities.


Why this is important to us

We value the contributions made by all people and believe that this diversity strengthens our city.

Sydney has long been a beacon of acceptance for people from Australia and all around the world. Some visit for a while and others stay for good. People from different walks of life come here to work, live and play.

We value and respect the range of identities, perspectives and experiences of our community, including people young and old, people with disability, people of diverse sexualities and genders, intersex people and those who have experienced advantage or disadvantage.

Our work with diverse communities aims to

  • build social cohesion, eliminate discrimination and mitigate disadvantage
  • actively remove barriers to inclusive participation faced by different people
  • promote relationships that are based on understanding and respect.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We value the city’s First Nations people, and the Gadigal of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of our local area.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations and language groups make up the land we call Australia. Each nation speaks a different language with its own distinct dialect and cultural beliefs.

People of diverse sexualities and genders and intersex people

The city is the epicentre of life, history and culture in Australia for people of diverse sexualities and genders and intersex people, and is home to the highest population of LGBTIQA+ people in Australia.

The City of Sydney’s 2018 Community Wellbeing Survey indicated that 21.3% of respondents identified as being part of our diverse LGBTIQA+ communities.

The City’s Social Programs Officer (LGBTIQA+) works in partnership with community partners to deliver programs, events and awareness raising activities throughout the year to support and celebrate our diverse communities.

  • We support Wear it Purple Day events which are supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive for young rainbow people.
  • We support Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration of trans pride and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a memorial for those lost during the year due to transphobic violence and abuse.
  • We celebrate Intersex Awareness Day, an annual day for promoting understanding, respect and inclusion for intersex people.

Our community partners include ACON, Inner City Legal Centre, Twenty10, The Gender Centre and the NSW Police Force.

Multicultural communities

We value Sydney’s multicultural communities and the varied languages, traditions, religious and spiritual practices of the people that call our city home.

The City of Sydney area is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in NSW and Australia. Almost 50% of our residents were born overseas, and 34.8% of people speak a language other than English at home. Most commonly spoken languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Spanish and Indonesian.

  • Our community profile provides demographic information about our residents, the area and each suburb.
  • Our Multicultural Advisory Panel provides advice about policies, programs and operations for culturally diverse communities.

International student communities

International students also make up a significant part of our communities and they contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of our area. 

As of January 2024, there were 227,903 international students in NSW. NSW is home to the most international students in Australia, and many of these students reside and/or study in our local area.

There are over 550 international education providers in our area. This includes universities, vocational and educational training providers, and other providers offering intensive English language courses for overseas students.

Refugees and people seeking asylum

Our city is a culturally diverse area that has become home to refugees and people seeking asylum from around the world.

The United Nations describes refugees as people who are outside their country of nationality and have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion.

A person seeking asylum has sought protection as a refugee, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been assessed. People seeking asylum in Australia have no guaranteed right to income, health care or settlement services while they wait for their claim to be determined.

Programs and initiatives

We have been an official refugee welcome zone since 2005, when Council declared its commitment to welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum in our area. This was also a commitment to upholding human rights, demonstrating compassion and enhancing cultural and religious diversity.

Every year we celebrate Refuge Week.

People with disability

We aim to make Sydney an inclusive and accessible city for everyone.

We endeavour to make the physical components of the city accessible and provide social and economic opportunities for people with disability to enable full participation in city life.

Support and funding

The City’s grants programs support the delivery of projects and events that respond to the needs and aspirations of our diverse communities.