How multicultural is your suburb?

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Australia

Publishing organisation: SBS News (and translated into multiple languages by various other verticals at SBS Australia.

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-10-17

Language: English, Arabic, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Nepali, Punjabi, Dari, Slovak, Thai, Urdu, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional

Authors: Ken Macleod (Creative Developer), Charis Chang (Senior Journalist), Karin Zhou-Zheng (Designer), Kate Sullivan (Features Editor)


A small but mighty team!

Project description:

We know Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world; more than half the population were born overseas or have a parent who was.

But we wanted to let our audiences explore their own neighbourhoods specifically to understand this rich diversity: What countries do people come from? What languages do they speak? What religions do they follow?

Three interactives were built using data released in 2022 from the 2021 Australian Census and delivered with an article giving extra context and the voices of the people behind the data.

Not familiar with Australia? Try searching for Harris Park.

Impact reached:

This was the most-read article of the month across the SBS News website and app and in the top 10 most-read articles of the year. The story also received positive feedback from readers and was shared by Australia’s leading multicultural organisation.

Techniques/technologies used:

Data was gathered from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2021 Ce as a CSV file.
A shape file was downloaded for Australian suburbs, then simplified in Mapshaper.org and output as a geoJSON file.
A node script was written to combine the data for each suburb with the geoJSON file.
The new geoJSON file was then uploaded to Mapbox Studio, where the rules for country colours and map display options were applied.
A React app was coded that displayed the Mapbox map and added the location popups and suburb search functionality.

Context about the project:

This was a labour of love created from scratch by a small team including first and second generation migrants to Australia.

This data is available to the public but no other publishers did something like this with it.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Personalising data (ie to where you live) makes it much more appealing!

Project links: