chapter  Chapter 17
12 Pages

The Multicultural Youth Australia Census

Reading complexity and migrant youth citizenship into survey methods
WithRimi Khan

In this chapter I describe a research partnership between university researchers and a number of institutions working with migrant young people. The project, Multicultural Youth Australia (MY Australia), sets out to conduct a census of multicultural youth in Australia and to produce data on their cultural, social and economic ‘status’. I highlight the complexities and limitations of the census method for researching multicultural youth, while also discussing how such a method constructs this cohort positively as advocates and citizens. The chapter argues for new approaches to reading census data, including paying closer attention to the materiality of the survey instrument itself and its encounters with research subjects. Despite its limited modes of categorisation, the survey is a crucial way of producing knowledge that makes the complexity of migrant young people’s lives intelligible to researchers, policymakers and young people themselves. The chapter argues that the MY Australia Census can be understood as a lively method that has the potential to produce new social and institutional relations and critical modes of citizenship and advocacy for migrant youth.