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Nguyens Set to Conquer Australia's Cities

With over 4,000,000 Viet Kieu, it’s not surprising that Vietnamese culture has made its way across the globe. Vietnamese culinary heroes, such as Pho to Banh Mi, have been popularized from Sydney to New York. But there’s one Vietnamese export that’s taking Australia’s metropolitan areas by storm - Nguyens.

According to demographer and social commentator, Bernard Salt:

“Nguyen will [overtake Smith] in Melbourne and Sydney within 10 years. It signals the difference between the city and the bush.”

Though only the 13th most popular family name in Australia, there are strong concentrations of Vietnamese in the country’s urban centers.

Ancestry.com.au and White Pages Online 2013 show that Nguyen is the third most popular last name in Sydney, second in Melbourne and seventh in Adelaide. Tuoi Tre found that not only is the Nguyen surname growing in Australia, but globally as well:

“A report published by The World Geography in 2012 showed Nguyen is the 4th most common surnames in the world after Li or Lee, Zhang, and Wang of China. “The prevalence of Nguyen as a family name in Vietnam extends to outside of the country where many Vietnamese have emigrated. Nguyen is the 54th most common in France. In the United States, it is the 57th most common family name according to the 2000 Census, as well as the most common exclusively Asian surname,” the report said.”

The Nguyens, Vietnam’s last dynasty, was in power from 1802 (when Emporer Gia Long defeated the Tay Son Dynasty) to 1945 (when Bao Dai abdicated the throne). Like the mass religious conversions of Europe, many took the Nguyen name to avoid persecution.

[Tuoi Tre // Mic Nguyen]

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