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Seachange - new coastal residents
HIGH GROWTH COASTAL REGIONS(a)
WHERE NEW RESIDENTS MOVED FROM
WHERE DID THE NEW RESIDENTS MOVE FROM?
There is a common perception that people moving to the coast come predominately from the capital cities, possibly because nearly two-thirds of Australians lived in a capital city in 2001.(SEE ENDNOTE 4) However, in the case of New residents in the high growth coastal regions, just under one-third had moved from a Capital City. A larger proportion, 42%, had moved from a Large Population Centre and 27% came from a Country Area. The majority (78%) of New residents had moved within their state or territory, the remainder had moved from interstate.
New residents of working age, 25-54 years, were most likely to have come from Large Population Centres (43%) and least likely to have come from Country Areas (25%). New residents aged 55-64 years, the ages associated with early retirement, were most likely to have come from Capital Cities (44%) and least likely to have come from Country Areas (24%). The origins of New residents aged 65 years and over, who would mainly have been retirees, were a little more evenly spread - 39% had come from a Capital City, 34% from a Large Population Centre, and 26% from a Country Area.
THE AGE OF NEW RESIDENTS
Age is one characteristic that is usually strongly related to mobility. Older people retiring to the coast are not generally such a dominant source of coastal population growth as is often perceived (though they may be so in particular locations).
New residents of high growth coastal regions have a younger age profile than the Australian population as a whole: young adults in their twenties accounted for 22% of New residents, and those in their thirties accounted for a further 17%. Young children were well represented, with 15% of New residents aged less than 10 years, while 13% were older children aged 10-19 years. Overall, 79% of New residents were aged less than 50 years, compared with 71% of the total population. This age profile is a common one among people who move - an over-representation of the young and a under-representation of older people (see Australian Social Trends 2003, Youth migration within Australia, pp.22-25). In contrast, the age profile of Current residents in high growth coastal regions was older, with 63% aged less than 50 years.
AGE DISTRIBUTION - 2001
The influx of young children and adults in their twenties and thirties is not sufficient to have a major impact on the relatively low proportions of Current residents in these age groups - as New residents only comprised about 11% of the usual resident population of the high growth coastal regions.
This younger age profile of New residents was most evident in the high growth coastal regions in the north of both Western Australia and Queensland (90% and 88% respectively were aged less than 50 years). The age profiles of the Current resident population of these regions were also relatively young (81% of Current residents of high growth coastal regions in the far north of Western Australia and 74% in the north of Queensland were aged less than 50 years). These are both vibrant tourist regions where job opportunities may be a particular attraction, along with the relatively remote tropical location.
FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
Moves are generally made in family units. An examination of the family characteristics of the New residents (in high growth coastal regions) reveals a number of differences between them and the Current residents - most of these differences are consistent with the younger age profile of New residents. Compared with the Current residents, a smaller proportion of New residents were partners in a couple family (42% compared with 52%); but more of them were likely to be aged less than 35 years and without children than Current residents. There was a higher proportion of group household members among the New residents (7% compared with 2%), as well as a slightly higher proportion of lone parents (6% compared with 4%) and lone persons aged 15-54 years (6% compared with 3%).
New residents had a labour force participation rate of 64%, about the same as the national figure and higher than that of Current residents, 56% - which is consistent with the younger age profile of New residents. However, based on the 2001 census, the 18% unemployment rate for New residents was considerably higher than the 8% for Current residents - a figure close to the national figure of 7%.
Employment and unemployment are strongly related to education levels and local employment opportunities. New residents in the labour force were slightly more likely to hold a bachelor degree or higher qualification than Current residents (15% compared with 12%) and these more highly qualified people represented only 5% of unemployed New residents. In contrast, 53% of New residents in the labour force had no non-school qualifications, but people from this group accounted for 68% of unemployed New residents.
The high unemployment rate among New residents aged 15 years and over is influenced in part by the relatively high unemployment rate of 23% among those aged 15-24 years, in combination with the younger age profile of New residents. New residents aged 55-64 years had a comparatively low labour force participation rate of 34%, but a high unemployment rate of 19%. The low participation rate is probably related to the presence of early retirees among this age group.
The high unemployment rates among New residents are probably related, in part, to the difficulty of finding work in a new area where newcomers may not yet have established the social networks that help in job seeking. Labour force surveys have identified the importance of family, friends or company contacts in finding work (see Australian Social Trends 2002, Searching for work, pp. 136-140).
Reflecting the industry base of these coastal regions, similar proportions of employed New and Current residents worked in Retail trades (17% and 18% respectively); Health and community services (both 10%); Manufacturing (9% and 10% respectively); Property and business services (10% and 9%); and Construction (8% and 9%). However, 11% of employed New residents worked in Accommodation, cafes and restaurants compared with 7% of Current residents, perhaps reflecting their initial job seeking success in an industry where work is commonly casual and part-time.
Other indicators show that, in comparison to employed Current residents, employed New residents were slightly less likely to be working part-time (33% compared with 36%), or to be self-employed (15% compared with 22%), and slightly more likely to work in a service industry (78% compared with 74%).
MAIN BIRTHPLACES OF OVERSEAS-BORN NEW RESIDENTS - 2001
New residents who moved to the high growth coastal regions were culturally similar to the Current residents - neither group were as culturally diverse as the total Australian population. Overall, 23% of Australians in 2001 had been born overseas. Among New residents and Current residents the proportions were 16% and 15% respectively. In addition, overseas-born people living in the high growth regions, both New and Current residents, were much more likely to have been born in predominantly English speaking countries than all overseas-born Australians. This is reflected in the two most common countries of birth, England and New Zealand - these two countries alone represented just over half of those New residents born overseas, compared with 29% of all overseas-born Australians.
Similarities in cultural characteristics between New and Current residents were also reflected in the smaller proportions who spoke a language other than English at home (5% and 4% respectively, compared with 16% of all Australians).
The overall proportion of New residents who were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin was 4%. However, New residents of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin were very unevenly distributed among the high growth coastal regions - they predominantly lived in the high growth regions on the north coast of Western Australia, and to a lesser degree, the north coast of Queensland. On the north coast of Western Australia, 16% of New residents were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, compared with 33% of Current residents.
1 Hugo, G 1996, ‘Counterurbanisation’, Population Shift: mobility and change in Australia, eds. Newton, PW and Bell, M, AGPS, Canberra.
2 Stimson, RJ and Minnery, J 1998, ‘Why People Move to the ‘Sun-belt’: A Case Study of Long-distance migration to the Gold Coast, Australia’, Urban Studies, vol. 35, no. 2, pp.193-214.
3 Hamilton, N and Cocks, D 1996, ‘Coastal growth and the Environment’, Population Shift: mobility and change in Australia, eds.Newton, PW and Bell, M, AGPS, Canberra.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Population Growth and Distribution 2001, cat. no. 2035.0, ABS, Canberra.