3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2003-04  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/09/2005   
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Australian resident


For migration statistics, Australian resident is self-defined as reported by travellers when completing an Incoming or Outgoing Passenger Card.


For estimated resident population statistics, the census year population estimates classify a person as an Australian resident if the person has (in the 1996 census) reported a usual address in Australia where the person has lived or intends to live for six months or more in 1996. The post-censal estimates, while based on the census data, are updated with international migration data that have a criterion of one year or more of intended stay in or departure from Australia. In the 2001 census, persons who usually live in another country and who are visiting Australia for less than a year, were classified as living in another country.


Category jumping


Category jumping was the name given to the adjustment made to the components of net overseas migration, when these were applied, up until the year ending 30 June 1996. Category jumping was set to zero for the years ending 30 June 1997 to 2001. With the interim method of adjusting these components, this adjustment is now known as overseas migration adjustment.


Category jumping was the term used to describe changes between intended and actual duration of stay of travellers to/from Australia, such that their classification as short-term or as long-term/permanent movers is different at arrival/departure from that after 12 months. For more information, see Chapter 6 "Special article: Adjustments to overseas migration estimates", from Migration, Australia 2002-03.


Category of movement


Overseas arrivals and departures are classified according to length of stay (in Australia or overseas), recorded in months and days by travellers on passenger cards. There are three main categories of movement:

  • permanent movements
  • long-term movements (one year or more)
  • short-term movements (less than one year).

A significant number of travellers (i.e. overseas visitors to Australia on arrival and Australian residents going abroad) state exactly 12 months or one year as their intended period of stay. Many of them stay for less than that period and on their departure from, or return to, Australia are therefore classified as short-term. Accordingly, in an attempt to maintain consistency between arrivals and departures, movements of travellers who report their actual or intended period of stay as being one year exactly are randomly allocated to long-term or short-term in proportion to the number of movements of travellers who report their actual length of stay as up to one month more, or one month less, than one year.


Estimated resident population (ERP)


The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.


Intercensal discrepancy


Intercensal discrepancy is the difference between two estimates at 30 June of a census year population, the first based on the latest census and the second arrived at by updating the 30 June estimate of the previous census date estimate with intercensal components of population change which take account of information available from the latest census. It is caused by errors in the start and/or finish population estimates and/or in estimates of births, deaths or migration in the intervening period which cannot be attributed to a particular source.


Long-term arrivals


Long-term arrivals comprise:

  • overseas visitors who intend to stay in Australia for 12 months or more (but not permanently)
  • Australian residents returning after an absence of 12 months or more overseas.

Long-term departures


Long-term departures comprise:

  • Australian residents who intend to stay abroad for 12 months or more (but not permanently)
  • overseas visitors departing who stayed 12 months or more in Australia.

Median age


For any distribution the median age is that age which divides the relevant population into two equal parts, half falling below the value, and half exceeding it. Where the age for a particular record has not been stated, that record is excluded from the calculation.


Migration adjustment


The ABS applies a number of adjustments to overseas arrivals and departures data in order to produce estimates of net overseas migration (NOM). These mainly comprise adjustments designed to reflect differences between stated travel intentions and actual travel behaviour, but (in the case of revised NOM estimates) also include adjustments to transform numbers of overseas movements into numbers of travellers. These adjustments are collectively referred to as 'migration adjustments', although they have been referred to in the past as 'category jumping' adjustments.


Natural increase


Excess of births over deaths.


Net interstate migration


The difference between the number of persons who have changed their place of usual residence by moving into a given state or territory and the number who have changed their place of usual residence by moving out of that state or territory during a specified time period. This difference can be either positive or negative.


Net overseas migration


Net overseas migration is net permanent and long-term overseas migration, adjusted for change in traveller duration intention and multiple movement error.


Overseas arrivals and departures (OAD)


Overseas arrivals and departures (OAD) refer to the arrival or departure of persons, through Australian airports (or sea ports), which have been recorded. Statistics on OAD relate to the number of movements of travellers rather than the number of travellers (i.e. the multiple movements of individual persons during a given reference period are all counted).


Overseas migration adjustment


See Migration adjustment.


Permanent arrivals


Permanent arrivals (settlers) comprise:

  • travellers who hold migrant visas (regardless of stated intended period of stay)
  • New Zealand citizens who indicate an intention to settle
  • those who are otherwise eligible to settle (e.g. overseas-born children of Australian citizens).

This definition of settlers is used by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). Prior to 1985, the definition of settlers used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was the stated intention of the traveller only. Numerically, the effect of the change in definition is insignificant. The change was made to avoid the confusion caused by minor differences between data on settlers published separately by the ABS and DIMIA.


Permanent departures


Permanent departures are Australian residents (including former settlers) who on departure state that they are departing permanently.


Rate of population growth


Population change over a period as a proportion (percentage) of the population at the beginning of the period.


Short-term arrivals


Short-term arrivals comprise:

  • overseas visitors who intend to stay in Australia for less than 12 months
  • Australian residents returning after a stay of less than 12 months overseas.

Short-term departures


Short-term departures comprise:

  • Australian residents who intend to stay abroad for less than 12 months
  • overseas visitors departing after a stay of less than 12 months in Australia.

State or territory of usual residence


State or territory of usual residence refers to the state or territory of usual residence of the estimated resident population.


In the case of overseas movements, state or territory of usual residence refers to the state or territory regarded by the traveller as the one in which he/she lives or has lived. State or territory of intended residence is derived from the intended address given by settlers, and by Australian residents returning after a journey abroad. Particularly in the case of the former, this information does not necessarily relate to the state or territory in which the traveller will eventually establish a permanent residence.