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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1995  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/1995   
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Contents >> Population >> Population Distribution: Internal migration

Population Distribution: Internal migration

In 1993 Queensland had a record net gain of 53,000 people from interstate, while Victoria had a record net loss of 32,000 people.

The most significant factor affecting the changes in population distribution in Australia is people's tendency to move. 43% of Australians moved house between 1986 and 1991. However, most of these moves were over relatively short distances. 30% of all people who changed address between 1986 and 1991 moved within their statistical local area (which generally corresponds to their local government area or suburb). Another 56% moved within their state/territory, usually within the same city. Only 14% of people who moved went interstate.

MIGRATION PATTERNS, 1993

Interstate arrivals
Interstate departures
Net interstate migration
Net overseas migration
Total net migration
State
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

NSW
81.6
97.8
-16.1
15.0
-1.1
Vic.
49.1
80.6
-31.5
7.7
-23.8
Qld
113.0
60.0
53.0
4.0
57.0
SA
24.6
28.7
-4.1
1.8
-2.4
WA
27.5
26.9
0.6
5.4
6.0
Tas.
10.0
11.9
-1.9
0.1
-1.8
NT
15.5
16.9
-1.5
0.5
-0.9
ACT
18.6
17.0
1.6
-0.6
0.9
Total
339.7
339.7
. .
33.9
33.9


Source: Estimated Resident Population; Labour Force Survey

Estimates of internal migration

The ABS uses three methods for estimating the number of people who move over a specified period.


Each Census of Population and Housing since 1971 has asked for current address and address five years before. Until 1986, address one year before was also asked but this was replaced with a question on state of residence one year before in the 1991 Census. These data are used to produce estimates of gross and net flows over a one or five year period. They are, however, the net effect of a series of moves. A person who moved interstate and then returned to their original address will be shown not to have moved at all over the period.


The ABS also derives annual estimates of net migration for statistical local areas (SLAs) by subtracting the natural increase (births minus deaths) from the estimate of annual population growth of each SLA. Quarterly estimates of interstate migration are derived from Medicare change of address registrations.



Interstate migration

10% of the population in 1991 had lived in a different state/territory, or overseas, in 1986. However this varied between states. Only 7% of the populations of Victoria and South Australia in 1991 had moved there from another state/territory, or from overseas, in the previous five years. Other states had much higher proportions moving; 27% of the population of the Northern Territory, 25% of the population of the Australian Capital Territory, and 14% of the population of Queensland had moved there in the previous five years.


Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia had more interstate arrivals than departures. Queensland had nearly twice as many arrivals (113,000) as departures (60,000). Three-quarters of the net interstate migration to Queensland (53,000) came from Victoria (21,000) and New South Wales (20,000). Queensland gained population from every state in 1993 while Victoria lost population to every state.


While 33% of all interstate movers moved to Queensland, only 12% of net migration from overseas went to Queensland. New South Wales and Victoria attracted the largest numbers of overseas migrants, together accounting for 67% of net migration to Australia.


Queensland has had the largest population growth due to interstate migration of any state since 1971. Net interstate migration to Queensland averaged 14,000 a year in the early 1970s, rising to 49,000 in the early 1990s. Over the same period, Victoria had a net loss of population in each period, with annual average losses ranging from 8,000 in the early 1980s to 28,000 in the early 1990s.


New South Wales has had a net interstate loss in each period since 1971. This loss has been larger than the loss from Victoria except in the late 1970s and early 1990s.

NET INTERSTATE AND OVERSEAS MIGRATION, 1993

State moved to

State moved from
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

New South Wales
. .
-6.1
19.9
0.2
1.1
-0.1
0.1
1.1
Victoria
6.1
. .
21.1
0.3
1.8
0.2
0.9
1.1
Queensland
-19.9
-21.1
. .
-4.0
-3.0
-1.8
-1.9
-1.3
South Australia
-0.2
-0.3
4.0
. .
0.4
0.1
-0.1
0.2
Western Australia
-1.1
-1.8
3.0
-0.4
. .
-0.3
-0.1
0.1
Tasmania
0.1
-0.2
1.8
-0.1
0.3
. .
-0.1
0.1
Northern Territory
-0.1
-0.9
1.9
0.1
0.1
0.1
. .
0.2
Australian Capital Territory
-1.1
-1.1
1.3
-0.2
-0.1
-0.1
-0.2
. .
Net interstate migration
-16.1
-31.5
53.0
-4.1
0.6
-1.9
-1.5
1.6
Net overseas migration
15.0
7.7
4.0
1.8
5.4
0.1
0.5
-0.6
Total net migration
-1.1
-23.8
57.0
-2.4
6.0
-1.8
-0.9
0.9


Source: Estimated Resident Population; Overseas Arrivals and Departures
ANNUAL AVERAGE NET INTERSTATE MIGRATION

State
1972-76
1977-81
1982-86
1987-91
1992-93
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

New South Wales
-16.0
-6.9
-12.1
-23.5
-16.7
Victoria
-9.7
-12.5
-7.9
-13.2
-27.8
Queensland
14.3
20.9
16.6
34.3
49.0
South Australia
1.9
-3.6
-1.6
-0.3
-3.1
Western Australia
4.7
2.2
3.6
2.7
0.9
Tasmania
-0.9
-1.1
-0.2
0.2
-1.4
Northern Territory
-0.2
1.2
0.3
-1.6
-1.7
Australian Capital Territory
5.9
-0.3
1.3
1.5
1.5


Source: Estimated Resident Population


Distribution of interstate movers

Because capital cities contain large numbers of people and are the main employment base in each state/territory, they also attract large numbers of interstate movers and overseas migrants. Areas outside the capital cities also attract large numbers of interstate movers, and smaller numbers of overseas migrants.


Most moves are of relatively short distances, people moving within their local area or within their city. Long distance moves are much less common. People who live near borders such as those living in Tweed Heads, the Gold Coast, Albury or Wodonga are more likely to move interstate than others.


Areas where regional centres are in a different state from their region also have high levels of interstate mobility. For example, Broken Hill is in New South Wales, but has a high level of movement to and from South Australia. Similarly, the Australian Capital Territory attracts and supplies many movers to and from the surrounding areas of southern New South Wales. Central Australia also has a relatively high number of interstate movers despite the small population in the area.


While Queensland attracts large numbers of interstate movers, they tend to congregate in the south east corner of the state, especially along the coast. 70% of the Queensland population lived in the south east corner of the state in 1991, yet 78% of people who moved to Queensland settled in that area between 1986 and 1991.


DISTRIBUTION OF INTERSTATE AND OVERSEAS ARRIVALS, 1986-1991



Each dot represents 100 people moving into a statistical sub-division
Source: Census of Population and Housing




Areas with declining population

Overall, population growth in Australia in 1992-93 was 1%; 0.8% was due to natural increase, i.e. the excess of births over deaths, and 0.2% to net overseas migration. However, there was considerable regional variation in these figures. At the regional level net migration is composed mainly of internal migration and its effect varied from a gain of 9% in part of Caboolture shire in Queensland to a loss of 4% of the population in Whyalla, South Australia.


The areas with the largest population decline in 1992-93 differed considerably in their population characteristics. In Whyalla, 30% of employed people worked in manufacturing basic metal products in 1991. Reductions in employment at the BHP smelter in Whyalla have significantly reduced employment opportunities, and so people have moved away in search of better prospects.


Weston Creek and Belconnen have a relatively large number of people in their 20s. These people, who have grown up in the area, are forming new households and moving away to other areas. Recent large residential developments in the Australian Capital Territory have also attracted people away from the older areas.


The decline in Glenelg (in Victoria) reflects that experienced in many rural areas around Australia over the past few decades. A number of factors have contributed to this rural decline. Goods once produced in the local area are now produced in centralised locations and transported around. Increased personal mobility has also resulted in services being centralised in larger towns, reducing employment and therefore population in local centres. Technological changes in agriculture have reduced agricultural employment, and this has flowed through to other industries
1.

The inner areas of Australia's capital cities have a high proportion of older people, and consequently, a low rate of natural increase. Large parts of these areas have been redeveloped for non-residential use and the areas have therefore had a net loss of population
1.
AREAS WITH THE MOST RAPID DECLINE IN POPULATION(a) 1992-93

Largest industry, 1991

Population 1992
Natural increase
Net migration
Total growth rate
Industry
Employment
Statistical sub-division
'000
%
%
%
%

Whyalla (SA)
26.3
1.0
-4.2
-3.1
Manufacturing basic metal products
30.2
Weston Creek (ACT)
26.7
0.8
-2.5
-1.8
Public administration
23.3
Glenelg (Vic.)
43.1
0.4
-1.9
-1.5
Agriculture
22.9
Central Metropolitan (WA)
142.3
0.1
-1.5
-1.4
Health
13.1
Belconnen (ACT)
89.2
1.1
-2.1
-1.0
Public administration
22.2
Central Canberra (ACT)
60.6
0.5
-1.4
-0.9
Public administration
21.0
Northern Middle Melbourne (Vic.)
190.7
0.5
-1.4
-0.9
Retail trade
12.7
Macalister-Avon (Vic.)
29.2
0.9
-1.8
-0.9
Retail trade
13.9
Inner Western Sydney (NSW)
153.1
0.3
-1.1
-0.8
Retail trade
12.7
Far West (NSW)
28.1
0.5
-1.4
-0.8
Mining metallic minerals
16.4
Total Australia
17,489.1
0.8
0.2
1.0
Retail trade
14.1


(a) Statistical Sub-divisions with a population greater than 25,000.
Source: Estimated Resident Population; Census of Population and Housing



Capital city migration

Overall, between 1986 and 1991, the capital cities had a net loss of 116,000 people to the rest of the country. This was made up of a net loss of 78,000 people from the capital city to other areas of the same state, plus 38,000 to non-capital city areas of other states.


Between 1986 and 1991, Sydney had a net loss of 139,000 people to other areas of Australia. About half of this movement (68,000) was to other areas of New South Wales, especially coastal areas. There was also a large net migration to other capital cities (35,000), especially Brisbane (22,000) and Perth (6,000), and to other areas of other states, especially south east coastal Queensland.


There was a large net migration of people from Melbourne to other areas in Victoria (20,000). The net migration from Melbourne to other states was most likely to go to areas other than the capital cities.


Brisbane had a net gain of 46,000 people, with about 73% of this coming from other capital cities. The rest of Queensland had a net gain of 79,000 people, with 66% of this coming from capital cities other than Brisbane.

NET INTERNAL MIGRATION PATTERNS, 1986-1991

Internal migration to capital city from
Internal migration to rest of state from


Other states
Other states


Rest of state
Capital
Other
Total Australia
Capital city
Capital
Other
Total Australia
State
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

NSW
-67.6
-34.8
-36.2
-138.7
67.6
-10.5
-11.7
45.4
Vic.
-20.4
-6.9
-20.5
-47.8
20.4
-6.5
-11.3
2.5
Qld
-0.9
33.9
13.1
46.2
0.9
52.4
25.8
79.1
SA
3.8
-0.9
0.5
3.4
-3.8
-0.8
-3.1
-7.7
WA
4.6
9.8
3.1
17.5
-4.6
1.4
1.7
-1.5
Tas.
2.4
-0.1
-0.2
2.2
-2.4
1.3
-0.9
-2.0
NT
0.0
-1.5
-0.7
-2.2
0.0
0.2
-0.5
-0.3
ACT
. .
0.4
3.3
3.7
. .
. .
. .
. .
Total
-78.0
0.0
-37.6
-115.6
78.0
37.6
0.0
115.6


Source: Census of Population and Housing


Endnotes

1 Hugo, G. (1989)
Atlas of the Australian People Bureau of Immigration Research.



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