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Trends in population mobility by type of move from the intercensal periods of 1986-1991 to 2001-2006 reveal that there has been little change in the overall pattern of moves over the period (Figure 2.2). The level of population mobility when compared between various censuses has remained around 40%.
The most common type of move recorded in recent censuses was a move to another SLA within the same SD, between 2001-06, 16.3 % of the population undertook this type of move compared to 16.6% between 1996 and 2001. The next most common type of move was within the same SLA, followed by a move to another SD within the same state or territory. About 5% of the total population aged five years and over moved interstate during the five years intercensal period of various censuses from 1986-91 to 2001-06.
MOBILITY BETWEEN STATES AND TERRITORIES
Between 2001 to 2006, about three quarters of a million people moved interstate at least once during the 5 years period based on data from the 2006 Census of a person's usual residence 5 years ago. Of all these movements, over one third left New South Wales, while only one fifth arrived in New South Wales from other states and territories. In comparison, less than one fifth left Queensland for other states and territories and one third arrived in Queensland from other states and territories (Table 2.3).
Analysis of the 2006 Census data indicates, that over the five year period (2001-06), the largest interstate migration movement was the 136,800 persons moving from New South Wales to Queensland. The second largest movement was the inverse of this, with 56,600 persons moving from Queensland to New South Wales. The next largest movement was those persons moving from New South Wales to Victoria (51,800 persons).
The states who made a net gain to their populations through interstate migration were Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia In contrast New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all recorded a net loss. The largest net gain of interstate moves was made by Queensland (121,000 persons). Tasmania and Western Australia also gained (4,700 and 600 persons respectively). The largest net loss through interstate migration was for populations in New South Wales (103,500 persons). South Australia and Victoria each lost (7,700 persons), followed by the Northern Territory (6,400 persons) and the Australian Capital Territory (500 persons).
MOBILITY BETWEEN STATISTICAL DIVISIONS
Internal mobility between Statistical Divisions (SDs) made a significant contribution to changes in the population distribution between 2001 and 2006. Figure 2.4 shows that net gains from internal migration between 2001 and 2006 were mostly recorded for SDs along the eastern coastline of Queensland and New South Wales and the south-west corner of Western Australia. The capital cities of Brisbane, Perth and Hobart also recorded net gains. On the other hand, net internal migration losses mainly occurred in the rural inland and remote areas of Australia and from the capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra.
As with the two previous intercensal periods, the largest net gains between 2001 and 2006 were recorded in Brisbane (42,800), Gold Coast (29,300) and Sunshine Coast (20,500) in south east Queensland (Table 2.5). In Queensland, unlike the previous intercensal period (1996-2001), Wide Bay-Burnett gained significantly (15,800). Significant net inflows were also registered by South West (10,800) in Western Australia and Mid-North Coast (10,300) in New South Wales. In terms of percentage gain, Outer Adelaide in South Australia (6.4%) and every SD in Tasmania recorded net gains between 2001 and 2006 in contrast to significant net migration losses between 1996 and 2001.
Sydney recorded the largest net migration losses between 2001 and 2006 (121,000), with the next largest loss recorded by North Western in New South Wales (6,500). In Victoria, Melbourne also experienced significant loss (18,700). In Queensland, the largest rate of net migration loss were recorded in Central West (12.1%) and North West (10.4%). In Western Australia, South Eastern experienced the largest loss (7.2%).
Capital city SDs
Table 2.5 shows that for most capital city SDs the total net migration gain or loss was largely due to the effects of interstate migration. Brisbane mostly gained population through net interstate migration (NIM), while Sydney and Adelaide lost population through NIM. Sydney was the only capital city to record a large net migration loss through both net interstate and intrastate migration losses. Melbourne also recorded losses through interstate and intrastate, but largely through intrastate migration. Adelaide also experienced losses both through interstate and intrastate migration. Perth was the only capital city to record some net migration gains through both interstate and intrastate migration. Greater Hobart, Darwin and Canberra recorded losses through interstate migration but gained through intrastate migration.
As with the past three intercensal periods (1986-1991, 1991-1996 and 1996-2001), patterns of net intrastate migration between 2001 and 2006 are evident between Sydney and Melbourne and the other capital cities. Both Sydney (54,500) and Melbourne (16,000) lost population through net intrastate migration to a number of surrounding SDs. However, in contrast to past patterns of net intrastate migration, Brisbane (1600) and Adelaide (3400) also lost population through intrastate migration to a number of surrounding SDs.
In New South Wales, the drift of population away from inland regions continued, with net intrastate migration losses being recorded by North Western (3,600) and Far West (200). In contrast, all the coastal non-metropolitan SDs gained through net intrastate migration. The largest net intrastate gains were registered in Mid-North Coast (15,600), Hunter (15,200), Richmond-Tweed (9,400) and Illawarra (8,000). The only SD to gain from NIM was South Eastern (1,200), which gained population largely from Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
Like New South Wales, the majority of Victorian SDs to lose population to other areas in the state were located in western Victoria, such as Mallee (1,700), Wimmera (1,300) and Western District (300). All other non-metropolitan SDs made net gains from within Victoria. The largest net intrastate gains were experienced in Barwon (5,400), Loddon (4,100) and Central Highlands (3,300), three SDs that border the SD of Melbourne. Goulburn and Gippsland also gained (2,700) each.
The non-metropolitan SDs in Queensland that recorded a net intrastate migration gains were Wide Bay-Burnett (5,600), Sunshine Coast (4,900), Northern (1,900), West Moreton (1,000) and Mackay (500).
In South Australia, Outer Adelaide and Yorke and Lower North were the only non-metropolitan SDs to experience net intrastate migration gains (6,900 and 600 respectively). Outer Adelaide was the only non-metropolitan SD to record NIM gains (500).
South West SD in Western Australia was the only non-metropolitan SD to experience a net intrastate migration gain (9,900). South West SD also made net gains from interstate migration (900).
In Tasmania all of the non-metropolitan SDs experienced a net intrastate migration loss, while all these SDs made net gains in interstate migration.
MOVEMENT WITHIN CAPITAL CITIES
There were about 4.0 million people counted in capital city SDs in 2006 who changed their place of residence between 2001 and 2006 (Table 2.6). Of these people, 80.6% (3.2 million) moved within their city. The proportion of people who moved within their capital city varied considerably between capital cities. Darwin was the only city where the proportion of moves from within Darwin (47.6%) was similar to the moves from interstate (40.9%).
Table 2.7 summarises the SLAs which recorded the largest net gains and losses to or from other SLAs within the same capital city between 2001 and 2006. In most cases, the SLAs which registered the largest net gains were located in the outer areas of the capital cities, while those that had the largest net loses were located in the inner and middle areas of the metropolitan regions.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MOVERS
As well as the impact of the volume of movement on state and regional population growth and distribution, the characteristics of the people who move into or out of a region affect the nature and structure of the region's population. For example, because movers are generally younger in age than non-movers, in regions which gain in population through internal migration there is usually a rejuvenation effect, while regions which lose population are usually subjected to more rapid ageing. An obvious exception to this is the ageing effect of incoming retirement flows in some local areas.
This last section discusses the movement propensities of people by four types of characteristics. These are age, sex, birthplace and Indigenous origin.
Mobility by age and sex
Mobility rates (the number of movers in each category divided by the total number of persons in each category) by age and type of move between 2001 and 2006 confirm previous findings from the 1996 and 2001 Census, indicating that there has been little change in the propensity to move between these two periods. Comparing all moves by age, the most mobile group were those people aged in their twenties, followed by children, who were likely to have moved with their families.
Figure 2.8 shows that not all movement types by age have the same pattern. Overall, the age group 25-29 years were the most mobile for all movement types and more likely to move interstate and to move to another SLA within the same SD or within the same SLA. Those around retiring age (ages 60-64 years) also tended to have a slightly higher propensity to move to another SD but stay within the same state.
While there was little difference in the overall mobility rate between males and females, there were distinct features across age groups (see graph 2.9). Females aged 25-29 years and below, as well as 75 years and over, had a higher propensity to move than males of the same age. Males aged 30-54 years had a higher propensity to move than females of the same age. The mobility rate for males and females aged 55-74 were very similar.
Women tend to leave home earlier than men, so women's mobility rates tend to be higher than men's in young adulthood, especially for those aged 15-24 years. As women tend to marry men older than themselves, and most moves are undertaken by families, women's age-specific mobility rates are very similar to men's but at a slightly younger age.
As wives are more likely to outlive their husbands and widowhood can be a catalyst to moving, in the older age groups women are more likely to move short distances, such as to nursing homes or hostels. The mobility rates for older men and women are very similar for longer distance moves (Table 2.10). This suggests that longer distance moves are more likely to be made by a couple.
Mobility by birthplace
The mobility rates of overseas-born residents are very high on arrival and for the first decade of their residence in Australia, a reflection that immigrants move early in their residence as part of the process of settling into their new environment. Table 2.11 shows however, that in the long term, the mobility rates of immigrants are lower than the Australia-born population. Age is a key driver lowering these mobility rates due to the fact that there is a much higher propensity to move at younger ages and that these earlier immigrants are now from the older age groups..
Of the 424,000 people recorded as being born overseas in the 2006 Census and who arrived in Australia between 1996-2000, 256,400 changed address since 2001. This represents a mobility rate of 60.5% which far exceeds the mobility rate of the Australia-born population (41.6%). The mobility rate for those who arrived between 1991-1995 was also higher (44.9%) than the Australia-born population. However, immigrants who had arrived in Australia before 1986, and who are now in primarily older age groups, had a mobility rate (28.9%) which was much lower than the Australia-born population (41.6%) as a whole.
The overseas-born, despite when they arrive, show similar patterns to the Australia-born population in that most moves are made within the same SLA and same SD. However, overseas-born people who arrived in 1996-2000 moved much more within the same SD (31.2%) than did the Australia-born population (16.1%). Since most overseas-born residents live in capital cities, most of these shorter distance moves would have occurred within capital cities. Recent immigrants who arrived in 1996-2000 made more interstate moves (6.0%), than the Australia-born (4.8%).
Figure 2.12 illustrates that the population of overseas-born people who have the longest residence in Australia (arriving before 1986) and are now generally in older age groups, closely resemble the age mobility rates for the Australia-born population. The mobility rates were highest for young adults and thereafter steadily declined.
Regardless of year of arrival, the most mobile age group for immigrants and the Australia-born population was the 25-29 year age group. For older ages there were major differences between recent immigrants (those who arrived in Australia since 1986), those immigrants who had arrived in earlier years and the Australia-born population.
One main difference was that recent immigrants had a much higher mobility rate at every age group than the Australia-born population. Further, the age mobility pattern for recent immigrants was considerably different to that of the earlier immigrants and the Australia-born population. Rather than showing rapid declines in mobility after the 25-29 year age group, the pattern for recent immigrants declined more gradually.
While mobility varies between the Australia-born and the overseas born, this variability is even more pronounced when compared by country of birth (Table 2.13). In a comparison of 21 countries of birth, there was a range of 40 percentage points in the mobility rates of the most and the least mobile birthplace population groups. Eight of the selected countries had a mobility rate higher than the Australia-born population even though the overall mobility rate for overseas-born (36.1%) was lower than that of the Australia-born (41.6%).
As observed in the 2001 Census, the findings of the 2006 Census also indicated that the most mobile group were born in Pakistan (54.0%) followed by New Zealand (53.4%). The mobility rate of those born in Pakistan was almost four times higher than those born in Italy (14.3%) and Greece (14.0%). The older age structure of those born in Italy and Greece (as indicated in Chapter 4 in Table 4.6) can assist with explaining their lower mobility rates, given that it is the younger age groups who have higher mobility rates overall.
Mobility by Indigenous origin
Census data also provides a further breakdown of population mobility within Australia with information on the movement of Indigenous Australians. However, it is important to note that there is significant volatility in census counts of the Indigenous population. This volatility can, in part, be attributed to changes in the propensity of persons to identify as being of Indigenous origin. For 2006 the census count of Indigenous people excludes people whose Indigenous status was unknown in the census. It was estimated there was a net undercount of 59,200 persons.
During 2001-06, 46.4% of Indigenous people changed their usual residence in Australia. Of all the interstate moves made by Indigenous people, 52.1% were made between New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. These states and one territory accounted for 83.2% of the total Indigenous population in Australia on Census Night.
The interstate movements by Indigenous people between 2001 and 2006 was in many ways similar to that of the total population. Table 2.14 shows that, as for the total population, the single most prevalent move for Indigenous people was from New South Wales to Queensland (19.4%), followed by moves from Queensland to New South Wales (11.1%). Net interstate migration of Indigenous people showed net gains for Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory with losses for all other states and territories.
It is generally assumed that Indigenous persons have a greater propensity to move than non-Indigenous persons (Taylor & Bell, 1996, P. 369). Both the original and standardised mobility rates presented in Table 2.15 support this assumption.
In the original series, 46.4% of the Indigenous population changed their place of usual residence between 2001 and 2006 compared to 40.2% for non-Indigenous persons. The original series also shows some variation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous by type of move. Indigenous people had a much higher propensity to move within the same SLA (that is, shorter distances) and to other SDs but in the same state, than non-Indigenous people.
While the above analysis on the original series has some use, it does not take into account the higher rate of movement which may be attributed to there being a higher proportion of Indigenous people in the mobile youthful age groups than non-Indigenous people. Standardising by age shows much less variation in the total movement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people (42.3% of Indigenous moved compared to 41.7% for non-Indigenous) as seen in Table 2.15. There remained significant variation for some movement types, particularly moves within SLAs and other SDs same state. The only movement type where the Indigenous people has a standardised mobility rate lower than the non-Indigenous people was for those who moved interstate with a rate of 4.3% and 4.7% respectively.
The reasons for Indigenous population mobility may be diverse. There may be linkages between mobility and Indigenous culture, income distribution, labour force participation, and other factors.
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