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MATE 2 – Migration

You can download this activity, the teacher solutions and the assessment rubric as a rich text file (RTF) at the bottom of the page.

    Subject Area



    This activity guides students through how to use the interactive graph of migration data. Changes in Estimated Resident Population, Median Age and Sex Ratio for 25 countries of birth is investigated for the period 1996 - 2009.


    Internet connection
    Copy of student worksheet


    Working with Google Motion Charts


    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects information on a range of topics including population. In this activity you will look at data about the median age and sex ratio of Australian residents from 1996 to 2009. You will also use Google motion charts provided through ABS Education Services to look for interesting statistics related to Australian residents’ country of birth.

    The following table and graphs show sex ratio and median age for residents born in Australia.

    We can see from the table and from the graph that the median age of people who were born in Australia increased from about 30 years in 1996 to over 33 years in 2009. In other words in the 13 years from 1996 to 2009 the median age for this group rose by 3.3 years. This is a rise of about 0.25 of a year or 3 months for every year.
    Sex ratio is defined as the number of males for every 100 females. In 1996 there were 98.3 males for every 100 females. By 2009 this had increased to 99.2.

    In this activity you are going to use an ABS interactive graph to look at different representations that show changes in sex ratio and median age of residents whose country of birth is not Australia.

    Classifying countries

    1. Open the ABS classification of countries on Place each of the following countries in alphabetical order under its correct heading: Bangladesh, Burma, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Korea Republic of, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, UK
    Note: SAR is Special Administrative Region
    Understanding the Google Motion Chart default settings

    Go to the ABS Education Services homepage and in the Data, Stats and Graphs rectangle select Population Datasets and Interactive Graphs. Next click on the Interactive Graph icon for Population 1. This graph, using Google Motion Charts, allows you to run median age and sex ratio data as a bubble graph, column graph or a line graph. It uses data from the top 25 countries of birth for residents born outside Australia. Note that the data on Serbia is included for 2006 to 2009 only.
    The view at the right uses the following default settings:

    Type of Graph: Bubble

    Colour: Unique colours

    Size (of bubble): Population

    Select countries: None selected

    Trails: Not selected

    X axis: Median age

    Y axis: Sex Ratio

    Scale: Linear

    Year: 1996

    In this view we can see bubbles of varying size and colour. The larger the bubble the bigger the population. The largest orange dot represents the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. If you hover the curser on the dot, its name will appear and you can read that, in 1996, the number of residents born here was 1,164,140. You also see that the median age of people born in the UK was 48.8 and the sex ratio was 102.
    If you click on the dot its name will attach.
    2. What other information can we read from the graph?

    a) The second largest dot is yellow. Name the country, how many residents were born there, the median age and sex ratio. Present this information in a sentence.
    b) Provide the same information for the dot in the uppermost left hand corner.
    c) Describe the main ways that the UK population varies from the Nepalese population?

    Changing the default settings

    3. Now let’s see what we can discover when we change the default settings.

    a) In the drop down list for 'Colour', change the setting from 'Unique Colours' to 'Population'. Name the countries from where the third and fourth largest populations of Australian residents were born.

    b) Press the play button to run the animation. Describe how the top four countries by population change in the years 1996 to 2010. Make sure those countries are labelled to make it easier to see.

    c) For 2010, reading from the x scale (median age) what were the three countries with the highest median age? Using the classification of countries, comment on any regional pattern you notice.

    d) Reading from the y scale (sex ratio) what were the three countries with the highest sex ratio? Comment on any regional pattern you notice.

    e) Select the second tab on the top of the graph and change the graph type to column graph. You will see that this change affects the axes titles. In the drop down list for the y axis change the setting from ‘Sex Ratio’ to ‘Population’. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this view?

    f) Change the graph to the line graph. If you need to change the viewing window click on the lines of any countries you can’t see in full or click on the spanner icon. What information does this graph show more clearly? Describe one or two interesting features that could lead to further investigation.

    g) Change the y axis to Sex Ratio. Click on Nepal and the next two highest sex ratios in 2010. Also click on the lowest value. Click on the spanner in the bottom right of the screen and change the slider to 0% opacity. How does this change the display?

    h) Select two of these countries and describe how the sex ratio has changed over from 1996 to 2010.

    Migration Patterns

    The table below shows ERP for 1996 and 2009 as both raw number and as percentage.

    i) Look at the percentage increase in ERP. Describe any regional pattern in the countries with the 10 greatest increases and those with the 10 lowest increases (or greatest decreases).


    Student Worksheet

    Teacher Solutions

    Assessment Rubric

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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