3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2005-06  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


The Summary Commentary section has been updated (29/03/2007 at 12:30pm) to reflect the 2005-06 information. This has not affected any other information in this release.


This publication brings together statistics on international migration into and out of Australia, interstate migration within Australia and information on overseas-born residents of Australia. Australia's migration is described in the context of the Government's migration program and in comparison with international migration experienced by other countries.


Overseas migration estimates for years up to and including 2000-01 in this publication are final. For the status of overseas migration estimates for later periods, refer to paragraph 10 of the Explanatory Notes.

Interstate migration estimates in this publication are final for years up to and including 2000-01 and preliminary for later periods.

Estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth is final for 30 June 2001 and earlier periods. ERP for 30 June 2002 to 30 June 2006 will be revised with the results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.


There are no changes in this issue.


What If...? Overseas Migration and Australia's Future Population looks at the effect of overseas migration on population projections. The article discusses how altering the levels of NOM affects the size and age structure of the projected population of Australia.

Country of Birth of Australian Residents - Some Recent Trends looks at selected countries of birth within Australia's resident population.


An improved method of estimating NOM has been developed (refer to paragraphs 11-12 of the Explanatory Notes). Information Paper: Improved Methods for Estimating Net Overseas Migration (cat. no. 3107.0.55.003), released on 10 February 2006, outlines the proposed changes. Improved estimates of NOM will be implemented in ABS population estimates in June 2007 with the release of the December quarter 2006 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). For further information relating to the improved method for estimating NOM, or the implementation of this method, see Information Paper: Statistical Implications of Improved Methods for Estimating Net Overseas Migration, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 3107.0.55.005), to be released on 26 April 2007, or contact Patrick Corr on Canberra (02) 6252 6411.


Due to changes in the methods used to adjust NOM estimates, caution should be used when comparing estimates over time.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Ian Appleby on Canberra (02) 6252 5406.



  • In 2005-06 Australia's population increased by 134,600 persons due to net overseas migration (NOM). This represented 51% of total population growth for the year.
  • Over the past two decades the percentage contribution of NOM to Australia's population growth has fluctuated from a low of 17% in 1992-93 to a high of 56% in 1987-88 and 1988-89.
  • Since 1997-98 permanent arrivals through the Skill Stream of the Migration Program have been consistently larger in number than permanent arrivals through the Family Stream as well as permanent arrivals through the Humanitarian Program.
  • Skill Stream migrants accounted for 45% of all permanent arrivals to Australia in 2005-06. In comparison, Family Stream migrants accounted for 26% and Humanitarian Program migrants accounted for 9%, while Non-program migration (consisting mostly of New Zealand citizens) comprised 19% of all permanent arrivals in 2005-06.

  • In 2005-06 NOM was 134,600 persons, an increase of 8.7% from the previous year (123,800 persons). Over the twenty years to 2005-06 NOM was highest in 1988-89 (157,400 persons) and lowest in 1992-93 (30,000 persons) (data for 2005-06 is preliminary; refer to the Technical Note in this publication).
  • Net long-term movement exceeded net permanent movement from 1999-2000. In 2005-06 net long-term movement and net permanent movement were 70,800 and 63,700 respectively.
  • Net permanent movement was the result of 131,600 permanent arrivals and 67,900 permanent departures. Net long-term movement was the result of 326,700 long-term arrivals and 255,900 long-term departures.
  • NOM made a positive contribution to the populations of all states and the Northern Territory in 2005-06. The Australian Capital Territory was the only state or territory to experience a negative effect on population due to NOM (-113 persons). New South Wales recorded the greatest gain (42,200 persons) followed by Victoria (38,600 persons).
  • Persons aged 15-34 years comprised 56% of all persons added to the Australian population through NOM in 2004-05. In comparison, 28% of Australia's population were aged 15-34 years at 30 June 2005.
  • Persons aged 0-14 years comprised 20% of NOM, compared with 19% of Australia's population in this age group. Those aged 65 years and over comprised less than 2% of NOM and 13% of the population.

  • In 2005-06 the number of interstate movers (342,500 persons) decreased by 4.6% from the previous year (358,800 persons).
  • Of the states and territories, Queensland recorded the largest net population gain due to net interstate migration (25,800 persons) in 2005-06 while New South Wales recorded the largest net loss (-24,000 persons).
  • Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia were the only states or territories to record average net gains due to interstate migration over the ten years to 2005-06 (25,700, 425 and 149 persons per year respectively).
  • New South Wales and South Australia recorded the largest average net population losses due to interstate migration over the ten years to 2005-06 (-20,300 and -2,600 persons per year respectively).
  • Persons aged 20-34 years accounted for 37% of all interstate moves in 2005-06, compared with 21% of the total population.
  • Persons aged 50 years and over accounted for 15% of total interstate moves in 2005-06.
  • The median age for interstate movers was 28 years in 2005-06.

  • At 30 June 2006 almost one quarter (24%) of the Australian population was born overseas.
  • People born in the United Kingdom accounted for 23% of all overseas-born persons in Australia's population, followed by New Zealand (10%) and Italy, China and Viet Nam (4% each).
  • The proportion of people in Australia's population born in the United Kingdom and Italy declined between 1996 and 2006, while the proportion born in China and New Zealand increased. The Viet Nam-born proportion remained steady.
  • The number of Australians born overseas increased by 1.5% per year on average between 1996 and 2006. This was higher than that of the Australia-born population (1.1%) and total population (1.2%).
  • Between 1996 and 2006, of the 50 most common countries of birth, persons born in Sudan recorded the largest average increase (27% per year), followed by persons born in Afghanistan (13%) and Iraq (10%). The largest declines in this group were persons born in Poland, Hungary and Italy (down 2% per year each).
  • Persons born in Southern and Central Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa recorded average increases of 6% per year, the largest growth of all major regions between 1996 and 2006.
  • The two regions of North-West Europe and Southern and Eastern Europe together accounted for nearly half of overseas-born residents in Australia at 30 June 2006 (30% and 17% respectively).
  • At 30 June 2001 Western Australia had the highest proportion of overseas-born residents (29%) of all states and territories, while Tasmania had the lowest proportion (11%).