3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 1997-98  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/1999   
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  • Overseas migration makes up half our population growth (Media Release)


February 24, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Overseas migration makes up half our population growth

The 1997-98 preliminary estimate of net overseas migration was 106,200 people, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report released today. Net overseas migration contributed just under half of Australia's population growth for the year.

The three components of net overseas migration in 1997-98 were net permanent movement (45,300 people), net long term movement (33,800 people) and category jumping (preliminary estimate 27,100 people).

Net permanent movement comprised 77,300 settler arrivals in 1997-98, 10% less than the previous year, and 32,000 permanent departures. People born in New Zealand have made up the largest group of new settlers from 1995-96 and in 1997-98 they formed 19 per cent of all settlers, followed by those born in the United Kingdom (12%), China (6%) and South Africa (6%). The number of South African settlers peaked in 1986-87 (4,700 people), declined in each year to 1992-93 (1,000 people) and has risen since.

In 1997-98 long-term movement comprised 188,100 long-term arrivals and 154,300 long-term departures. About half of long-term arrivals were young students. About one-third of Australian residents who left Australia on a long-term basis were planning to work overseas.

The report shows that the future impact of net overseas migration on the ageing of the Australian population is minimal. If net overseas migration fell to 70,000 by 1999 and then remained constant, the median age in 2051 would be 44-46 years. With no net overseas migration, the median age in 2051 would be 47-49 years.

Over the last five years the number of overseas-born residents has increased by 340,500 (8%) to 4.4 million at June 1998. However, throughout the 1990s the proportion of Australian residents born overseas has been steady at 23% of the total population.

People born in the United Kingdom continue to be the largest birthplace group, making up 6% of the total population. Regions in Perth had the highest concentrations of people born in the United Kingdom.

The New Zealand-born are the second largest group with 2% of the total population. The Gold Coast had the highest concentration of New Zealand-born people.

The most rapidly growing birthplace groups during 1997-98 were those born in Singapore (a 17% increase to 35,900), Indonesia (a 15% increase to 55,000) and the United States of America (a 9% increase to 61,300).

Queensland experienced the highest net interstate migration gain of any State during 1997-98 of 18,000 people, an 11% fall on 1996-97. Victoria gained 1,210 people during 1997-98, after experiencing net interstate migration losses for more than 20 years. Western Australia's net interstate migration gain was lower than the previous year, declining from 6,190 to 4,730. All other States and Territories recorded net interstate migration losses in 1997-98.

Details are in Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0) available from ABS Bookshops. Main features of the publication may be found on this site.