2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2016
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Internal migration is the movement of people across a specified boundary within Australia for the purpose of changing their place of usual residence. Information on internal migration within Australia is available from the Census.
The Census asks a series of questions relating to each person's usual address. The indicative data from these questions are recorded as the Usual Address Indicator Census night (UAICP), Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P) and Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P).
Using the following variables, it is possible to identify the change of address of people for one year prior to the Census date, and for five years prior to the Census date:
Data collected in the Census only reflect movements which coincide with these particular points in time (i.e. one year ago and five years ago) in the intercensal period, even though there may have been multiple movements during this period.
Household mobility indicators are also derived using this information. Note that persons temporarily absent, visitors, and households containing only visitors, are excluded from these variables. The following two indicators are available for Census data:
The data for place of usual residence are used mainly in conjunction with household mobility indicators for detailed internal migration studies.
Such studies must be undertaken carefully, the points illustrated in the following cases should be noted.
Since the indicators are derived from usual residence at certain dates, only the net effects of any multiple movements between these dates can be derived. For example, John A Citizen was living in a South Australian rural area at the time of the 2011 Census. Six months later he moved to Melbourne for two years, and then to Adelaide where he was living at the time of the 2016 Census. Census data would only show the net South Australian country to city movement.
No movement is shown in the internal migration data for 'out and back' movements. For example, where a family move away from their place of usual residence to live elsewhere, then return before the end of the reference period to live at their previous address.
The ABS produces quarterly information on interstate migration in the publication Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). The data are derived from a combination of information that is acquired from the Census, and from unidentified information on interstate changes of address advised by Medicare Australia.
See also Usual residence.