2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Jan 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Australian Social Trends is an annual publication that presents information on contemporary social issues and trends in Australian society. It draws on the wide range of statistics from the ABS, including census data, and data from other official sources. Each year, Australian Social Trends provides a compendium of articles about topical social issues. The latest edition includes a number of articles that focus on the size and distribution of our population. One of these articles examines what has been called the "Seachange" phenomenon.

In recent years, researchers have identified an increasing tendency for people to move to coastal regions. The article uses census data to examine the characteristics of those who moved to a high growth coastal region in the year prior to the 2001 Census.

People move for many different reasons, including seeking a better climate, finding more affordable housing, looking for work, retiring from work, wanting a more pleasant environment, and wanting to be closer to family and friends.

The expansion of coastal development has implications for these communities, including increased pressure on existing infrastructure and the environment.

In contrast to the common perception that most people moving to coastal areas come from the capital cities, the largest proportion of new residents in high growth coastal areas were from other large population centres. New residents aged over 55 years, the ages associated with retirement, were most likely to have come from capital cities. However, older people retiring to the coast is not generally such a dominant source of coastal population growth as is often believed.

People who had recently moved to these high growth coastal areas had a much higher unemployment rate than longer term residents, probably reflecting the difficulty of finding work in a new area. Employed new residents were more likely to work in the Accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry than current residents, perhaps reflecting their initial job seeking success in an industry where work is commonly casual and part time.

More information on "Seachange" and many other social issues can be found in Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0).