3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 1998-99  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/02/2000   
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February 29, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Net overseas migration at record level in 1998-1999

In 1998-99, Australia gained 117,300 people through net overseas migration, the highest gain since 1989-90, according to preliminary figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today. Net overseas migration contributed just under half of Australia's population growth for the year.

Of the 84,100 settlers who arrived in 1998-99, one in five had been born in New Zealand and one in 10 in the United Kingdom. People born in China were the next largest group (7%).

There were 35,200 permanent departures in 1998-99. Nearly half of these were Australian-born residents, the highest number on record. The United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States of America stood out as the most popular destinations for the Australian-born leaving permanently. Of overseas-born people leaving permanently, two-thirds returned to their country of birth.

In 1998-99, there were 119,900 long-term visitor arrivals (staying 12 months or more). Education was the most common reason for this group to visit Australia (45%). The main countries of residence of long-term visitor arrivals were the United Kingdom (13%), the United States of America and New Zealand (each 8%), Indonesia (7%) and Japan (6%).

Of the 82,900 Australian residents departing long-term in 1998-99, one-third went to the United Kingdom, while one in ten went to the United States of America. One-third left for employment reasons, and one-quarter for a holiday.

At June 1999, there were 4.5 million overseas-born residents in Australia. While the number of overseas-born residents has increased by 9% over the last 5 years, from 4.1 million at June 1993, the proportion born overseas has remained steady at about one-quarter of the population.

Of the overseas-born population, the largest groups continued to be those born in the United Kingdom (26%), New Zealand (8%) and Italy (5%).

1999 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Australian citizenship. The 1996 Census showed that 68% of overseas-born people had taken up Australian citizenship.

About 2% of the population (358,400) moved interstate in 1998-99. Queensland was the State with the largest net interstate migration inflow during 1998-99 (17,200). New South Wales was the State with the largest net interstate migration outflow (14,300) in the same year.

Overseas migrants who arrived during 1991-95 were more likely to move interstate than within the same State in 1995-96. Some 2.3% of these migrants moved out of the capital cities (mostly to interstate destinations) compared to 2.1% for the Australian-born during the same period.

Details are in Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0), available from ABS Bookshops.

To find out how to purchase a copy of this publication, telephone the ABS Bookshop or ABS switchboard in your capital city (listed under Australian Bureau of Statistics in each capital city telephone directory).