2021 Census: Queensland continues to see the largest growth in interstate movers

Media Release

2021 Census data has shown that more people are moving to Queensland from other states and territories than to anywhere else in Australia.

In the five years before the 2021 Census, Queensland continued to record the largest net gain with more than 100,000 people moving from a different state or territory. This was followed by Tasmania with a net gain of over 15,000 people and the Australian Capital Territory with more than 10,000 people.

New South Wales saw the largest net loss with over 102,000 people moving out of the state, while just under 10,000 people left Victoria.

Mark Harding, Program Manager, Census said, “The 2021 Census asked questions about where people lived one year ago and five years ago.

“53 per cent of the population did not move home in the last five years. Of those who did move the majority (87 per cent) moved within the same state. Only one in ten moved to a different state.

“Census data captures the characteristics of people who’ve moved, allowing us, in turn to gain a better understanding of why they moved.

“The median age of people who moved within Australia between 2016 and 2021 was 33 years old, and they were more likely to rent than non-movers. Conversely, the median age of non-movers was 49 years old, and they were more likely to own their house outright or with a mortgage.

“This data suggests that people are moving for housing suitability and affordability as well as employment opportunities and then settling down later in life.”

The analysis also revealed an increase in people moving out of capital cities compared to previous Censuses.

Over the five-year period to 2021, there was a net loss of 160,100 people from Australia’s capital cities. This was a significantly greater loss than in 2016 and 2011, where there was a net loss of 43,000 people and 72,200 people, respectively.

The flow of people moving out of capital city areas to regional areas was intensified during COVID-19. In the one-year period before the 2021 Census, there was a net loss of 59,500 people from Australia’s capital cities, with Sydney experiencing a loss of 49,100 people.

The loss experienced for capital cities between 2020 and 2021 was almost five times greater than the loss between 2015 and 2016 (12,300). 

Read more of the ABS analysis in the article, ‘Population movement in Australia’ where you can also explore your local area in an interactive map.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Search for 2021 Census data through the QuickStats tool.
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