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Moving and Migration Statistics Australia

With 43% of people aged 15 years and over having moved in the last five years, the moving industry represents a surprisingly large part of the Australian economy. Australians represent one of the most mobile populations in the world.

Moving and Migration Statistics Australia

Whether thanks to life transitions such as moving for work, education or a relationship, or moving due to illness or disability (or just because of a desire to downsize) that is more commonly seen in older people, a significant number of people move locally in Australia. Here are the facts and figures on Aussies moving around Australia.

Internal Migration in Australia 2021 - Quick Facts

  • In 2018-19, there were 404,000 interstate movers - a year on year increase of 2.9%
  • 76,200 people moved interstate within the September quarter of 2020, with capital cities having a net loss of 11,200 people due to internal migration
  • 56% of Australians under the age of 30 were still living at home in 2017 - an increase of 9% when compared to young Australians in 2001
  • Just over 40% of Australians move every five years, more than twice the worldwide average
  • 85% of Australians who move each year stay within the same state.
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  • Queensland is the most popular interstate moving destination amongst Australians, with almost 100,000 arrivals from 2015-16

Queensland interstate arrivals

  • In 2015-16, the Australian state with the most outbound movers was NSW, which saw over 100,000 departures
  • The most common internal migrations in Australia involve moving away from Sydney

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  • In 2017, the most common reason for moving between states was work - this marks a significant shift from 2002, where family was the most common reason
  • 25-29 year olds are the age group most likely to be recent movers, based on 07-08 ABS data

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  • The percentage of young people aged 20-34 living with their parents increased to 23% in 2006, from just 19% in 1986.
  • Based on 06-07 data, 46% of the Australians leaving home before their mid 30s returned home at least once
  • Between 1901 and 2016, the United Kingdom has consistently remained as the top country of birth of new Australian arrivals
  • In 2015-16 professional migrants found that Australia was the fourth most popular moving destination, behind France, the UK, and the US
  • In 2005, 60% of people moving house moved a distance of less than 10km
  • There are approximately 14,000 removalist companies in Australia

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  • The Australian removalist industry is worth $2 billion AUD annually
  • 45% of the Australian moving industry’s income can be attributed to interstate and long-distance transport, while 29% is from local moving
  • The biggest expense within moving companies can be attributed to wages ($1.2b AUD of $2b AUD).

Australia's Migration Trends By State

Looking at Australian migration statistics on a state by state basis, significant insight can be made into the shifting popularity of a number of areas within the country.

Highest - Lowest States by Arrivals and Departures in 2015-16

Here are the Australian states ranked from highest to lowest regarding internal migration arrivals and departures - evidently, NSW sees the most traffic in and out of the state, whilst TAS sees the least.

  1. NSW
  2. QLD
  3. VIC
  4. WA
  5. SA
  6. ACT
  7. NT
  8. TAS

Highest to lowest states by arrivals and departures

Changes in State Population due to Internal Migration 2018-19

  • QLD: 22,831
  • VIC: 12,198
  • TAS: 2,008
  • ACT: -194
  • SA: -3,958
  • NT: -4,371 
  • WA: -6,451 
  • NSW: -22,063

Changes in state population

The most popular migration is evident in relocating to Brisbane and other areas in QLD. Based on this data, approximately 75% of NSW leavers are headed to QLD, with the majority of the remainder moving to VIC.

Australian Migration Statistics and Figures By Capital City

Interestingly, whilst Sydney records the highest population losses due to internal migration, the city records the second highest population growth amongst Australian capital cities, due to natural population growth and overseas migration.

Changes in Overall Population by Capital City

Changes in overall population

Evidently, the only capital city in Australia to see a decrease in population between 2018-19 was Darwin, where outbound internal migration outweighed both natural population growth and overseas migration.

Destinations of Sydney Departures, 2018-19

The largest group of outbound movers within Australia are leaving Sydney - here are the most popular destinations of Sydney's outbound movers.

  1. Central Coast: 3,678
  2. Gold Coast: 3,136
  3. Mid North Coast: 2,192
  4. Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven: 2,156
  5. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie: 1,704
  6. Sunshine Coast: 1,683
  7. Hunter Valley (excluding Newcastle): 1,682
  8. Richmond-Tweed: 1,653
  9. Illawarra: 1,368
  10. Inner Melbourne: 1,285
  11. Capital Region: 1,223
  12. Central West: 1,180

Destinations of Sydney departures

Reasons For Moving Amongst Movers in 2007-08

When it comes to the reasons why people had moved in 2007-08, the results varied across categories of housing, employment, family, lifestyle and other. In addition, these results saw further variation based on the age and position within life of each person. Overall, these are the main reasons for moving more generally:

  • Housing reasons: 47.3%
  • Wanting a bigger home: 16.2%
  • Purchased their own property: 14.4%
  • Wanted a smaller home: 2.7%
  • Employment reasons: 10.5%
  • Family reasons: 32.5%
  • Recent marriage/moving in with partner: 7.5%
  • Breakdown of relationship: 4.0%
  • Lifestyle change: 8.9%
  • Other: 6.0%

Reasons for moving

Tendency to Move Based on Position in Life

  • Young households without children: 90%
  • Single parents with children: 59%
  • Parent couples with children: 45%
  • Older households without children: 17%

Tendency to move based on position in life

Australian Population by Country of Birth

In 2019, every country in the world was present within the Australian population. Notable insights include:

  • England represented the largest overseas group within the Australian population, at 986,000.
  • The second largest overseas group within the Australian population was China, at 677,000.
  • The third largest overseas group within the Australian population was India, at 660,000.
  • The number of Australian born people within Australia was 17.8 million, a figure which saw an increase of 186,000 throughout 2019.

Relocation and Global Moving Trends

  • On average, an American will move almost 12 times throughout their life.
  • Overall, US moving rates are declining - around 50% as many people move on a yearly basis when compared to 1960s moving rates.
  • The US moving industry employs approximately 122,600 people.
  • In 2018, the biggest moving day in the US was June 1.
  • 83% of moving Americans move within the same state.
  • It is estimated that there are approximately 50,000 moving trucks within the US.


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