Has immigration into Australia peaked?- Pete Wargent

You know how statistics can be misinterpreted?

Well…an interesting release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics   has been reported as suggesting that Australia’s immigration having peaked.

Is it true?

Perhaps yes, but it’s also probably best not to get suckered into confirmation bias and to put the numbers into a bit of a wider context.

Mainly as a point of interest, short term visitors to Australia dipped a little in March to 561,000 having hitting a record high at end of last year:

short term visitors

All very interesting, but what we’re far more interested in is long-term arrivals and net long-term migration into Australia.

On a rolling 12 monthly basis, long term arrivals indeed dipped to ‘only’ 766,270.

This remains simply miles above Australia’s long term average figure.

The “populate or perish” notion has been around since World War II but interestingly it was only in the mid 1990s that we really started to see the massive annualised increases in long-term arrivals.

rolling 12m

Of course, some choose to depart these shores too, and the rolling 12 monthly long-term departures equivalent figure for March was 380,910.

Netting the two off against each other over the long-term and dropping the figures into a chart reveals the following trend:

rolling 12m

That is, net long term migration into Australia of 385,360 on a rolling annual basis. That’s huge.

It’s true that figure is down a little on the peaks we saw in January 2013 (411,000) and September 2009 (409,000), but it’s still a massive net long-term migration figure into Australia.

This is particularly so when it’s considered that the immigration is focused so heavily on only four capital cities. [sam id=40 codes=’true’]

Remember too that it’s estimated that in Australia there is one birth every 1 minute and 42 seconds as compared to one death only every 3 minutes and 36 seconds.

For that reason when the full demographic statistics are released for 2013 next month it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see that Australia’s population increase across the year by 400,000+ people to a total of around 23.3 million.

As of 8 May 2014, the ABS population clock estimates that the Aussie population is 23,481,800.

For what it’s worth, I’d be unsurprised to see the net long-term migration into Australia fall a little back towards the 300,000 level over the next couple of years.

It’s still impossible to describe that as anything other than very strong growth, though.


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Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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