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Internal migration data shows how Australians reacted to COVID and to working from home trends - featured image

Internal migration data shows how Australians reacted to COVID and to working from home trends

Here's a quick data update about net internal migration figures in Australia.

These are migration figures that do not take into account overseas migration, and that does not look at natural increased deaths over births.

So we are just looking at the population movements from one Australian state to the next, from one Australian capital city to the next, and we have quarterly data available for the first quarter of 2021, which we can compare with the first quarter of 2020.

Internal migration data shows how Australians reacted to COVID and to working from home trends

We're moving more

The first observation is we have seen a 19% increase in internal population movements — people moving from one place to the next.

This is largely driven by the increased opportunities to work remotely, and we do see that the age group that is moving the most are the 25- to 44-year olds, the young families.

These are people that are leaving their current place of residence potentially to move to the regions.

The regions are the big winners of this movement.

So, that is the first observation.

We then also see that the places that people are leaving are Sydney and Melbourne.

It is not very surprising that people are leaving Sydney at scale, people are always leaving Sydney.

Sydney is what we call a 'launchpad suburb': people that come from overseas always move into Sydney first, then they get to know the rest of Australia exists as well and then eventually move on to other places.

So, therefore we always expect reasonably high negative internal migration figures for Sydney, and in fact, these figures for Sydney have not changed between 2020 and 2021.

People are leaving Sydney at a usual normal rate.

This of course does not take into account the current lockdown in Sydney.

The data about Melbourn is much more interesting.

Moving The HouseIt is in fact true that more people are leaving Melbourne than in the last year, and we have approximately the same number of people choosing to move into Melbourne for employment, for education opportunities, but we have more people leaving Melbourne than before.

Why are people leaving Melbourne and where are they going?

The fastest-growing area that people are leaving Melbourne for is regional Victoria, and the people that are leaving Melbourne to go to regional Victoria are those 25-44-year-olds.

These are young families, these are people who were used to live in inner-city apartments in Brunswick, in Fitzroy, that are starting families now and that all of a sudden need three- to four-bedroom homes and that all of a sudden are able to work from home, to work remotely.

So they choose to move to regional areas that are in the commuting belt, roughly speaking of Melbourne, so that they can if need be returned for one or two days per week to Melbourne's CBD.

So these are just very quick, rough overviews of what is happening in net internal migration within Australia but this is the kind of data that we need in order to understand more geographical details for any given area in Australia.

We can now analyze this a bit more, and we can understand the drivers of population change, the drivers of property prices in these areas.

Here you can find the original data source of the ABS and study it by yourself.

About Simon Kuestenmacher is one of Australia’s leading demographers, co-founder of The Demographics Group, a regular media commentator, a columnist for the Australian and one of the world’s Top 50 Influencers in Data Science.
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