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Australian Bureau Of Statistics

Interstate Migration Continues To Slow South Australian population growth

Victor P Taffa

South Australia continues to lose people to other states at a greater rate than it gains them, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

After hitting a twenty-year low in 2005-06, the number of South Australians moving interstate has increased with about 26,300 departing in 2008-09. Net losses have increased in the six years to 2008-09. The average annual net loss over this time was more than 3,600 people.

Since 1971-72 there have only been 4 years when South Australia had positive net interstate migration (ie more people arrive than leave). The largest gain was 13,000 people in 1974-75 driven by people relocating after Cyclone Tracy.

The slow economic growth after the recession of the early 1990’s culminated in the largest annual net interstate migration loss from South Australia of 7,100 people in 1994-95.

Young adults (those in 20-39 year-old age group) have been the most mobile and accounted for almost half (47%) of all interstate movers in 2008-09. Capital cities are their preferred destinations.

However, the state has retained a higher proportion of the 20-39 year age group over the last decade compared to the 1990s. For this age group, more females than males were migrating interstate in the eight years to 2005-06. This trend has recently reversed.

People living in the south-east of South Australia were the most likely to move interstate while those living in statistical divisions which do not border other states were less likely to migrate interstate.

Queensland was the most popular destination overall, but older movers preferred Melbourne.

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