Australia: The Long-Run Decline in Internal Migration Intensities

Martin Bell, Thomas Wilson, Elin Charles-Edwards, Philipp Ueffing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Lying towards the top of the international scale in migration intensity, Australia has seen migration rates fall across all spatial scales since the 1970s. The chapter starts by discussing the data that are available to study migration and the adjustments made to allow long-term comparisons using consistent geographies. It then explores temporal and geographical trends before considering the impact of changes in age structure on migration rates. The chapter finds that short-distance moves started to decline in the early 1980s and inter-state migration since the 1990s. Latterly, the sharpest declines have been for long-distance moves. There is less population redistribution between different types of area. It is concluded that the ageing of the population accounted for about 20% of the fall but that migration was being delayed as young adults delayed key life events. Other factors suggested as explaining the decline included decreasing housing availability and affordability and greater evenness and stability in the Australian space economy, slowing GDP growth during and after the Great Recession is argued to have also reduced migration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternal Migration in the Developed World
Subtitle of host publicationAre we becoming less mobile?
EditorsTony Champion, Thomas Cooke, Ian Shuttleworth
Place of PublicationAbingdon, UK
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781315589282
ISBN (Print)9781472478061
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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