Commentary based on;
- March 2020 release of ABS Regional Population Growth 2018-19 data. This ABS publication is the main source of population updates for all Australian local areas each year.
- id blog from Demographic consultant Glenn Capuano (looking at population movement between Australian States to see who are the winners and losers in the internal migration game)
- .id economic profiles for Northern Tasmania
Population change has three main components: natural increase (births/deaths), internal migration (movement within Australia) and international migration.
ABS Regional Population Growth 2018-19 data shows that overseas migration to and from Australia in 2018-19, resulted in a net increase to Australia’s population of 239,600 people, and a net increase to Tasmania’s population of 3000. With our international borders currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no overseas migration, and if this continues for some time, it will have a significant impact on population growth throughout Australia. In particular, in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne where population growth is overwhelmingly supported by high overseas migration (Sydney gained 86,200 in 2018-19, and Melbourne gained 84,500 in 2018-19).
Internal migration or migration within Australia, is the net gain or loss of population through the movement of people from one state or territory to another. ABS data shows that during 2018-19, there were 404,000 Australians who moved interstate, an increase of 2.9% from the number of people who moved interstate during the previous year. Currently most State borders are effectively closed due to Covid-19 and this will limit internal migration, but these borders are likely to reopen well before international borders, and so internal migration is expected to recover sooner than overseas migration.
In some states and territories there are consistent long-term patterns of net gains or net losses from interstate migration, but in Tasmania, there has been a significant recent upswing. Over the 10 years to June 2019, interstate migration contributed to Tasmania’s population growth with average annual gains of 380 people. But the latest ABS data shows that in 2018-19, internal migration contributed 2008 people to the Tasmanian population. In Tasmania, we had a net gain of 1,431 people from NSW, 243 from WA, 215 from Qld, 155 from NT and 101 from SA.
What does this mean for Northern Tasmania?
The annual ABS updates don’t provide detailed internal migration figures at Local Government Area level in-between Censuses, but total population growth has been updated on our community and economic profiles, so we can get the latest numbers for our area there. A quick overview of our .id economic profile shows that:
- The ABS population estimate for Northern Tasmania as of the 30th June 2019 is 146,258. Since the previous year, the population has grown by 1,202 people.
- Northern Tasmania’s population has continued to grow since 2015 (see chart below).
- ABS data is consistent with Census data which highlights key sources for internal migration to Northern Tasmania are NSW, VIC, QLD & WA (see chart below).
- Northern Tasmania‘s migration profile (from census data) indicates that our population growth is largely made up of retirees (see chart below).
As a general rule, the national ABS figures show significant migration of young people (18-24year olds) from rural and regional areas into large cities such as Sydney & Melbourne. This is a strong trend in Northern Tasmania.
ABS figures also show substantial migration of adults and retirees from major cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) to coastal and interstate regional areas – much of this can probably be attributed to high housing costs in cities, and lifestyle attractors in regional Australia. In Northern Tasmania, a substantial number of our interstate migrants are retirees, but very few are working adults (25-54 year olds).
As NTDC continues to focus on increasing Northern Tasmania’s skilled working age population, the latest ABS population data reinforces that in the current COVID-19 environment:
- Programs designed to enhance Internal migration provide the best opportunity to contribute to population growth in Northern Tasmania.
- Our internal migration programs must focus on attracting working adults including remote workers, FIFO workers, young families, older families, couples, and small business operators.
To view the data for yourself, go to; http://economy.id.com.au/northern-tasmania