Where are the migrants to Australia coming from?

RP Data’s Property Pulse this week included a research article on population growth (the Property Pulse is delivered to RP Data subscribers each week). As a broad overview, Australia’s population growth rate over the 2012 calendar year was recorded at 1.75% – the most rapid rate of population growth in three years. There were an additional 394,200 new residents in Australia over the past year, 60% of which can be attributed to net overseas migration.Summary

With overseas migration being such a significant driver of population growth / housing demand, it’s worthwhile providing an update on exactly where most of these overseas settlers are coming from. As can be seen in the graph below, the vast majority of overseas migrants are (still) coming from the Oceania region (mostly New Zealand). Just over 34,400 long term and permanent migrants originated from the Oceania and Antarctica region over the year to April 2013, equating to about 23% of all migrants to Australia over the past year. Note that the Oceania and Antarctica region includes New Zealand, Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, etc), Micronesia (Guam, Nauru, etc), Polynesia (Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, etc) and Antarctica.

Southern and Central Asia is the region where the second largest number of migrants to Australia are originating from. Southern Asia includes countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka while Central Asia includes countries such as Afghanistan, Armenia and Kazakhstan. Over the past year there were 28,580 movements that originated from this region.

Number of migrants by region 2013

The ABS also provides a breakdown of migration movements across a selection of countries. Based on the graph below, it is clear that New Zealanders continue to be a primary driver of migration into Australia with 28,750 movements recorded over the past year. Chinese migrants are the second most populous at 17,790 movements, while movements from India (17,520) the UK (12,100), Philippines (6,760) and South Africa (4,750) are also large drivers of the migration flow.

Number by country of origin

Over the past decade there have been some substantial shifts in the number of migration movements. Flows from Oceania have risen from comprising 17.5% of all movements a decade ago to now comprise just fewer than 23%. Southern and Central Asian migration movements equated to 10.2% of all migration activity a decade ago and are now almost 19%. There has also been a substantial proportional lift in North East Asian migrants (11.5% in 2003 to 15.2% in 2013).

The regions where the proportion of migration flows have fallen are South East Asia (includes countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore) where migration flows now represent 14.6% of all movements compared with 16.4% a decade ago. Movements originating from North West Europe (counties such as England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden) now account for 10.5% of all movements, down from 15.8% ten years ago. Movements from North East Africa and the Middle East I(Sudan, Morocco, Egypt, Syria are some examples) have seen a decline in their proportion of migration activity as well, down from 10.8% ten years ago to 6.5% over the past year.

pc of migrants 2003 v 2013

There has been quite a bit of attention lately suggesting that housing demand from Asian nations, particularly China, has been rising in Australia; and based on the migration figures that is likely to be true (at least from a population growth perspective). For a variety of reasons there is much less attention placed on housing demand flowing from our easterly neighbours in New Zealand which accounts for a much larger flow of migration movements.

Another important factor to consider, especially for property industry professionals, is to ensure you know your target markets. With overseas migrants seeking out Australian housing, be it to buy or rent, think about the regions that are most appropriate and ensure you are communicating appropriately; translating research material is an obvious starting place (something that RP Data will be doing over the coming months).

About Tim Lawless

Tim heads up the RP Data research and analytics team, analysing real estate markets, demographics and economic trends across Australia

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One Response to Where are the migrants to Australia coming from?

  1. Leo Pardseel July 1, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Antartica?! Yay, bring on those penguins as they make a great salty snack.

    Seriously, when I’ve stopped laughing I’ll give this a proper read.

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