Australian regions and territories have had the largest net influx of onshore migrants in two decades, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has said.
According to the ABS, Australian regions welcomed a net 43,000 new arrivals from the capital cities in 2020 – more than double the number of new arrivals in 2019.
This is the largest net inflow of people moving to Australian regions since ABS started recording internal migration numbers in 2001.
The increased number of net migrations to regional Australia shows that not only have more people moved to the Australian regions and territories, but also that an increasing number of people have opted to stay behind in the country’s regions after relocating there from the metropolitan areas previously.
Speaking on this increased net internal migration, ABS demographer Andrew Howe said that while a loss of people from the metropolitan areas to the regions has been seen before, this is the first time that such a high number of Australians are staying in the regions.
This is the complete opposite to the internal migration pattern that has been seen for decades – people leaving Australian regions and territories to move to the capital cities.
Mr Howe also said that the migration patterns for cities such as Melbourne have been out of the ordinary in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns having an impact on the flow of people to the regions.
Last year, Greater Melbourne had a net loss of 26,000 people. In comparison, there was no net migration loss of people in 2019, while more people arrived in Greater Melbourne than those who left in 2018.
Moreover, Sydney also lost around 30,000 people to Australia’s regions and territories in 2020, said Mr Howe.
Among the regions to have a net migration gain, Queensland was the most popular destination, with approximately 30,000 people moving to the sunshine state last year, making it the highest net gain of internal migrants Queensland has had in more than 10 years.
In addition, Western Australia, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania also had net migration gains in 2020.