Interstate migration converges. What does it mean for NSW and Queensland?
This week the ABS released its Australian Demographic Statistics. Despite an article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighting New South Wales’ net interstate migration loss, entitled “We’re out of here say hordes hankering for a state of satisfaction”, the data was noticeable for the continued decline in NSW’s net interstate migration loss.
The chart below shows interstate migration trends by quarter going back to 1981 for the nation’s three largest states.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
From 2007 onwards, NSW’s decline in interstate migration loss has been almost equivalent to Queensland’s decline in net migration gain. In fact, NSW appears to have been the main driver of migration to Queensland apart from the Victoria’s large outflows in the early 1990s (I was one of them).
What does this mean? As the chart shows, NSW traditionally loses people interstate. This is not so much due to economic factors, but because NSW is a first port of call for overseas migrants who then move elsewhere across the country. In recent years, the higher than usual loses to Queensland, can be attributed to economic factors. That means that if the NSW economy turns around, and in particular they start to construct more housing, then the effect on Queensland growth could be significant, especially when one considers that Victoria and NSW grab the higher shares of net overseas migration.
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