How mobile is your population?
The National Demographic Indicators series has an indicator for population who “Changed address in the last 5 years”.
Of course some people change address multiple times in that period, but this indicator from Census gives an idea of how mobile or sedentary your area’s population is.
You can view the National Demographic Indicators Series (NDIS) here.
Choose your state, and you can rank on the “Changed address in the last 5 years” indicator, either ascending or descending.
Looking broadly at the national level, it’s interesting that around 37% of population moved in the 5 years ended 2011. This means nearly 2 in 5 people move over a 5 year period, and it’s a figure that’s quite consistent between Censuses. That’s pretty mobile! Especially considering that 6.6% of the population are aged under 5 and therefore can’t be included in that figure.
The most mobile populations tend to be those in areas with the following characteristics:
- Young population
- High density housing
- Large number of renters (also highly correlated both young population and high density housing)
- A lot of new housing (if the dwellings didn’t exist 5 years before, more people will have moved into them).
The most mobile LGA in Australia is the City of Perth, with 63.7% of population changing address between 2006 and 2011. The state capital LGA in each state is generally the highest in that state, as they attract young renters and have high density housing, usually with a university close-by. So the next highest are City of Melbourne (63.6%) and City of Adelaide (61.0%). Other inner suburban areas such as Port Phillip (53.0%), City of Sydney (55.7%) and North Sydney (54.6%) are also highly mobile. Inner Brisbane would be the same but the LGA includes the bulk of the metropolitan area, and so ranks a bit down the list,
The most mobile place in Queensland is an interesting one, however. Diamantina (56.4%), followed by Weipa (53.6%). These are small populations but are likely to be mining related.
Some fringe suburban areas also have high mobility, due to housing growth and first home buyers moving in, but this is unlikely to last as they age in place. An example of this is Wyndham in Victoria (46.9%). Some suburbs in Wyndham and other growth areas would have much higher percentages.
Areas with very sedentary populations tend to have these characteristics:
- Older populations – people in their 40s-60s
- Ageing in place in family homes.
- A high proportion of home ownership, and increasing levels of full home ownership (no mortgage).
- Little development.
The lowest levels of mobility are in small remote indigenous communities, with a number of those in Queensland and NT at around the 10% mark – the lowest of all being Arukun in Queensland, where only 8.2% of the population moved over 5 years.
Excluding these remote indigenous LGAs, many of the areas with the lowest level of population mobility are rural aras with stable or declining population – young people move out, but few move in, so those in the area have lived there a long time.
These include Loddon and Yarriambiack Shires in Victoria (both around 25%), Urana and Jerilderie in NSW (both around 22%), Wickepin in WA (24%) and Karoonda-East Murray in SA (21%).
Migration info is also found in profile.id, under the “Migration summary” menu item, for your area. And of course you can compare with the range of Census characteristics as discussed, to look at related topics such as renters, age structure etc.
If you are in local government, the mobility of your population is pretty important. Longer term residents are likely to be more engaged with the local community, for example, and participate in organised activities. However a very low rate of mobility often indicates a loss of young people – so there is outward mobility, which can create challenges, if your entire population is ageing.
Visit our demographic resource centre to understand more about your area’s population and how it is changing. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our blog or newsletter and keep up-to-date with the latest demographic and population trends.