2076.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/02/2018   
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INTERNAL MIGRATION

The Census of Population and Housing collects information on where people usually live at the time of the Census, where they usually lived a year prior to the Census and where they usually lived five years ago. In combination, this information can be used to determine the extent of movement or internal migration within Australia.

In 2016, 649,171 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in Australia up from 548,368 in 2011. Of these, 94 per cent were at home on Census night and 6 per cent reported they were elsewhere in Australia.

Understanding internal migration data items

A person’s usual residence is the place where a person usually lives. This can be different to the place a person filled in their Census form. For example, if a person was travelling to Darwin for work on Census night but lived in Perth, their usual address would be in Perth, not in Darwin.

Census person counts are produced on a usual residence basis as they are less likely to be influenced by seasonal factors such as school holidays and snow seasons, and provide information that is more relevant for long term planning.

Usual residence data also provides information on the internal migration patterns at the state and regional levels.

For the 2016 Census the following usual residence variables are available:
  • Place of Usual Residence (PURP)
  • Place of Usual Residence One Year Ago (PUR1P)
  • Place of Usual Residence Five Years Ago (PUR5P).

The information acquired from the answers to the usual residence questions is also used to create the usual residence indicator variables, these variables indicate if a person lived at the same address one and/or five years ago or lived elsewhere in Australia or Overseas:
  • Usual Address Indicator Census Night (UAICP)
  • Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P)
  • Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P).

INTERNAL MIGRATION IN THE YEAR PRIOR TO CENSUS (2015 TO 2016)

Most (75%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 1 year and over did not change their usual residence between 2015 and 2016 while 120,366 (19%) people did. A small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were overseas one year ago (1,058 or 0.2%), and a further 6 per cent (39,219) did not state their usual residence in 2015.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in non-urban areas were less likely to have relocated elsewhere in Australia (14%) than those living in urban areas (20%). The majority of people (64%) lived in households where no residents had moved in the last year.

Interstate Migration (2015 to 2016)

The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who lived elsewhere in Australia in 2015, moved within the State or Territory they lived in (91%). For persons moving interstate, New South Wales (29%) and Queensland (26%) were the most popular destinations.

The median age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who moved interstate in the last year was 22 years old. Those most likely to have moved interstate were children aged 1 to 14 years (29%) closely followed by those aged 15 to 24 years (26%). Interstate migrants were more likely to have a university degree than the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (11% compared to 6%). They were also more likely to be in the labour force with only 36 per cent of interstate migrants not in the labour force compared to 44 per cent of the general population. However, the rate of unemployment of interstate migrants is higher at 24 per cent compared to 18 per cent.

The largest interstate migration relationship was between New South Wales and Queensland with 52 per cent of people who moved to New South Wales coming from Queensland and 53 per cent of people who moved to Queensland originating from New South Wales. Overall, 28% of the total number of people who moved interstate, moved between these two States. There were also strong interstate migration relationships between New South Wales and Victoria (10% of total interstate migrants) and Queensland and the Northern Territory (8% of total interstate migrants).

Graph Image for Interstate Migrants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2015 to 2016 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes migratory, offshore, shipping and no usual address. (b) Excludes not stated to question on usual residence one year ago. (c) Excludes people who migrated within their own state (intrastate migration).

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



When interstate arrivals and departures are examined in tandem, we can see that Queensland had the highest net inflow of interstate migrants (gaining 445 persons) between 2015 and 2016. In contrast, despite the high number of arrivals, New South Wales had a net inflow of -637 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Victoria had the second highest net inflow (285 people), while the Northern Territory and Western Australia had negative net inflows and lost residents.

Graph Image for Net Inflow of Migrants (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2015 to 2016

Footnote(s): (a) Arrivals minus departures

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016




Capital City Migration (2015 to 2016)

Between 2015 and 2016, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who moved their usual residence did so within their own region. More than four fifths (85%) of people who moved from a capital city moved to another capital city, and 89 per cent of people that moved from a rest of State area moved to another rest of State area.

People who moved interstate were much more likely to move between capital cities and rest of State areas with 46 per cent of persons who moved interstate from a capital city moved to another capital city (compared to 88 per cent of intrastate moves). The same was true for people moving from rest of State areas where for intrastate migrants 92 per cent moved to another rest of State area compared to 64 per cent of interstate migrants.

Over one year, persons who moved to a capital city and persons who moved to the regions had a similar median age (22 years old and 23 years old). Those who moved to a capital city were more likely to be employed (52%) than those who moved to rest of State areas (41%). Those who relocated to a region were also more likely to be not in the labour force (46%) than those who moved to a capital city (38%). Year 12 completion was also higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who moved to capital cities than those who moved to rest of State areas (38% compared to 27%).

Brisbane (30%) was the most popular destination for persons moving to a capital city from a rest of State area followed by Sydney (20%) and Perth (17%). Brisbane had the highest proportion of persons moving from an interstate rest of State (27%) followed by Melbourne (16%) and the Australian Capital Territory (12%).

Graph Image for Rest of State to Capital City, 2015 to 2016 Migration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016




Overseas Migration (2015 to 2016)

A small proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (0.2%) were living overseas in 2015. These persons primarily moved to New South Wales (35%), Queensland (28%) and Victoria (12%) and had a median age of 27 years old.

INTERNAL MIGRATION BETWEEN CENSUS YEARS (2011 TO 2016)

The 2016 Census showed that 51 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons had the same usual address five years ago as they did in 2016. A further 42 per cent had moved from elsewhere in Australia in 2011 and a small number were overseas five years ago (0.3%). A further 7 per cent did not state their usual residence in 2011.

Interstate Migration (2011 to 2016)

Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who lived elsewhere in Australia in 2011, the majority moved within the State or Territory that they lived in (89%). Of the persons who moved interstate New South Wales was the most likely destination (30%) followed by Queensland (26%) and Victoria (10%). The Australian Capital Territory was the least likely destination (3%) along with Tasmania (4%) and South Australia (6%).

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who moved interstate between 2011 and 2016 were aged 5 to 14 years in 2016 (25%) closely followed by persons aged 15 to 24 years (24%) and persons aged 25 to 34 years (21%). Interstate migrants were more likely to have a university degree than the general Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (11% compared to 6%). They were also more likely to be in the labour force with only 35 per cent of interstate migrants not in the labour force compared to 44 per cent of the general population.

The largest interstate migration relationship was between New South Wales and Queensland with 52 per cent of people who moved to New South Wales coming from Queensland and 56 per cent of people who moved to Queensland coming from New South Wales. Almost one third (29%) of the total number of people who moved interstate moved between these two States. There were also strong interstate migration relationships between New South Wales and Victoria (9% of total interstate migrants) and Queensland and the Northern Territory (8% of total interstate migrants).

Graph Image for Interstate Migrants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2011 to 2016 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a)Excludes migratory, offshore, shipping and no usual address. (b)Excludes not stated to question on usual residence one year ago. (c)Excludes people who migrated within their own state (intrastate migration)

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



A combination of arrivals and departures to and from each State can be used to produce a picture of the impacts of internal migration on population change within each State. When departures are subtracted from arrivals it shows that Queensland had the highest population increase due to internal migration between 2011 and 2016 (1,516 people). Victoria recorded the second highest increase (914 people) followed by South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia, which all had similar increases.

The remaining States recorded population decreases as a result of internal migration, with the largest decrease in New South Wales (-2,012 people). The Northern Territory recorded the second largest decrease (-964 people), with Tasmania the only other State to record a decrease (-197 people).


Graph Image for Net Inflow of Migrants (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2011 to 2016

Footnote(s): (a) Arrivals minus departures.

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016




Capital City Migration (2011 to 2016)

The 2016 Census showed that 55 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who had changed their usual address since 2011 moved from a non-capital city area to another non-capital city area. A further 30 per cent of persons moved between capital cities. Most persons who moved either rest of State to rest of State, or capital city to capital city, moved within their own State (92% and 93% respectively).

The remaining 15 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who had moved usual address since 2011 moved between capital cities and rest of State. More persons moved to a capital city (54%) than from a capital city (45%), however approximately two thirds of both groups moved within their own State.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who moved to a capital city had a younger median age (22 years old) compared to persons who moved to rest of State (27 years old). Persons who moved to a capital city were also slightly more likely to be employed than those who moved to rest of State areas (51% compared to 49%) particularly persons who moved from interstate (57% compared to 52%). Year 12 completion was also higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who moved to capital cities than those who moved to rest of State areas (45% compared to 39%).

Brisbane (30%) was the most popular destination for persons moving to a capital city from a rest of State area followed by Sydney (20%) and Perth (16%). Melbourne had the highest proportion of persons moving from an interstate rest of State (54%) followed by Darwin (45%) and Adelaide (44%).

Graph Image for Rest of State to Capital City, 2011 to 2016 Migration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016




Sydney (29%) was the most likely capital city for people to have moved from to a rest of State area followed by Brisbane (26%) and Perth (15%). Brisbane had the highest proportion of persons who moved to an interstate rest of State area (22%) followed by Sydney (18%) and Darwin (16%).

Graph Image for Capital City to Rest of State, 2011 to 2016 Migration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia, 2016

Source(s): ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016



Overseas Migration (2011 to 2016)

A small proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons (0.3%) were living overseas in 2011. These persons primarily moved to New South Wales (33%), Queensland (29%) and Victoria (14%), were marginally more likely to be male (54%) and had a median age of 31 years old.