Indigenous migration and the labour market: A cautionary tale

Indigenous migration and the labour market: A cautionary tale Journal Article

Australian Journal of Labour Economics

  • Author(s): Biddle, N.
  • Published: 2010
  • Volume: 13

Abstract: During the last intercensal period there was a net transfer of Indigenous Australians to urban Australia from more remote parts of the country. With the withdrawal of a number of Indigenous specific labour market programs, this net migration is likely to intensify into the future. The aim of this paper is to consider the impact of this urbanisation on the labour market prospects of those Indigenous Australians who move and those Indigenous Australians already living in urban Australia. Using both aggregate and individual data, the results present somewhat of a cautionary tale. First, individual Indigenous Australians who move to urban areas do not appear to do as well in the labour market as those who stay behind. Second, inward migration from remote dispersed settlements is associated with a significant and substantial decline in the percentage of the population employed in the destination area. Although governments may have a fiscal motivation to encourage Indigenous Australians to move from non-urban to urban Australia, those who do move may struggle to compete in the private sector labour markets that they find there.

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Suggested Citation
Biddle, N., 2010, Indigenous migration and the labour market: A cautionary tale, Volume:13, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022,

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