International migration and regional Australia

International migration and regional Australia Report

Policy Brief

  • Author(s): Graeme Hugo, Helen Feist, George Tan
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Australian Population & Migration Research Centre, University of Adelaide

Abstract: More than one in five Australians is a post-war migrant or one of their Australia-born children. Post-war immigrants have settled disproportionately in Australia’s capital cities but in recent years increasing numbers have moved into regional Australia. This trend has also occurred in other OECD countries. This policy brief discusses recent immigrant settlement in regional Australia and argues that it will become more significant over the next two decades. Some of the policy implications are drawn out. Net gain from international migration accounted for 61.3 percent of Australia’s population growth between 2006 and 2011. While the majority of new immigrants still settle in Australia’s ‘Gateway’ Capital Cities, the numbers of overseas-born persons living in regional Australia increased from 771,574 to 1,001,645 – an increase of 30percent. At the same time, the number in the capitals increased by 29 percent, although only 81percent of immigrants in 2011 still lived there. This similarity in growth represents a small but significant shift since it is a reversal of longstanding trends of substantially greater growth in the capitals. Moreover, this same reversal has been observed in the United States, Canada and Europe. A distinctive part of the Australian experience, however, has been explicit policy intervention to facilitate immigrant settlement in regional areas.

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Graeme Hugo, Helen Feist, George Tan, 2013, International migration and regional Australia, Report, viewed 14 August 2022,

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