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There is More to Population Figures Than Meets the Eye

In 2018-19 capital cities accounted for 79% of Australia’s population growth and in that year, Sydney’s population grew by more than twice the rate of the rest of New South Wales. While the population of Northern Inland region grew by 3% from 2011 to 2016, the Greater Sydney region grew by 10% in the same time period.

On the surface, the growth figures for regional areas may seem disapointing compared to those for our capital cities, but there is more to these figures as highlighted in the recently released research by the Regional Australia Institute in their The Big Movers Report.

It is a popularly held belief that people are moving from regional areas to the cities in pursuit of career progression and lifestyle choices. While this may be true for some age groups, in total 65,204 more people moved from capital cities to regional areas in 2011 to 2016, than those who moved from the regions to our capitals. Sydney had the largest outflow to regional areas, with 64,756 more people moving to regional areas than it received.

The RAI’s research also showed that when people moved from the cities, they tended to relocate to regional areas of the same state. Sydney lost 103,942 people to regional NSW, followed by Brisbane, which lost a comparatively smaller 16,881 people to regional NSW.

Number of people who moved to regional NSW from:
Sydney 103,942
Brisbane 16,881
Canberra 15,273
Melbourne 12,278
Perth 4,265
Adelaide 3,338
Darwin 2,307
Hobart 1,044

Note: Adapted from The Big Movers by the RAI

Mobility to and from capital cities is only part of the story, with over 690,000 people moving from one regional area to another and 80% of regional residents considering a move intend to relocate to another regional area. Further, 30% of the youth that leave regions for the cities, will return to a regional area.

What does this mean for the Northern Inland? The data from the RAI shows that there is more to mobility figures than what may appear on the surface. By understanding these trends, efforts to attract residents to our region can be more effective by targeting marketing to residents of geographic areas that are more likely to move to our region. These figures show that marketing the Northern Inland to residents in Sydney may be more effective than targeting other capitals which have lower rates of mobility to regional NSW.

Further, the large number of people that are moving between regions are a significant resource of potential residents as shown through these figures and should also be included in our marketing strategies.

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