AHURI BRIEF

Where do households move over a lifetime? (continued)

Tracking the migration patterns of households within Australian cities

Last updated 19 September 2018

This is the second of two AHURI Briefs that examines Census data to understand how households migrate within Australian cities over a lifetime. The first Brief examined the younger 15–24 and 25–44 age cohorts. This second Brief looks at the migration patterns of the older 45–64 and 65+ age cohorts.


Looking at the regional migration data within Australia brings to light the various factors that influence a household's decision to move including employment, study, housing affordability as well as retirement and lifestyle aspirations. Further distinguishing migration data by age cohorts helps identify these various factors over a lifetime.

The ABS records the internal migration patterns within Australia using people’s change of address as registered with Medicare, and presents the information for land areas that approximate local government areas. The latest available data to include local government area migration is for 2015–16. It does not include people who apply for their first Medicare card number (i.e. new born babies and new international migrants) or people who cease to have a Medicare card number (i.e. people who permanently migrate overseas or who die).

45–64 age group migration: moves for affordability and for lifestyle

The most migrated to areas for the 45–64s may suggest that these households are attracted to these areas because of affordability and lifestyle reasons. In NSW, 45–64s are moving to coastal sites (e.g. Wyong and Shoalhaven) and regional areas with cheaper housing (when compared with Sydney prices). No Sydney metropolitan areas are in the top ten migration hotspots.

In Victoria, 45–64s continue to migrate to Melbourne metropolitan fringe suburbs—possibly because housing is cheaper there for those with a family, but we also see people migrate to the central city (perhaps for work or downsizing into smaller dwellings); to sea change/retirement areas (e.g. Surf Coast - Bellarine Peninsula has both new family-orientated housing estates and beachside retirement communities); and to regional centres such as Geelong and Ballarat (possibly because housing is cheaper in these regions compared to Melbourne metropolitan areas).

In Queensland, 45–64s continue to migrate to metropolitan fringe suburbs (possibly because housing is cheaper there for those with a family), but we also see people migrating to sea change/retirement fringe suburbs along the coastal strip from Brisbane and to coastal regional centres.

In South Australia the first four regions with highest 45–64s migration are all regional areas. This may indicate people moving there from Adelaide and its suburbs but this could also reflect those leaving even more remote regional areas of South Australia for regional centres to be closer to amenities such as medical facilities.

Queensland—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Caloundra

760

MFR

Maroochy

460

MFR

Hervey Bay

457

R

Gold Coast - North

437

MFR

Ipswich Inner

429

RC

Cleveland - Stradbroke

375

MFR

Bribie - Beachmere

361

R

Gympie - Cooloola

346

RC

Springfield - Redbank

343

MFR

Maryborough

336

RC

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics. Additional data for selected states are further below.

45–64s moving out of metro areas

It is interesting to note the suburbs that have experienced the most 45–64s year-olds leaving. In Sydney, Melbourne Adelaide and Perth these have tended to be the established metropolitan suburbs.

New South Wales—most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Fairfield

-785

M

Baulkham Hills

-652

M

Merrylands - Guildford

-500

M

Eastern Suburbs - South

-499

M

Canterbury

-493

M

Hurstville

-487

M

Strathfield - Burwood - Ashfield

-451

M

Ku-ring-gai

-442

M

Blacktown

-426

M

Warringah

-366

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics. Additional data for selected states are further below.

In Queensland there are some differences, with the regional centres of Mackay, Gladstone and Townsville showing large numbers of 45–64s moving away. This may be a reflection of the dominant industries in those towns (coal mining—Mackay, aluminium industry—Gladstone and defence—Townsville) being ones that may rely on younger, rather than older, workers. The winding down of the mining boom has also reduced employment prospects for workers in Queensland regional mining centres.

Queensland—most migrated out of suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Mackay

-989

RC

Gladstone - Biloela

-460

RC

Mt Gravatt

-349

M

Townsville

-342

RC

Rockhampton

-321

R

Kenmore - Brookfield - Moggill

-292

M

Centenary

-284

M

Central Highlands (QLD)

-260

R

Bowen Basin - North

-250

R

Capalaba

-243

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics. Additional data for selected states are further below.

65+ age group migration: roaming into retirement

The 65+ age group have moved to similar locales as the 45–64 group, and probably for the same reasons of lifestyle (i.e. sea/tree change) and housing affordability (i.e. cheaper housing in rural/regional areas). As they approach and enter retirement, this group will, in general, be reliant on lower incomes sources from savings and the age pension.

New South Wales—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Wyong

795

R

Shaolhaven

727

R

Queanbeyan

549

RC

Gosford

512

RC

South Coast

467

R

Taree - Gloucester

354

R

Port Stephens

351

RC

Port Macquarie

339

RC

Tweed Valley

337

RC

Great Lakes

303

R

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics. Additional tables for selected states are further below.

65s and older moving closer to amenities

It is interesting to note the high number of metropolitan areas in Adelaide and Perth that recorded relatively large increases in 65+ aged people moving in. This may reflect the situation whereby people who spent their working lives in remote and regional areas (areas which comprise a large proportion of the land area of these two states) retire to live closer to amenities such as medical facilities.

South Australia—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Fleurieu - Kangaroo Island

186

R

Norwood - Payneham - St Peters

78

M

Adelaide City

70

M

Barossa

55

R

Unley

31

M

West Torrens

31

M

Outback - North and East

30

R

Holdfast Bay

19

M

Gawler - Two Wells

9

MFR

Burnside

9

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics. Additional data for selected states are further below.

Additional data

Expand the options below for additional data for selected states.

Top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group, NSW, VIC, SA and WA

New South Wales—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Wyong

795

R

Shaolhaven

727

R

Queanbeyan

549

RC

Gosford

512

RC

South Coast

467

R

Taree - Gloucester

354

R

Port Stephens

351

RC

Port Macquarie

339

RC

Tweed Valley

337

RC

Great Lakes

303

R

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Victoria—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Melbourne City

931

M

Mornington Peninsula

814

MFR

Surf coast - Bellarine Peninsula

511

R

Casey - South

501

MFR

Gippsland - South West

487

R

Geelong

412

RC

Gippsland - East

319

R

Cardinia

295

MFR

Ballarat

279

RC

Whittlesea - Wallan

255

MFR

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

South Australia—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Fleurieu - Kangaroo Island

352

R

Yorke Peninsula

189

R

Murray and Mallee

107

R

Lower North

92

R

Gawler - Two Wells

88

MFR

Adelaide City

55

M

Mid North

43

R

Barossa

42

R

Norwood - Payneham - St Peters

11

M

Holdfast Bay

4

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Western Australia—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Mandurah

742

MFR

Augusta - Margaret River - Busseltown

270

RC

Kwinana

182

M

Serpentine - Jarrahdale

148

MFR

Albany

120

RC

Perth City

115

M

Rockingham

101

M

Bunbury

99

RC

Swan

79

MFR

Wheat belt - North

75

R

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

It is interesting to see where the most 45–64s have gone from. In Sydney, Melbourne Adelaide and Perth these households have tended to move out of the established metropolitan suburbs.

In Queensland there are some differences, with the regional centres of Townsville, Gladstone and Mackay showing large numbers of 45–64s moving away. This may be a reflection of the dominant industries in those towns (defence—Townsville, aluminium industry—Gladstone and coal mining—Mackay) being ones that may rely on younger, rather than older, workers. The winding down of the mining boom has also reduced employment prospects for workers in Queensland regional mining centres.

Queensland—most migrated out of suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburb regional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Mackay

-989

RC

Gladstone - Biloela

-460

RC

Mt Gravatt

-349

M

Townsville

-342

RC

Rockhampton

-321

R

Kenmore - Brookfield - Moggill

-292

M

Centenary

-284

M

Central Highlands (QLD)

-260

R

Bowen Basin - North

-250

R

Capalaba

-243

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Top 10 most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group, NSW, VIC, SA, and WA

New South Wales—most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Fairfield

-785

M

Baulkham Hills

-652

M

Merrylands - Guildford

-500

M

Eastern Suburbs - South

-499

M

Canterbury

-493

M

Hurstville

-487

M

Strathfield - Burwood - Ashfield

-451

M

Ku-ring-gai

-442

M

Blacktown

-426

M

Warringah

-366

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Victoria—most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Monash

-875

M

Boroondara

-677

M

Knox

-574

M

Glen Eira

-535

M

Whitehouse - West

-326

M

Yarra Ranges

-299

MFR

Dandenong

-295

M

Manningham - West

-270

M

Banyule

-240

M

Maroondah

-215

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

South Australia—most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Eyre Peninsula and South West

-61

R

Outback - North and East

-71

R

West Torrens

-93

M

Port Adelaide - East

-97

M

Campbelltown (SA)

-98

M

Marion

-118

M

Burnside

-139

M

Mitcham

-151

M

Salisbury

-179

M

Tea Tree Gully

-262

MFR

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Western Australia—most migrated out of regions/suburbs, 45–64 age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 45–64 Suburb type

Kalamunda

-143

M

Mid West

-172

R

Bayswater - Bassendean

-177

M

Goldfields

-192

R

Gosnells

-225

M

Pilbara

-265

R

Stirling

-268

M

Melville

-391

M

canning

-439

M

Joondalup

-717

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ Age group, NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA

New South Wales—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Newcastle

281

RC

Shaolhaven

246

R

Queanbeyan

198

RC

Port Stephens

192

RC

Tweed Valley

167

RC

South Coast

146

R

Goulburn - Yass

137

RC

Lower Hunter

125

R

Southern Highlands

122

R

Port Macquarie

117

R

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Victoria—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Geelong

373

RC

Surf Coast - Bellarine Peninsula

261

R

Melbourne City

233

M

Ballarat

145

RC

Bendigo

133

RC

Gippsland - East

110

R

Heathcote - Castlemaine - Kyneton

101

R

Baw Baw

100

R

Whittlesea - Wallan

185

MFR

Latrobe Valley

173

R

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Queensland—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Townsville

215

RC

Ormeau - Oxenford

206

MFR

Gladstone - Biloela

196

RC

Gold Coast - North

126

R

Buderim

118

MFR/R

Robina

117

R

Sunshine Coast Hinterland

109

MFR

Mackay

95

RC

Toowoomba

93

RC

Mt Gravatt

79

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

South Australia—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Fleurieu - Kangaroo Island

186

R

Norwood - Payneham - St Peters

78

M

Adelaide City

70

M

Barossa

55

R

Unley

31

M

West Torrens

31

M

Outback - North and East

30

R

Holdfast Bay

19

M

Gawler - Two Wells

9

MFR

Burnside

9

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.

Western Australia—top 10 most migrated to regions/suburbs, 65+ age group
Region/suburbregional migration of people aged 65+ Suburb type

Cockburn

132

M

Perth City

118

M

Bunbury

80

RC

Canning

76

M

Augusta - Margaret River - Busseltown

48

RC

Kwinana

48

M

Swan

45

MFR

Mid-West

43

R

Kimberly

29

R

Armadale

36

M

Suburb type descriptors: M = metropolitan, MFR = metropolitan fringe, RC = regional city, R = rural/regional. These are broad descriptions of the suburb’s characteristics.