The controversy over the ABS’s odd comments on female representation in leadership positions (Women don’t have what it takes to lead, finds ABS) led me to examine its latest Social Trends report, which contains this interesting set of facts on international migration:
…Queensland and Western Australia had the highest permanent departures relative to the number of people in those states, with 95 and 94 per 100,000 of their respective populations permanently departing in 2010. Tasmania (30 per 100,000) and South Australia and the Northern Territory (both 49 per 100,000) had the lowest number of permanent departures relative to their respective population sizes.
In 2004, the ACT had the highest rate of permanent departures for its population size, with 91 per 100,000 leaving permanently for overseas, closely followed by Western Australia (87 per 100,000).
The data showing Queensland has the highest rate of permanent departures are for 2010, and in the other year of data reported, 2004, Queensland wasn’t near the top, suggesting recent conditions must have played a role in Queensland’s elevation to the top. I notice that NZ and the UK are the largest destination countries for permanent departures, and I know that Queensland is home to large numbers of people from NZ and the UK.
I wonder if Queensland’s sluggish economic performance in recent years has forced many people from the NZ and UK to reconsider life in Queensland and to return to their home countries? Economic conditions are an important driver of migration, and they have certainly also negatively impacted on interstate migration to Queensland in recent years. The odd thing is, that economic conditions would hardly have been better in the UK and NZ, but many people may have come to Queensland for greater economic opportunities, and if they’re not available, then returning home would look much more attractive.