Pick up in net internal migration to regional Qld

Yesterday’s post covered the surge in net interstate migration to Queensland during the pandemic. The surge reflects:

a) departures from Queensland to other states falling a lot (by 16% in September quarter 2020 compared with September quarter 2019), which could be due to both a decline in job opportunities down south and Queenslanders believing it’s better to live in (practically) COVID-free Queensland during the pandemic, and

b) the number of people moving to Queensland (i.e. arrivals from interstate) only dropping 5% through-the-year to 30 September 2020 – i.e. while Queensland hasn’t seen a spike in arrivals from other states, interstate arrivals haven’t collapsed as much as they have in other states (i.e. -11% in NSW and -30% in Victoria).*

Combined, the changes in arrivals and departures meant net interstate migration to Queensland jumped over 30% in September quarter 2020 (relative to September quarter 2019) according to the latest ABS estimates.

Pete Faulkner from Conus Consulting made a great observation regarding the interstate migration data in a comment on my post on LinkedIn:

Big moves indeed, and it’s regional QLD that’s seeing the most significant change. Consider that over the course of the first three quarters of 2020 regional Queensland added 12,000 new residents. Compare that to an average for the same period from 2015 to 2019 of just 3,700.

Pete’s right about that. Check out how net internal migration (from across Australia) to regional Queensland (i.e. non-Greater Brisbane**) has jumped up to a level of around 4,000 people per quarter in 2020 compared with an average of 1,500 per quarter in 2019 and 2,600 in 2018 (see chart below). Over the first three quarters of 2020, net internal migration to regional Queensland, at an average of 4,000 per quarter, exceeded average net internal migration to Greater Brisbane of 2,800 per quarter.

As the chart makes clear, the increase in net internal migration to regional Queensland was due to pick ups in net internal migration from both Greater Brisbane (i.e. intrastate) and from outside Queensland (i.e. interstate), to roughly equal extents. In September quarter 2020, net intrastate migration to regional Queensland increased by 1,088 people from the level in September quarter 2019. Instead of losing over 1,300 people to Greater Brisbane as it did in September quarter 2019, regional Queensland only lost around 200 people in September quarter 2020. Net interstate migration to regional Queensland has usually been positive and increased by 1,151 people, from 3,098 people in September quarter 2019 to 4,249 people in September quarter 2020.

*In a comment on yesterday’s post, regular reader Glen noted that interstate arrivals to Queensland would have included many people who were previously FIFO’ing to Queensland (e.g. to work in mines) and who have been forced to relocate (i.e. to avoid regularly having to go into quarantine).

**Greater Brisbane includes the metropolitan area but does not include the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, which are hence part of regional Queensland or rest of Queensland as it’s labelled in the ABS data set.

Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to contact@queenslandeconomywatch.com

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