Accustomed to many years of population growth driven by ‘refugees’ from southern states, the
For much of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s,
Those interstate migration flows peaked from the late 1980s to mid 1990s, where net figures of up to 50,000 per annum crossed the border to settle in the
At the time,
Those arrivals, contrary to the ‘Gods waiting room’ reputation of retirees moving to the Gold Coast, were typically families in their 30s and 40s – and they brought with them two things important to the
This was a golden era for growth in
What’s different now?
Net interstate migration is no longer the main driver of population growth for
If interstate arrivals of the 1990s arrived with capital and skills, is it safe to assume that overseas arrivals of today are bringing the same things to the same degree the state’s economy? Probably not.
What the figures tell us.
The graph above paints the picture nicely (and thanks to Michael Matusik for letting me use it). The blue line of interstate migration has been a bit erratic over time, probably reflecting the relative economic appeal of
(That’s just the net overseas numbers for permanent residents. There’s also a very large population of temporary resident status immigrants in
Understanding that the mix of population growth has changed in
The fact that their needs and contribution to the economy will be different is without argument. In fact, the Federal Government acknowledged as much in this month’s announcement of major changes to skilled migration entry standards:
“Only half the migrants entering
"The current points test puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in
So, if up to a third of overseas arrivals under this scheme end up unemployed or in low skilled jobs, you have a different profile of what’s boosting our population numbers and a different profile on the types and styles and price of housing product in demand, at least in the short and medium term as they become established.
You could suggest that a large proportion of interstate arrivals of the 1990s also arrived without jobs to go to, which could be true. But the anecdotal evidence at least was that they soon found jobs in their chosen field, and had the capital base to enter the housing market with either more equity or a relatively higher standard of housing product than the one they left behind.
The change in the component of population growth to overseas migration is not a bad thing. But it would be wrong to expect these migrants to be bringing with them the same capital, the same skills, the same requirements on social welfare or the same demands on housing as equivalent migrants from interstate did during the mid 1990s.
Housing developers could find that closer study of the population growth numbers in