Workers ditch the cities and head north

July 8, 2022 BY

New data shows that in 2021 more than 54,700 residents left NSW and Victoria due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, in the final quarter of 2021 the number of overseas arrivals more than offset the loss of inter-state migration.

HIA chief executive officer Tim Reardon said a slow return of overseas migration was easing the adverse impact of a loss of workers from Australia’s two largest states.

54,700 residents left NSW and Victoria during 2021 as the exodus to the regions continued


“The loss of resident population in NSW and Victoria in the final quarter of 2021, has seen a growth of population in all other states and territories, except for the Northern Territory.

“Most notable, more than 50,000 new residents moved to Queensland in 2021. “This remarkable ongoing shift in the location of the resident population has been a significant driver of the acute shortage of rental accommodation in Australia.”

With the return of overseas migration, Australia’s annual population growth has started to recover from the COVID shock with the resident population increasing by 0.50 per cent in 2021.

This is compared to an average growth in the decade before COVID of 1.54 per cent.

Mr Reardon said a stable and reliable migration pathway for skilled workers was central to a strong, and growing, national economy.
“The release of the initial 2021 Census data today also includes the number of unoccupied homes in Australia.

“Unoccupied dwellings have consistently made up around 10 per cent of dwellings in Australia in the past 35 years.

“The 2021 Census shows that 10.1 per cent of dwellings were unoccupied on census night in 2021.”

The two main reasons for a dwelling being unoccupied were that it was a holiday home, or the residents were absent on Census night.

“This is not evidence of an under-utilisation of housing stock, but an indication that on any given night of the week, some households are on holiday,” Mr Reardon said.