Prepared by Dr Lisa Denny, Institute for Social Change, University of Tasmania.
To access all of the graphs, tables and footnotes, download Tasmanian Demographic Analysis SnapShot – May 2020.
The May 2020 Tasmanian Demographic Analysis SnapShot provides an overview of interstate and overseas migration to and from Tasmania for the year ended 30 June 2019, based on analysis of data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in April 2020. Importantly, this data does not capture any impact that COVID-19 may have on migration to or from Tasmania.
In the year to June 2019:
- Migration from interstate or overseas contributed to over 80% of Tasmania’s population growth, an additional 5,000 people.
- Net interstate migration contributed to 33.6% of Tasmania’s population growth while overseas migration contributed almost half (47.1%) for the year.
- While total migration increased compared with the previous year, net interstate migration declined by 16.4% to a gain of 2,010 people.
- Compared with the previous year, net overseas migration to Tasmania increased by 6.8% to 2,990 people.
- The main sources of overseas migration were international higher education students (34.0%), humanitarian entrants (17.5%) and permanent skilled migrants (16.2%).
- The age profile of overseas migrants reflects the main type of visa holder – higher education students. Over half (50.2%) of overseas migrants were aged between 15 and 29 years of age.
- The decline in interstate migration over the year was caused by an increase in departures from Tasmania and a slowing of arrivals.
- Nearly two thirds (63.7%) of the net interstate migration gain was aged over 45 years.
- Net migration (overseas and interstate migration) recorded a net gain for each 5-year age group as overseas migration offsets interstate migration losses in the 15 to 24-year age groups.
For the year ended 30 June 2019:
- Overseas migration to and from Australia, resulted in a net increase to Australia’s population of 239,600 people (representing 62.5% of total population growth).
- There were over 7.5 million migrants living in Australia, representing 29.7% of the population.
- There were 537,800 overseas migrant arrivals, a slight increase reversing the decline recorded in 2018.
- There were 298,200 overseas migrant departures, the highest number on record.
- The majority of overseas migrant arrivals were temporary visa holders (64.3%), as were overseas migrant departures (52.8%).
- In terms of interstate migration, 404,000 people relocated to another state or territory, an increase of 2.9% from the previous year.
- Three states recorded a net gain from interstate migration; Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. All other states and territories experienced a net interstate migration loss.
Overseas Migration – Tasmania
Compared with the previous year, net overseas migration (NOM) to Tasmania increased by 6.8% to 2,990 people, the highest level on record.
Of these migrants, 64.5% arrived in Australia on temporary visas, while 37.1% were on permanent visas. The difference is explained by Australian citizens leaving (-1.3%), New Zealanders arriving (1.7%) and other visa holders leaving (-1.7%).
Year-on-year overseas migrant arrivals to Tasmania have been increasing since 2012, particularly since 2016; averaging at a 12.1% increase per annum. While year-on-year overseas migrant departures have increased steadily since 2007, at an average of 2.9% per annum, departures increased by 19.1% for the year ended June 2019.
Over a third (34.8%) were temporary migrants with a higher education visa, while 12.7% were on a visitor visa. Almost one in five (17.7%) were migrants on a permanent special eligibility and humanitarian visa, while 16.4% arrived as permanent residents on a skill visa.
Compared with the previous year, the number of temporary visa holders declined slightly by 2.5% (50 visa holders). This was led by a decline in visitor visas (-50) and working holiday makers (-100) as well as other student visas (-70). It was offset by an increase in higher education visa holders (+100) and temporary work skilled visa (+100).
The number of permanent visa holders increased by 23.3% (210 people) led by skilled visa holders which increased by 75.0% compared to the previous year.
The age profile of overseas migrants reflected the main type of visa holder – higher education students. For arrivals, over two in five migrants were aged either 20 to 24 years old (20.9%) or 25 to 29 years old (21.1%). For departures, over a quarter (25.9%) were aged 25 to 29 years old.
For all age groups 24 years and younger there were more arrivals than departures. For all age groups older than 24, there were more departures than arrivals. This is consistent when compared with 5- and 10-year averages.
In terms of the age profile for net migration, the net gain for 2019 was greater than the five year and ten-year average for all age groups other than those aged 15 to 19 and those aged older than 50 years of age.
In the year to June 2019, net interstate migration (NIM) declined to Tasmania by 390 people to 2,010, a decline of 16.4% over the year. Aside from the previous year, net interstate migration in 2018/19 was the highest since 2003/04 (2,570).
The decline in net intestate migration for 2018/19 is attributed to an increase in departures from Tasmania and a slowing of arrivals. While arrivals had been increasing since 2014/15, so had departures.
Interstate migrant arrivals and departures have fluctuated over the years. The year 2018/19 recorded higher than average arrivals and departures. For the previous five years, interstate arrivals averaged 12,464 per annum, considerably less than the 2018/19 figure of 14,450. Interstate departures averaged 11,594 per annum for the previous five years, less than the 2018/19 figure of 12,540.
In terms of the age profile of interstate arrivals and departures, the greatest share of arrivals was for those aged 25 to 29 years (13.6%), followed by those aged 20 to 24 years (10.2%) and then 30 to 34-year olds (9.7%). The greatest share of departures was for those aged 20 to 24 years (14.3%), followed by those aged 25 to 29 years (13.3%) and then 30 to 34-year olds (9.9%).
While Tasmania continued to experience net interstate migration losses in the 15 to 24 years age group, compared with the previous five-year and ten-year averages, 2017/18 and 2003/04 (the year Tasmania recorded its highest level of NIM), the loss was reduced. Whereas, the gain in younger years (0 to 14) was higher than the previous averages, so too was the gain in older age groups (25 to 59 years). In 2018/19, nearly two thirds (63.7%) of the net interstate migration gain was aged over 45 years, compared with 58.9% the previous year, and 62.6% in 2003/04.
While interstate migration and overseas migration have very different profiles in terms of flows, volume and age profiles, when combined, these profiles complement each other and smooth out fluctuations.
In 2018/19, net migration contributed an extra 5,000 people to Tasmania’s population, recording a net gain for each 5-year age group.
While interstate migration resulted in a net loss of those aged 15 to 24, combined with the net gain for these age groups from overseas migration, net migration of 15 to 24-year olds to Tasmania was positive.
The greatest share of net migration to Tasmania was from those aged 25 to 29 years (16.2%), followed by 30 to 34-year olds (10.8%) and 35 to 39-year olds (10.6%). A quarter (26.0%) of all migrants were aged 45 or older.
This analysis identifies that while total migration to Tasmania increased for the year ended 30 June 2019, net interstate migration declined compared with the previous year, resulting from a slowing in arrivals to the state and an increase in departures from the state.
It also shows that the age profile of interstate migration movers continued to contribute to the ageing of Tasmania’s population while the age profile of overseas migrants provided downward pressure on the rate of ageing.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, migration to Tasmania may have continued increase, at least in the short to medium term. While interstate migration trends showed signs of slowing, overseas migration remained strong, driven by international migration.
What the future of migration to and from Tasmania will now be post COVID-19 is largely unknown and unpredictable.
What is known is that migration gains or losses are the result of cumulative individual decisions of where to live, whether to relocate to Tasmania or to leave the state. Total migration is the sum of people moving to the state and people leaving. In the past, these decisions have been influenced by employment, education, affordability and/or lifestyle opportunities.
Overseas migration movements will largely cease in the short term.
The volume of interstate migration movements will decline considerably, however the difference between arrivals and departures, and whether it widens positively or negatively, remains to be seen.
 ABS, Migration, Australia, 2018-19, Cat. No. 3412.0