Millennials are leaving capital cities for cheaper regional living, continuing a pandemic trend

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More and more millennials are moving out of the city and into the regions, with some opting for smaller and more remote destinations, continuing a post-pandemic urban flight trend that shows no sign of going away as the cost of living continues to rise.

The quarter Regional Movers Index Report analyzed movement data among Commonwealth Bank customers to calculate the net internal migration of Australia’s local government areas (LGAs).

Here is an overview of the patterns that emerged.

What is net internal migration?

Internal migration is Australians moving from one Australian territory to another, without taking into account overseas migrants or population changes due to birth or death.

If we calculate how many new people move into an LGA minus those who leave the LGA, we get the net amount of migration.

The Regional Movers Index report mainly compared data collected in the 12 months to September 2023 with data from the previous year, and also compared patterns from before, during and after the pandemic.

Migration patterns caused by the pandemic appear to be continuing as people leave cities for regional areas.(AAP image: Dan Peled)

It thought so Capital migration to the region accounted for 11 percent of all moves – the same figure as last year – while 9.1 percent of the moves consisted of people going the other way – that figure falls for the second quarter in a row.

12.6 percent of moves consisted of people moving between regions, while the rest consisted of people hopping from capital to capital.

The number of people traveling in the three months to September was the third highest level since March 2018.

Which regions are people moving to?

The sunny coast of Queensland topped the list of Australia’s favorite regional destinations, with 16.7 percent of movers choosing it in the 12 months to September 2023.

  1. 1.Sunshine Coast, Queensland: 16.7%
  2. 2.Greater Geelong, Vic: 8.3%
  3. 3.Gold Coast, Qld: 8.3%
  4. 4.Fraser Coast, Queensland: 6.5%
  5. 5.Moorabool, Vic: 5.8%

Five modest LGAs were also identified as ‘regional hotspots’ in the report, due to an increase in their net migration rates compared to the previous year.

Waroona in Western Australia saw an “almost fourfold increase” in net migration and topped the list at 279 per cent, while Greater Geraldton in the same state saw net migration grow by 205 per cent.

  1. 1.Waroona, WA: 279.3%
  2. 2.Greater Geraldton, WA: 205.3%
  3. 3.Snowy Valleys, NSW: 127%
  4. 4.Golden Plains, Vic: 103.7%
  5. 5.Douglas, Queensland: 100%

Kim Houghton, chief economist at the Regional Australia Institute, who helped write the report, said the list of regional hotspots was more unexpected than the list of favorite destinations because the hotspots tended to be smaller places that had experienced significant growth.

Of those who move from capitals to the regions, regional NSW was the most popular destination, attracting 39 percent of domestic migrants (dethroning Queensland, which ranked second this year).

Lake Macquarie And Wow Wow in NSW were among the top choices for former city residents, while Maitland in NSW and Bundaberg And Toowoomba in Queensland reached the top five destinations for those moving from region to region.

Where does everyone come from?

As for the top five destinations, the report noted that “those making the move are more likely to come from the cities in closest proximity.”

Brisbane fed the most people in regional LGAs in Queensland, while those in Melbourne Melton And Wyndham were the largest contributors to neighboring countries Morabool And Greater Geelong.

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