Queensland is feeling a little lonely today, as a new report reveals that the number of people moving to the Sunshine State is at its lowest point in a decade.
Figures released in the Queensland Government’s Population growth, highlights and trends report show that Queensland’s young workforce is shifting interstate, and that population growth in our state has reversed since 2005-06.
Net interstate migration has hit its lowest level in 10 years. From 2013-14, Queensland gained just 5,750 new residents from interstate — the result of 88,320 arrivals and 82,570 departures. Queensland lost population to Victoria (a net loss of 1,120 people) and Western Australia (460), in particular, but did record a net gain of interstate migrants from every other state and territory.
Net overseas migration also slowed — we picked up an estimated net gain of 30,270 persons, the result of 87,250 overseas arrivals and 56,980 overseas departures. That gain is down 9,710 people from the previous year, and is close to half the gain Queensland recorded when net overseas migration peaked in 2008-09 (when we picked up 59,320 people in a year).
On the plus side, even if our golden sands and roguish charms aren’t attracting as many new residents as we’re accustomed to, it’s worth noting that Queensland is the only state to show net interstate migration growth every since 1981.
Queensland’s population growth, overall, is sitting at 1.5 per cent, according to these latest figures — which is still growth, even if it’s down from 1.8 per cent the previous year and the 2.6 per cent we averaged between 2007 and 2009.
One of the biggest problem areas for Queensland is our young workforce, as young people aged between 20 and 34 are shifting interstate in larger numbers.
Queensland recorded a net loss of 1,510 persons aged 25-29 years in 2013-14, the largest net loss of any age group. This isn’t a new problem, either — that age group has recorded net losses from interstate migration every year for the past five years, putting it in rarefied air.
The 20-24 year and 30-34 year age groups also recorded (much less dramatic) net interstage migration losses in 2013-14 — we’re down 110 people and 60 people, respectively.
The losses in those age groups are significant, because Queensland’s population isn’t getting any younger. In line with the national trend, the report notes that Queensland’s population is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility (despite a recent uptick in births), increasing life expectancy, and the movement of the large baby boomer cohort (those born 1946-1965) into older age groups.
The result is that we’re looking a little long in the tooth these days — in 1994, the median age of Queensland’s population was 32.4; in 2014, it was 36.2. (The report notes that a net overseas migration gain in younger age categories is mitigating the ageing process, to some extent.)
So, what can you do to bring the people back to the Sunshine State? Well, besides telling all your interstate friends how cool Queensland is, not much — but if you’re interested, the University of Queensland will hold an international population growth seminar, the International Conference on Population Geographies, from 30 June to 3 July.
The full Queensland Government report on population growth can be read here.