The Structure of internal migration in Australia

Martin Bell, University of Queensland
Tom Wilson, Charles Darwin University
Dominic Brown, University of Queensland
Salut S. Muhidin, University of Queensland

In contrast to fertility and mortality, little attention has been given to how the spatial structure of migration varies over time. We address this by applying a battery of indicators (Bell et al 2002) to a database containing flows between 69 Australian regions over five intercensal periods, 1976-2001. The indicators encompass four dimensions of mobility - intensity, distance, connectivity and impact. We compare measures focusing initially on system-wide figures, then turning to the 69 regions, and to key birth cohorts. Results reveal systematic shifts in migration effectiveness and net redistribution, although aggregate movement intensities have been maintained. At the regional level, shifts have occurred in interergional linkages and redistribution, between city and country and between north and south. Explanation is sought in demographic shifts and in the transformation of Australia’s space-economy. We identify options for refining the measures and their extension to alternative spatial settings and data sources.

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Presented in Session 60: Internal migration (2)