Return migration in Australia - A preliminary analysis from The 2001 Census

Angelique Parr, University of Queensland
Martin Bell, University of Queensland
Tom Wilson, Charles Darwin University

It has long been recognised that migration is a repetitive event that occurs multiple times over the life course. A better understanding of repeat migration is needed for the development of migration theory, methodology and policy. Despite its clear significance, little is known about the different types of movement. This paper focuses on one aspect of this chronic movement – return migration. Previous research has exploited various data sources including panel surveys, birthplace statistics (for lifetime return movement) and fixed interval measures. This paper utilises census questions identifying place of residence at three points in time to analyse return migration in Australia during 1996-2001. Results reveal the complex spatial structure of the migration system and the extent to which return migration offsets the pattern of primary flows. They also demonstrate that return movement displays a distinctive age profile that differs radically from that of other migrations.

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Presented in Session 60: Internal migration (2)