News Updates

Migration, Australia, 2013-14


This release brings together statistics on international migration into and out of Australia, internal migration within Australia between states and territories and information on overseas-born residents of Australia.


The status of estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth, and the components of population change (natural increase, net interstate migration (NIM) and net overseas migration (NOM)), are referred to as either preliminary, revised or final. For further information see paragraph 9 of the Explanatory Notes.


In this release, figures have sometimes been rounded. Rounded figures and unrounded figures should not be assumed to be accurate to the last digit shown. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sums of component items and totals. Analysis featured in this release is based on unrounded data. Calculations based on rounded data may differ to those published.


The ABS undertook a rebuild of the Overseas Arrivals and Departures (OAD) system in 2013. The primary aim was to improve the quality of OAD data, given its importance as input to a broad range of estimates, including the estimation of Net Overseas Migration and the Estimated Resident Population by country of birth, which are both featured within this release. Detailed information in the changes and improvements arising from the rebuild of the OAD system appears in the Data Quality Issues (Appendix) in the Explanatory Notes section ofOverseas Arrivals and Departures (cat. no. 3401.0).


The country classification used within this release is based on the latest version of the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2011, Version 2.3For more information and codes see the Country Classification spreadsheet in the 'Downloads' tab of this release online.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


The cultural and linguistic diversity of Australia's resident population has been reshaped over many years by migration. Historically, more people immigrate to, than emigrate from, Australia. At 30 June 2014, 28.1% of the estimated resident population (ERP) was born overseas (6.6 million people). This was an increase from 30 June 2013, when 27.7% of the population was born overseas (6.4 million people). In 2004, ten years earlier, 23.8% of the population was born overseas (4.8 million people). 

Persons born in the United Kingdom continued to be the largest group of overseas-born residents, accounting for 5.2% of Australia's total population at 30 June 2014. This was followed by persons born in New Zealand (2.6%), China (1.9%), India (1.7%) and the Philippines and Vietnam (each 1.0%).

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of the Australian population who were born in the United Kingdom decreased from 5.6% in 2004 to 5.2% in 2014. Conversely, the proportions increased for people born in New Zealand (from 2.1% to 2.6%), China (from 1.0% to 1.9%) and India (from 0.7% to 1.7%).

In terms of Australia's population growth, for the top 50 countries of birth (excluding Australia) at 30 June 2014, persons born in Nepal had the highest rate of increase between 2004 and 2014 with an average annual growth rate of 27.0%. However, this growth began from a small base of 3,400 persons at 30 June 2004. The second fastest increase over this period was in the number of persons born in Brazil (12.6% per year on average), followed by those born in Pakistan (12.5%), India (11.6%) and Bangladesh (10.4%). Of the top 50 countries of birth, the number of persons born in Serbia decreased the most, with an average annual decrease of 2.3%, followed by persons born in Poland (1.2%). 


Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) by country of birth at the state and territory level is only available for Census years, with the latest being 2011. Table 1.3 shows the composition by country of birth for each state and territory, for the top 15 countries ranked at the national level.

Western Australia recorded the highest proportion of overseas-born residents in their population at 33.4% (786,500 persons), and also the largest increase in the proportion of overseas-born residents, up from 29.9% in 2006. Victoria recorded the second highest proportion with 28.7% of its residents born overseas (1,589,800 persons), up from 26.3% in 2006. Tasmania (12.6% or 64,200 persons) and the Northern Territory (18.8% or 43,600 persons) had the lowest proportion of overseas-born, both well below the Australian level of 26.9% recorded in 2011 (6,018,200 persons).

In 2011, Western Australia had the highest proportion of people born in the United Kingdom (10.9%), more than double the Australian proportion of 5.4%. The highest proportion of New Zealand-born residents was in Queensland (4.8%).

In Victoria, there were higher proportions of residents born in India (2.3%), Italy (1.5%), Vietnam (1.4%), Greece (1.1%) and Sri Lanka (0.9%) than any other state or territory. New South Wales had the highest proportion of people born in China (2.6%) and Lebanon (0.9%). The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of people born in the Philippines (1.9%), while Western Australia recorded the highest proportion of people born in South Africa (1.7%) and Malaysia (1.2%). The proportion of residents born in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States of America were fairly evenly spread across all states and territories.


Net overseas migration (NOM) is the net gain or loss of population through immigration to Australia and emigration from Australia. Data provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to calculate the official NOM estimates each quarter.

In 2013-14, NOM decreased from the previous year, recording an annual estimate of 212,700 persons, which was 9.7% (23,000 persons) less than in 2012-13. NOM in 2012-13 was 235,700 persons, which was 2.7% (6,200 persons) more than in 2011-12 and 30.6% (55,300 persons) more than the dip experienced in 2010-11 when NOM added 180,400 persons to Australia for the year.

In 2013-14, NOM contributed the greatest number of people to the most populous states: New South Wales with a net increase of 73,300 persons, followed by Victoria (59,400 persons), Western Australia (32,300 persons) and Queensland (30.300 persons). Tasmania had the lowest net increase with 1,300 persons (see Table 2.2). For the most up-to-date official estimates of NOM by state and territory produced by the ABS, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). For the most up-to-date forecasts of NOM produced by DIBP, see The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration: September 2014 at:

An individual's actual travel behaviour and associated characteristics, including visa type, are only available from final NOM data, as these can only be accurately determined at the end of the 16 month reference period following a traveller's initial border crossing. 

The DIBP manages and grants visas each year in accordance with relevant legislation, government planning and policy. It is important to note that there is a difference between when and how many visas are granted by DIBP; and when and how they may impact on NOM, and therefore Australia's estimated resident population (ERP). For example, for many visas there can be a lag between a visa being granted and the actual use of that visa by the applicant on entering Australia. Also, some travellers who have been granted permanent or long-term temporary visas may end up staying in Australia for a short period of stay or not at all. In addition, travellers may also apply for, and be granted, a different visa whilst in Australia or overseas. However, without an additional border crossing within the reference quarter to capture a traveller's change of visa, the NOM system is unable to show these occurrences.

Table 2.3 shows a breakdown of the types of visa groups which have contributed to final NOM. It shows that temporary visa holders are still the main contributors to NOM in the 2012 calendar year.


Net interstate migration (NIM) is the net gain or loss of population through the movement of people from one state or territory of usual residence to another. It is an important component required to calculate Australia's estimated resident population at the state and territory level, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). During 2013-14, it was estimated that 349,000 people moved interstate, an increase of 2.5% from the number of people who moved during the previous year. In 2012-13 there were 340,600 people who moved interstate, a decrease of 3.5% from the number of people who moved in 2011-12 (352,900 persons).

Net interstate migration can be a source of population gain or loss for a state or territory. In the year ended 30 June 2014, it was a source of population loss for New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, with net losses of 6,900 persons, 3.300 persons, 3,000 persons, 1,200 persons and 1,200 persons respectively. Those states and territories where NIM contributed positively to population growth were Victoria (8,800 persons), Queensland (5,800 persons) and Western Australia (1,000 persons).

Over the decade ending June 2014, Western Australia and Queensland have consistently recorded annual NIM gains from the rest of the country. The gain in NIM in Western Australia has gradually increased from 2,200 persons in 2004-05 to peak at 11,400 persons in 2011-12 before decreasing to 1,000 persons in 2013-14. In contrast, the gain in NIM in Queensland has gradually declined over the last 10 years, from 30,400 persons in 2004-05 to 5,800 persons in 2013-14, also with an increase in 2011-12 (11,100 persons).

In contrast, New South Wales and South Australia have both recorded annual NIM losses each year for the past decade. New South Wales has continually recorded the largest annual losses, with losses ranging between 26,300 persons in 2004-05 and 6,900 persons in 2013-14, with an annual average net loss of 18,000 persons. South Australia recorded an annual average net loss of 3,300 persons, with losses ranging between 4,400 persons in 2008-09 and 2,400 persons in 2011-12.

Over the past decade, Victoria recorded annual NIM losses in the four years from 2004-05 to 2007-08 and then annual NIM gains in the six years from 2008-09 to 2013-14, resulting in an annual average net gain of 1,600 persons. In 2013-14, Victoria recorded its largest NIM gain in the last ten years with 8,800 persons. 

NIM in the remaining State and Territories has fluctuated throughout the past decade resulting in annual average net losses in the Northern Territory and Tasmania (640 persons and 370 persons respectively) and an annual average net gain in the Australian Capital Territory (250 persons).


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Speak to a Australian Migration Specialists Consultant Michelle Oztas: +27 11 783 9440

Speak to a Australian Migration Specialists Consultant Tracey Lawrence: +27 82 419 3696

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