«Introduction Cities have two core roles. The first is the agglomeration of production and consumption, which will be discussed in Chapter 3 ...»
settlement Chapter 2
Cities have two core roles. The first is the agglomeration of production and consumption,
which will be discussed in Chapter 3 (Productivity). The second is receiving people and
goods and distributing them to where they need to go. Freight centres, for example, receive
goods from outside the city, distribute them and send goods produced in the city to other
cities. The State of Australian Cities 2012 discussed this function in some detail. City size is not necessarily a guide to the extent of this function. For example, billions of dollars worth of freight passes annually through the relatively small city of Geraldton in Western Australia.
People also flow through cities and this movement will be examined in this chapter. The first section looks at the role cities play in internal or residential migration in Australia. It shows that major cities in Australia have markedly different patterns of internal migration, suggesting the migration patterns are very sensitive at the margins at least to shifting economic fortunes.
This chapter also in a feature article examines an important but seldom discussed section of urban populations – foreign students.
Cities also act as distribution points for people flowing across national borders. In Australia, two cities – Sydney and Melbourne – dominate the international flow of people. These are the so-called ‘global cities’. The 2011 State of Australian Cities showed that a key part of the population structure of these cities is international migrants arriving and internal migrants leaving at a slightly slower rate. In the second section of this chapter what is meant by migration is explored in more detail. It shows that international population movement within and between global cities is changing rapidly in both extent and complexity.
For the first time, maps have been used in State of Australian Cities reporting to reveal the geography of population change. Some of these have been used in the text as examples, while the full range can be accessed online using the supplementary online map application.
Key findings Internal migration
• Australia has one of the highest population growth rates in the OECD. Around half this comes from net overseas migration. Since the average growth of major cities is slightly above the national rate, this suggests many Australian cities have some of the highest growth rates in the developed world.
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• In the 2011–12 year, the larger capitals grew almost 50 per cent faster than the rest of the country. Over the last five years, the previously high population growth rates in regional Queensland’s major cities have moderated. Growth rates in Darwin and Perth remained particularly strong.
• There are large differences in the age and gender moving to and from individual capital cities. Canberra, Darwin, Perth and to a lesser extent Brisbane are attracting high numbers of male 15–24 year olds. Sydney is losing significant numbers of residents across all age groups but overseas migrants are taking their place at a rate that keeps Sydney growing, albeit below the national average.
• Australia is the third most popular market for international students in the world. Australia’s international student market generates more than $15 billion for the nation every year.
• One in every 16 persons living in the City of Sydney is an international student while for the City of Melbourne it is one in five. Large numbers of international students also commute into these areas for study.
• China is the largest source country of international students for Australia, particularly for higher education, followed by India, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.
• The rapid increase in international student numbers since 2000 has created accommodation and transport stresses, particularly for Melbourne and Sydney.
While there has been some progress in building more student accommodation, most international students rely on the private rental market.
• There has been a fall in the numbers of international students since 2010, particularly in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, which has been traditionally dominated by Indian students.
• International migrants are dividing into two types:
– The first are from the skilled migrant scheme (about half of net overseas migration) and are part of the international gateway function of the global cities of Sydney and Melbourne. This stream is characterised by temporary and visitor migrants who mostly live in or near city centres.
– The second stream is made up mainly of citizen migrants who usually reside at a distance from city centres. This group increasingly leads transnational lives and are critical to the international connectedness of cities.
• Ninety-six per cent of Australia’s 29 million annual border crossings are short term movements. On any day, there are more than a million temporary visa holders in Australia (this figure does not include New Zealanders).
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• The rise in the proportion of international ‘sojourners’ in the Australian population especially in the larger capital cities is challenging traditional definitions of what is meant by ‘migrant’. A significant proportion will not settle permanently in Australia.
• Current patterns of international migration seem closely aligned with the increasing role of knowledge-intensive transactional industries in Australia. Eighty-five per cent of 457 Visa holders live in capital cities and half of these live in the inner city mainly working in transaction industries.
• Skilled migrants living outside city centres often work in industries that do not fully utilise their skills.
International context As shown in Figure 2-1, between 2000–2010 (the last complete period for which figures are available) Australia’s population growth rate was one of the highest in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Net Overseas Migration (NOM) component of Australia’s population growth averaged 55 per cent during this decade (ABS 2012a). Without it, Australia’s growth would be around the OECD average of
0.7 per cent. Since this is below replacement rate, without international immigration Australia would quickly move to a position of structural ageing and the total population would begin to fall.
Many European countries and some Asian ones (Japan and China) are entering a period of structural ageing that on current trends will become more severe over the next three decades. This is expected to have a significant impact on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth (McDonald 2012). The number of migrants seeking to come to Australia has created the fortunate position of being able to largely determine population growth, NOM has been used to balance to some degree the ageing of its population as the so-called ‘Baby Boomer’ cohort enters the retirement phase. This is expected to cushion the fall in living standards that may have occurred as the working age component of the population shrinks (McDonald 2012).
National context As shown in Figure 2-2, there has been a wide variation in the population growth of major cities during the 2001–11 decade. Taken as whole, growth was particularly strong for cities in northern and western Australia, with Toowoomba a notable exception. Aside from Melbourne, growth was subdued in the south-eastern parts of the country.
Figure 2-3 shows the difference in growth between the first and second halves of the 2001–2011 decade. In general, cities with high growth rates often displayed high variability.
Perth and Darwin’s growth, for example, accelerated during the second half of the decade while on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the strong growth they experienced in the first half of the decade moderated significantly. Toowoomba is an exception. Examination of inter censual population estimates by the ABS (2012b) suggest that this city’s population growth may have been severely affected by major floods in early 2010.
Population growth within cities Map 2-1 uses Melbourne as a case study to show population change within a major city between 2001 and 2011. Immediately noticeable is the fall in the population of peri-urban areas. In terms of the numbers of people involved however, the dark blue areas are more significant. The areas of strongest growth in Melbourne in the first ten years of the century were on the fringe or in the centre. The middle ring suburbs registered either modest growth or in some cases, declines.
Map 2-1 Population change in Melbourne, 2001–11
Map 2-2 represents the population pattern of 40 years ago. While the pattern of outward expansion is evident, population loss is particularly intense in the inner city suburbs. Forty years later, the population trend has been reversed in the inner areas of Melbourne and the red areas in Map 2-2 are the areas now showing modest or even negative population growth.
Map 2-2 Annual population change in Melbourne, 1971–76 Source: Nat MAP 1980 Australia’s fastest growing capital city – Perth, shows the same pattern of population change in an even more pronounced way, as shown in Map 2-3. Perth’s CBD is growing rapidly, but there is also a distinct outer-ring of growth particularly to the north and south. Conversely mid-ring suburbs mostly registered either modest growth or population reduction.
Map 2-3 Population change in Perth, 2001–2011 Neither of these maps (or their on line counterparts for other cities) shows evidence of widespread urban consolidation in Australia’s major cities. In other words, the outward geographic spread of the major cities shows little sign of abating; indeed it only varies in scale between cities.
• 33 • Department of Infrastructure and Transport • Major Cities Unit Part 1: Internal migration Australia has one of the most ‘residentially mobile populations of any country and this is especially so in Australia’s 18 major cities (Hugo and Harris 2011, p. 3). Residential mobility within Australia has two components: domestic movers and domestic migrants. Migration implies moving on a long term or permanent basis within Australia. Moving, is a more fluid population flow and does not necessarily have the permanency that is associated with migrating. Domestic movers and migrants differ from overseas migrants who are not able to move as freely due to visa approvals and qualifying restrictions.
Domestic migration and population change The 1996 Census introduced two questions; ‘place of residence one year ago’ and ‘place of residence 5 years ago’. This made it possible to better understand both movement and migration patterns in Australia. More recently, movement data for inter-Census years have been improved using Medicare change of address data in conjunction with Census projections and Defence Force data (ABS 2009). This information system is experimental and is still being revised to account for issues such as people who move more than once during the given time and the lag in registering change of address with Medicare (ABS 2009). The patterns identified in the data are however, consistent with a detailed analysis of the 1996, 2001 and 2006 ABS migration matrices conducted by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
Population change is measured by the number of births and deaths and the number of movers and migrants, taking into account both net overseas migration (NOM) and net internal migration (NIM) for a given city or area (ABS 2012e). NIM is the net population change for an area due to individuals arriving and departing from an area over a given period of time.
Understanding why people move is complex. In 2005, Hugo led a team that attached a survey to Australia Post redirection forms asking for the reasons that people moved (Hugo et al. 2005). This showed a complex range of factors were behind the decision to migrate. The Department also explored this issue by analysing the characteristics of where people were moving from and those of where they move to. It found that, while economic conditions were an important influence, there were also a host of other factors at work. The ABS has also indicated that there are a wide range of factors behind migration patterns (ABS 2012d). While there seems to be no clear cut reason why people move domestically, it is possible to know where they are moving to and from.
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