Box 5a: Tasmania's Experience of Migration

Box 5a: Tasmania's Experience of Migration

This graph shows net interstate migration (the purple columns) and net overseas migration (the orange columns), and the outcome of the difference between these two - net migration (the blue line). Clearly, of the two, interstate migration has been Tasmania's biggest contributor to net migration, although mostly this has resulted in a net loss. Contrary to popular belief, overseas migration has generally played a relatively minor part, although for the past three years it has played the major role. Indeed, while overseas migration has exceeded 1,000 only six times in the past 35 years, five of these occasions have occurred since 2002.

The graph assists in explaining the relatively low proportion of overseas-born in Tasmania - around 11 per cent of the population, compared with nearly 24 per cent in the rest of Australia. It also helps to explain some of the difficulties Tasmania has had in the past in attracting new overseas migrants. A low proportion of overseas-born migrants means a smaller flow of new migrants as a result of 'chain migration' - the phenomenon that occurs when family members and friends seek to follow earlier migrants. It is very important for Tasmania to encourage migrants from the 'new' sending countries, especially Africa, in order to develop a critical mass (magnet) that will draw others here in the future. It is great to see that this is now happening.

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