The Great Aussie Shuffle: Interstate Moving Trends 2021 - 2023

From the sunny allure of Queensland to the bustling vibe of Melbourne, Australians are on the move! But where are they headed, and why? We breakdown the moving trends and statistics from 2021 to 2023.

5 min read

The Great Aussie Shuffle: Interstate Moving Trends 2021 - 2023

Key takeaways

  1. Queensland's Pull: The Sunshine State is the top choice for most interstate migrants.
  2. New South Wales Exodus: A significant outflow, primarily from Sydney, is evident.
  3. Victoria's Dual Story: Melbourne attracts many, but there's also a notable departure to Queensland.
  4. South Australia's Balance: Equal parts incoming and outgoing migrations.
  5. Western Australia's Resource Attraction: Migration hints at the strength of the mining sector.
  6. Tasmania's Equilibrium: The island state has a balanced in-and-out migration.
  7. NT's Temporary Stays: Constant arrivals and departures, hinting at transient job roles.
  8. ACT's Academic and Service Appeal: A hub for students and public service professionals.

In the vast, dynamic landscape of Australia, there's a compelling story unfolding - one of movement, aspirations, and the quest for a better life. While the reasons people uproot themselves are many, the patterns are clear. Queensland, with its golden beaches, thriving cities, and promise of sunnier days, stands out as the epicenter of this narrative.

Why? The data paints an intriguing picture. Queensland, fondly known as the Sunshine State, isn't just basking in sun but also in the influx of new residents. Whether it's the allure of Brisbane's booming job market, the laid-back charm of the Gold Coast, or perhaps the idyllic beauty of places like Cairns, there's an undeniable pull that's making Queensland the top choice for many Australians.

Yet, while Queensland celebrates its newfound popularity, other states like New South Wales are witnessing a different tale - one of departure and seeking greener (or perhaps sunnier) pastures elsewhere. It's a dance of demographics, with each state playing a unique tune.

Curious about the driving forces behind these intestate moving patterns? Let's journey through data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 14/09/23. We should mention our data here at Find a Mover is in line with the data just released from the ABS. We'll go state by state, to uncover the stories behind the numbers. 

Interstate moving trends for each state from 2021-2023

State/Territory Average Arrivals (2021-2023) Average Departures (2021-2023) Average Net Migration (2021-2023) Peak Migration Period (Arrivals)
New South Wales 108,508 126,828 -18,320 Q3 2021 (36,325)
Victoria 91,256 106,356 -15,100 Q3 2021 (35,766)
Queensland 128,750 98,084 30,666 Q3 2021 (48,972)
South Australia 31,539 30,483 1,056 Q3 2021 (10,667)
Western Australia 41,655 30,990 10,665 Q1 2021 (13,234)
Tasmania 15,990 14,211 1,779 Q1 2021 (5,213)
Northern Territory 17,215 18,768 -1,553 Q3 2021 (6,527)
Australian Capital Territory 24,007 24,425 -418 Q3 2021 (7,161)

migration by state 2021 to 2023 in Australia

Key Points from above table:

  1. New South Wales and Victoria are experiencing the most significant net loss of people through interstate migration.
  2. Queensland has the most substantial positive net migration, meaning more people are moving to Queensland than leaving for other states.
  3. Q3 2021 (September) was the peak period of arrivals for most states, indicating a significant movement of people during this time. No doubt this was due to the pandemic, with lockdowns coming to an end and people starting to move around freely again.
  4. Western Australia and Tasmania are also experiencing a positive net migration, although not as pronounced as Queensland.

Delving into the details of each state

Every state and territory in Australia offers a unique blend of culture, landscapes, and opportunities. To truly understand the shifting sands of interstate migration during this period, we need to dive deeper into each region's specific trends and nuances. Here's a closer look at the migration patterns of individual states from 2021 to 2023.


Sunny Days Ahead

The Sunshine State is shining bright in the migration statistics. With 147,003 arrivals in 2021-22, it's evident that Queensland is the belle of the ball. Brisbane's burgeoning job market, coupled with the allure of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, seems irresistible.

Yet, it's essential to note the significant arrivals from NSW and Victoria. This suggests a blend of economic opportunities and lifestyle choices driving the move.

  • Arrivals: Queensland has been a popular choice for interstate migrants. In 2021-22, it saw a significant spike with 147,003 arrivals, the highest among all states.
  • Net Migration: Queensland consistently enjoys a positive net migration, with a remarkable net gain of 48,780 in 2021-22.

New South Wales

The Hustle and Bustle Exodus

For years, NSW, and specifically Sydney, has been Australia's glittering jewel. However, the latest figures reveal a net interstate migration loss. In 2021-22, for instance, 108,784 people arrived, but a whopping 148,119 departed.

Why the exodus? Sydney's skyrocketing property prices, quest for a laid-back lifestyle, or perhaps the attraction of Brisbane's balmy beaches? The significant outflow to Queensland suggests the latter might be true. Yet, Victoria also saw a considerable influx from NSW, indicating job opportunities or family ties might be influencing factors.

  • Departures: NSW has seen a consistent outflow of people to other states. In 2021, it had the highest number of departures at 150,694.
  • Net Migration: NSW has experienced net negative migration year after year. In 2021-22, the state saw a net loss of 39,335 people due to interstate migration.


Melbourne's Magnetic Pull

Victoria, predominantly Melbourne, has been a major player in this interstate game. Despite seeing departures, it's the state's arrivals that catch the eye. In 2021-22, it welcomed 91,827 souls. The cultural allure of Melbourne, with its coffee laneways, art scenes, and sporting events, remains unmatched.

However, the data also shows a significant outflow to Queensland. Could it be the Victorian winters pushing residents towards warmer climes? Or is it the Gold Coast's shimmering appeal?

  • Arrivals vs. Departures: Victoria saw 91,827 arrivals and 106,692 departures in 2021-22.
  • Net Migration: Victoria experienced a net loss of 14,865 in 2021-22.

South Australia

Steady as She Goes

South Australia, with Adelaide at its heart, saw a balanced migration pattern. The state welcomed 32,615 newcomers in 2021-22 while bidding farewell to 32,384. A nearly perfect equilibrium!

The pull factors? Adelaide's charm, the burgeoning wine industry, and perhaps the balance of a city-life with a laid-back vibe. However, the departures, especially to the eastern states, hint at job opportunities or family ties.

Western Australia

The Western Wonder

WA, with its vast landscapes and mining opportunities, has seen a fascinating trend. In 2021-22, it saw 45,378 arrivals. Perth, as a growing urban hub, offers a blend of city life and natural wonders.

However, the data reveals a significant exchange between Queensland and WA. This could be attributed to the mining and resources sector, with workers and families oscillating between these two resource-rich states.


The Island's Intrigue

Tasmania, Australia's island state, showcases a stable migration pattern. With 16,518 arrivals in 2021-22 and a similar number of departures, its serene landscapes and cooler climate remain a steady attraction. Yet, the interstate movement suggests that while many are drawn to its unique lifestyle, an almost equal number seek opportunities on the mainland.

Northern Territory

The Frontier's Fluctuations

The NT, often seen as Australia's final frontier, has a unique story. In 2021-22, it saw 18,466 arrivals. The pull? Job opportunities, especially in sectors like mining and defence. Yet, the departures indicate the transient nature of such jobs, with many moving after a stint in the NT.

Australian Capital Territory

Capital Attractions

The ACT, with Canberra leading the charge, remains an education and public service hub. The arrivals (23,159 in 2021-22) are often students or professionals. However, the departures hint at the transient nature of such positions or graduates seeking opportunities in larger urban centres.

In Conclusion

Australia's interstate migration patterns provide a tapestry of tales. While economic opportunities, lifestyle choices, and family ties remain significant drivers, it's the intertwining of these factors that paints the full picture. As Aussies continue this grand shuffle, one thing is clear: the search for that 'perfect spot' down under is very much alive and kicking.

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