The Great Urban Exodus: Unpacking the Aussie Quest for Bigger Backyards

Australians are trading city skylines for regional horizons. It's not just about spacious backyards or escaping traffic—it's a reshaping of where Australia's heart truly beats. From middle-agers seeking serenity to young adults sticking to urban beats, dive into the trends of this urban exodus.

4 min read

The Great Urban Exodus: Unpacking the Aussie Quest for Bigger Backyards

Key takeaways

  • Urban exodus: Major cities are seeing more rearview mirrors than welcome mats—people are heading to regional areas.
  • Why the move? Slower life, remote work's flexibility, and the dream of a backyard bigger than a shoebox are compelling reasons.
  • Age dynamics: Middle-agers are keen on regional retreats, while the young adults seem glued to city vibes.
  • The bigger picture: This isn't just moving trucks; it's a shift in Australia's heartbeat, with both challenges and opportunities on the horizon.

Imagine, for a moment, you're in the midst of Sydney's rush hour. It's a whirlwind of honking horns, bustling crowds, and the ever-persistent aroma of car exhaust mixed with fresh espresso. Suddenly, an idea strikes you: "What if I could swap this concrete jungle for an actual... well, jungle (or at least a sizeable backyard)?" Turns out, a bunch of Australians are riding the same brainwave, trading their city abodes for the allure of regional landscapes.

But first, lets crunch some numbers

Greater Sydney, in all its cosmopolitan glamour, waved goodbye to a net of 3,330 city-to-regional movers in just the June 2022 quarter. And, like a gripping Netflix series, the numbers keep rolling: 3,069 in September, 3,930 come December, and a whopping 3,392 by March 2023. Melbourne? It's singing a similar tune, with its very own exodus rhythm. Where did this data come from? Well, it was just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and be found here.

Quarter Sydney to Rest of NSW Melbourne to Rest of Vic. Brisbane to Rest of Qld Adelaide to Rest of SA Perth to Rest of WA Hobart to Rest of Tas.
Jun-22 3,330 2,609 -101 -217 101 -258
Sep-22 3,069 2,302 -45 -268 45 -212
Dec-22 3,930 2,199 -244 -296 244 -303
Mar-23 3,392 2,094 -305 -244 305 -88

Note. The positve numbers show how many people left the cities for regional areas

Age Matters: Unpacking the Generational Shift to Regional Spaces

Alright, let's dive into the specifics of age-wise migration patterns in Australia. We've got some intriguing data that gives us a glimpse into how different age brackets are navigating between the major cities and regional areas.

Age Group June 2022 September 2022 December 2022 March 2023 Total over Year
0–14 years 1,842 1,672 2,262 1,346 7,122
15–24 years -2,087 -1,025 -2,770 -2,090 -7,972
25–44 years 1,069 1,032 1,458 1,167 4,726
45–64 years 4,548 3,549 4,124 4,006 16,227
65 years and over 1,308 1,230 1,284 1,216 5,038
Total 6,680 6,458 6,358 5,645 25,141

Note. The positve numbers show how many people left the cities for regional areas


  • The 45–64 age group seems to be leading the charge towards regional areas, with over 16,000 individuals making the shift throughout the year. Maybe they're looking for a peaceful environment, or perhaps the flexibility of remote work is steering this change.

  • Interestingly, the 15–24 age group is moving in the opposite direction. Their numbers indicate a move away from regional areas, possibly in pursuit of higher education or early career opportunities in the bustling cities.

  • The 0–14 age bracket also shows a notable migration to regional zones. This suggests that families with young children are finding regional areas more appealing, potentially due to the lifestyle or space it offers.

Why are aussies trading city lights for starry nights?

1. Quest for quality of life

In regional areas, life doesn't just pass by in a blur. It slows down, letting you savor each moment. Imagine weekends where the loudest noise is the rustling of leaves or the distant chatter of neighbors having a barbie. The appeal of less traffic, clear skies, and community vibes is hard to resist.

2. The great remote work revolution

Thanks to our buddy, the internet (and, admittedly, the less friendly COVID-19), working from a desk in Sydney while living in serene New South Wales isn't just possible; it's becoming the norm. Why clock in surrounded by skyscrapers when you can do the same amidst rolling hills?

working remotely

3. Economic horizons: Beyond the city limits

Regional Australia isn’t just about scenic views and weekend farmer markets. There's a burgeoning economic landscape out there. From thriving local businesses, innovative start-ups, to booming tourism sectors, regional areas are proving they’ve got more than just charm - they’ve got opportunities.

4. Housing: more bang for your buck

City housing prices have gone up, up, and away. Meanwhile, regional Australia beckons with homes that don't drain your entire life's savings. Larger plots, garden spaces, and that dream patio are suddenly within reach!

5. Environment and wellness

Let's face it; green spaces and open areas contribute immensely to mental well-being. The reduced pollution, availability of organic produce, and the sheer joy of being close to nature play a significant role in the move.

Zooming out: the broader impacts of the Shift

The implications of this urban exodus stretch far and wide. Regional areas are buzzing with renewed vigor, witnessing economic growth, cultural enrichment, and a dash of urban flair. On the flip side, cities get to take a breather, easing pressures on infrastructure and resources.

Gazing into the Aussie future

The urban-to-regional shift is more than a passing phase; it's shaping the Australian narrative. As we navigate this evolving landscape, one thing's certain: whether in the heart of the city or the soul of the countryside, the Aussie spirit thrives. So, here's to new beginnings, starry nights, and a journey of rediscovery!

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