Australian Net Overseas Migration Trends: Comparing Victoria and Tasmania

I am slowly teaching myself how to use the program R. I thought instead of using the standard data which comes with most online courses and tutorials, I would use data I’m which means something to me.

Here is a correlation matrix for quarterly Net Overseas Migration figures on a state-by-state basis:

AUS 1 0.93 0.98 0.9 0.84 0.96 0.71 0.58 0.8
NSW 0.93 1 0.91 0.76 0.71 0.85 0.63 0.48 0.76
VIC 0.98 0.91 1 0.83 0.86 0.93 0.73 0.59 0.83
QLD 0.9 0.76 0.83 1 0.74 0.89 0.6 0.54 0.63
SA 0.84 0.71 0.86 0.74 1 0.82 0.84 0.55 0.75
WA 0.96 0.85 0.93 0.89 0.82 1 0.66 0.57 0.74
TAS 0.71 0.63 0.73 0.6 0.84 0.66 1 0.38 0.67
NT 0.58 0.48 0.59 0.54 0.55 0.57 0.38 1 0.59
ACT 0.8 0.76 0.83 0.63 0.75 0.74 0.67 0.59 1

(Source: ABS, Table 2: Population Change, Components)

Net overseas migration is the total number of new residents from overseas minus the number of residents who leave Australia.

This table shows that in some states, primarily Victoria, net overseas migration over time (since 1982), has on average, moved in a very similar direction as Australia as a whole (0.98). This contrasts with Tasmania, which has on average moved in a slightly different direction to Australia as a whole (0.71). The data is per quarter (every three months).

Luckily I learnt last year that correlation analysis isn’t the be all and end all of data analysis. However it can be helpful in showing relationships.

These relationships can be visualised in standard plots to show the same thing:

TasNOM Plot Plot VicNOM

The graphs show how the Victorian data is much more closely aligned to the Australian data than the Tasmanian data is. This is the same as the Victorian correlation figure of 0.98 and the Tasmanian correlation figure of 0.71. As the correlation matrix showed, this means in the past, generally, Victorian net overseas migration flows have largely mirrored Australia’s net overseas migration trends.

Now, I don’t think is an undiscovered fact. It’s pretty easy if you look at population trends over the past couple of decades that Tasmania has been growing less quickly than the rest of Australia in terms of migration. It is also true that projections for Melbourne indicate it will be Australia’s largest city by 2050. However I think it is interesting that Victoria seems to ebb and flow the same way Australia does. This makes it easier for policy makers such as urban planners to rely on national forecasts and create slightly more accurate projections for Victoria and Melbourne.

While it is quite hard for state governments to forecast their net overseas migration inflows, as well as other people flows from state to state, this data shows perhaps Victorian bureaucrats can at least lean a little bit on national migration projections whereas Tasmanian policy makers would be less advised to do so.

One thought on “Australian Net Overseas Migration Trends: Comparing Victoria and Tasmania

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