Population Dynamics

The population situation in regional Australia is widely misunderstood. Regional Australia’s population is diverse, dynamic and growing.

By understanding the major factors, key drivers and influences in regional populations we can create new opportunities for our regions.

To better understand the impact of demography, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has identified three key trends shaping regional communities; international migration, regional returners and super boomers.

For a summary of our key population learnings, read the Uncovering Regional Population Trends Fact Sheet 

Explore the details in our in depth Population Dynamics in Regional Australia report

Browse the statistics for your local area by visiting [In]Sight Demography

International Migration

International migration is responsible for more than half of Australia’s population growth and presents a unique opportunity for regional areas looking to transform their community.

For regional areas grappling with an ageing or declining population, international migration can offer population stability, diversity and create jobs. The RAI’s Talking Point: The Missing Migrants offers insights into international migration trends and why proactive, locally led strategies to attract migrants to regional areas need to be a top priority.

Success stories in regional Western Australia and Victoria are a testament to how international migration can reinvigorate a community and offer lessons for others looking to address population challenges.

Dig deeper into the international migration trends and benefits for regional Australia, read Talking Point: The Missing Migrants

For a snapshot of the key international migration themes, see the Missing Migrants Fact Sheet

Check out our Make the Move campaign to see what locally led initiatives are attracting and retaining new residents in regional areas

Super Boomers

Regional Australia is ageing faster than the capital cities, meaning regions are at the forefront of the national ageing trend. Two million people aged 50-69 live in regional Australia and 21 regions are experiencing accelerated rates of ageing.

However, our perception of the aged is out of date. Baby boomers in regions are really ‘Super Boomers’ who make valuable contributions to regional communities, in the workforce, through entrepreneurship, or as mentors, leaders and volunteers.

Ageing regions that tap into the potential of Super Boomers can set the standard for how Australia ages successfully.

The RAI’s Talking Point: An ageing (regional) Australia and the rise of the Super Boomer explains the rise of the Super Boomer and the opportunity for regions.

Regional Returners

More Australians aged 25-44 are moving from cities to regional areas than vice versa. Many of these are ‘Regional Returners’, people who left the regions as young adults, but are choosing to return later in life.

The increasing value of lifestyle, affordable housing, proximity to friends and family and access to schools, childcare and health services make regional areas an attractive alternative to capital cities.

The RAI’s Talking Point: Returning to regional Australia explores the trend and offers insights from those who have made the return.

Crunch the numbers and read the returner stories in Talking Point: Returning to regional Australia

For returner highlights and where they are going, see The Regional Returners Fact Sheet

Read There’s no place like home (in regional Australia) to put the Regional Returners story into perspective


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The costs and benefits of geographic labour mobility: A regional perspective
The RAI’s submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Geographic Labour Mobility explains how labour mobility can optimise social and economic benefits for regional Australia.


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Investing in the future of regional communities 
The RAI’s submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Migration Intake into Australia explores international migration and offers recommendations as to how we can better understand and target the needs of regions.