Are Australians reluctant to move?

Last week, Conrad said:

Australians seem to move about very little in general (excluding retirement), and many people want to live close to their families for one reason or another.

I was a little surprised to read this, as the more common view is that Australians are becoming more mobile. Yet neither view seems to be correct.

In the figure below from the OECD (the Australian data was from HILDA), Australian residental mobility was the second highest of the countries examined over a 2 year period.

ABS census data shows that those most likely to move are, as I would expect, those aged 20-34 – the years in which people are first moving out out of home, improving their housing as earnings increase, and (flowing from the second reason) adjusting their housing to suit new family circumstances of their own. Retirees are generally the least likely to move, though it looks like there is an increase as very elderly people move to retirement homes or other places where they can get more care.

4 thoughts on “Are Australians reluctant to move?

  1. I don’t disagree that Australians changes houses a lot (my Euro colleagues can’t believe how much we do). However, I’m not sure what your table exactly represents, but a more useful table in terms of the question about young people moving to somewhere where they couldn’t fall back on their parents would be interstate migration, which the ABS provides here. At a quick guess based on eyeballing the data, that’s about 360K per year (about 1.8% of the population). It would be very interesting to see how that ranks in terms of younger age groups (say 18-24). Even better would be young people moving by themselves and not with families. I think that even if it was double the population average, thats still not huge.


  2. I can never get the Super(sic)Table software to work, but if you can there is interstate migration data by age here.

    There is data on shorter moves – keeping in mind that Australian states are generally bigger than Western European countries – but I cannot find it right now.


  3. “I was a little surprised to read this, as the more common view is that Australians are becoming more mobile.”

    You have data on the change over time?


  4. Rob – There is some data in the second link. Unfortunately the detail is in a Catallaxy post that was lost in one of its various server crashes. The challenge here is to get age-adjusted data, as the apparent reduction in within-Australia moves will at least partly be due to increased numbers of older people.


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