The socio-economic status of migrant populations in regional and rural Australia and its implications for future population policy

Simon J L Massey, Nick Parr*

*Corresponding author for this work

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The migrant population living in regional and rural Australia has been growing, partly because of the introduction and expansion of a number of state-specific and regional migration programs by the Australian Government over the period since 1995. The programs were created in response to both the skill shortages in regional and rural Australia and environmental and social critiques of urban migration. This study uses data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing in Australia to compare five socio-economic measures: labour force participation, unemployment, income, educational attainment, and occupational status, between the migrant and Australia-born populations. The results reveal that the migrant population in regional and rural Australia now records similar values for the labour force participation rate, unemployment rate, median individual weekly income, and proportion in high skill level occupations to the Australia-born population. The most notable difference is that migrants have a substantially higher level of education, particularly university education. The differences between men and women on these socio-economic measures are wider for the migrant population than for the Australia-born. Recently-arrived migrants are significantly more educated, more highly skilled and higher paid than their longer-standing counterparts. The study also discusses the differences between the larger migrant groups living in regional and rural Australia. The improvement in the socio-economic outcomes experienced by the migrant population of regional and rural Australia and their broad similarity to those of the Australia-born living in these regions strengthen the case for increasing the proportion of migrant settlers going to these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Population Research
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

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