More people left Sydney than any other capital last year

May 13, 2021

People are leaving one Australian capital city in droves, with tens of thousands heading for greener pastures, new figures reveal.


Sydneysiders fled the city in greater numbers than any other Australian capital last year, latest figures reveal.

A net 31,600 Sydneysiders farewelled the Harbour City for other parts of the country in 2020, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics internal migration statistics.

Melbourne wasn’t far behind, losing a net 26,100 people – the capital’s biggest annual net loss on record during a year which included months of COVID lockdown.

Overall, Victoria lost 12,700 people last year in what was the southern state’s first net interstate loss for a calendar year since 2008.

The only capitals to record net gains over 2020 were Brisbane, which gained 13,000 people, Perth, which added 3500, and Canberra, with 300.

South Australia recorded a boost in interstate migrants for the first time in almost 30 years, with a net gain of 100 people.

Meanwhile, 1400 opted for a move out west to Western Australia, the mining state’s first annual net gain since 2013.

Queensland had its highest net gain since 2004, with 30,000 people deciding to call the Sunshine State home.

Australia’s regional areas experienced the largest net inflows of capital city residents since records began 20 years ago.

In recent decades, more people moved from Australia’s capital cities to the regions than from the regions to the capitals, resulting in a net internal migration gain for regional areas, ABS demography director Phil Browning said.

During the pandemic, many people were still opting to make a move to other parts of the country, he said.

Last year, a net 43,000 Australians upped stumps in capital cities to try regional life, up from 18,900 in 2019.

It was the largest net inflow to the regions since records began 20 years ago.

Regional Queensland had the biggest net inflow of all the states last year, with 17,000 people moving in.

The regional areas of Victoria and NSW had the next largest net gains, with 13,400 and 12,700 newcomers, respectively.

The ABS figures do not reflect overall population change because internal migration is only one measure alongside overseas migration, births and deaths.

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