A Regional Renaissance

This week the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) released significant findings in the Big Movers 2023 report.  The report reveals a notable influx of millennials (people aged 25 to 40) leaving Australia’s capital cities for regional communities, marking a turning point in regional development.

RAI's CEO, Liz Ritchie, unveiled compelling statistics that underscore the positive trend within regional areas. In the latest Census period (2016-2021), an additional 54,000 millennials chose to call regional communities home compared to the preceding period (2011-2016). This shift marks a remarkable reversal of the longstanding narrative that young people from regional areas would migrate to cities, never to return. During the previous Census period, from 2011 to 2016, there was a net loss of over 37,000 millennials in regional areas. However, in the most recent period, from 2016 to 2021, there was a net gain of more than 57,000 millennials in these regions.

This demographic shift is not only confined to millennials; the data also reveals an increase in overseas-born residents relocating to regional Australia. This influx of skilled and educated people from diverse backgrounds is contributing significantly to the dynamic change in Australia's demographic landscape.

Ms. Ritchie noted, "Millennials and the overseas-born population are highly skilled and well educated. Their desire to live in regional Australia can partly be attributed to the strong jobs market in country areas, as well as the enviable lifestyle benefits – like the reduced cost of living, and more space."

Further analysis from the report indicates that regional Australia experienced a substantial increase in net migration from capital cities, with 166,000 people making the move—almost triple the net gain of the previous Census period. Between 2016 and 2021, more than 600,000 metropolitan Australians chose to relocate to regional areas, a 120,000 increase from the prior Census period.

For Toowoomba and surrounding regions these are encouraging findings. Greg Bowden, CEO of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, stated, "TSBE sees the importance of the data released by the RAI and wanted to highlight this information and the future jobs and the economic and social opportunities for our region."

Bowden added, "TSBE’s role is to work with industry to help create an environment to give people the opportunity to work in our region. We also work with local government to ensure we build an environment that people want to live in."

TSBE is committed to building on this momentum and migratory trend to continue to work collaboratively with member businesses, local councils, and other stakeholders to capitalise on the economic growth and social opportunities available for our region. TSBE recognises that by creating a great place to live and work, enhancing infrastructure, and fostering a supportive environment, it can continue to attract skilled talent and investment to Toowoomba.

The future of regional Australia is looking brighter than ever, and TSBE is proud to be at the forefront of this exciting transformation.


Read the RAI The Big Movers Report here.