Record number of people leave New Zealand to live in Australia, data shows

by Ray Clancy on October 2, 2012

A net loss of 40,000 people recorded in the year to August 2012

A record number of people have left New Zealand to go and live and work in Australia, the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show.

Some 53,900 decided to move to Australia in the year to August 2012 and about 13,900 moved in the opposite direction, resulting in a net loss of migrants to Australia in the year of 40,000, the highest figure ever recorded.

Looking just at the month of August, 3,400 more people migrated to Australia than the other way round. That compared to an average net loss of 3,300 over the past seven months.

The highest ever net loss to Australia was 4,300 in February 2001. Statistics NZ said that occurred just before a change in the eligibility for New Zealand citizens to access certain welfare benefits in Australia.

The record loss to Australia in the year was offset by net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by 5,400 arriving from the United Kingdom, 5,200 from China and 5,100 from India.

The data also shows that 178,300 people visited New Zealand in August 2012, some 1% higher than a year earlier. More people from Australia visited friends and relatives last month, while more arrived from China for holidays, said population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn.

‘More arrivals from Australia and China in August 2012 pushed visitor numbers even higher than in August 2011, when they were boosted by 4,400 arrivals for the Rugby World Cup,’ she explained.

In the August year, 2,636 million visitors arrived in New Zealand, up 5% from the August 2011 year.

‘This August, more people from Australia visited friends and relatives, while more arrived from China for holidays,’ added Blackburn.

Arriving and departing migrants were mostly between 15 and 34 years old in the August 2012 year. In this age group, New Zealand gained 2,500 more migrants than it lost. There was also a net gain of 1,300 migrants aged 60 and over. In contrast, there was a net loss of 4,000 migrants aged under 15 years and aged 35 to 59 years.

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