The doubly selected: return migration in Australia

Angelique Parr, University of Queensland
Martin Bell, University of Queensland

Return migrants are a distinct group among an already selective population of internal migrants. While research findings about their selectivity are often contradictory or inconclusive, return migrants appear to be young, less educated, unemployed or on low incomes. The potential to definitively identify the characteristics of return migrants in the Australian context is provided by the population Census, which records one-year and five-year migration transitions. Against a theoretical framework of failed versus planned returns with explanations grouped into four dimensions – economic, education-related, family-oriented and retirement-related, the one per cent Household Sample File from the 2006 Census is interrogated to identify characteristics that most significantly differentiate return migrants from other migrants. The results demonstrate that return migrants are more likely to be young adults, educated, unemployed, separated or divorced and renting a dwelling. By contrast gender, income levels and occupation are less important characteristics in the selectivity of return migrants.

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Presented in Session 176: The root causes of internal migration: Are they primarily economic? (2)