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Future Aussies: where will they come from?

Where will the next generation of Aussies come from?

Whether it’s our beaches, lifestyle, climate or diverse and friendly population, moving to Australia is a dream for many people around the world. And it should come as no surprise given Australia is home to some of the most liveable cities in the world.

The recently released 2018 Global Liveability Index by The Economist placed three Aussie cities in its top 10, with Melbourne in second place (after spending seven years ranked number one), Sydney in fifth place and Adelaide in position ten.

The Economist survey assigned each country a rating of ‘relative comfort’ based on more than 30 factors across five areas: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Each factor in a city was rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable contributing to a score out of 100.

But it’s not just our three most liveable cities that attract overseas interest; as a country Australia offers newcomers a great lifestyle, access to quality education and an enviable healthcare system.

Where are we coming from?

Federal Government data from the 2016-2017 Migration Programme Report showed there were 183,608 places within the planned 190,000 intake. The major ‘source countries’ in the migration programme were India (21.2 per cent), China (15.4 per cent) and the United Kingdom (9.3 per cent).

Dr Liz Allen, a demographer at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University, explains that immigrants from China and India will continue to flow through to Australia into the future.

“The UK was until only recently the leading source of immigrants, but now sits in third place. This is due to a number of socioeconomic factors, primarily due to the ageing population compositions of the UK, Canada and the US. Migrants from India and China are appropriately skilled for the needs of the Australian workforce and so will continue to make major contributions to overseas migration to Australia.”

Will that create any notable influence on Australia? Dr Allen says Australia is undergoing “a major challenge of change due to age structure and not immigration”.

For the years ahead, Australia will continue to be a country of choice for many, suggests a federal government paper on Australia’s immigration future.

“A variety of reasons support this conclusion, including the reception and opportunity Australia provides to migrants, its openness to migration flows, and the pull factors of rising labour demand as the population ages and cross-border household formation,” the report stated.

It went on to explain the size, mix and character of migration flows were key determinants of what the population of Australia might look like by mid-century.

“Although the degree of uncertainty around each of them is high, it is likely that the size of the migrant population will rise, as will its share of the total Australian population. Our best way of facing the future is to be adaptive and flexible, drawing upon sound knowledge of the near future.”

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