The impact of long-term visitor migration on projections of Australia's population

Peter McDonald, Rebecca Kippen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 1999 and 2000, net long-term visitor migration to Australia exceeded net permanent migration for the first time. A shift in Australia's migration entry from permanent settlers to long-term visitors has many implications. This paper focuses on the longer-term demographic impacts of this change. In conventional projections of Australia's population, particular levels of annual net overseas migration are assumed and there is an implicit assumption that these levels represent permanent migration. The question addressed in this paper is: if permanent residents and temporary residents of Australia are treated as two separate populations, does this change the outcomes of population projections? The paper uses a new projection model that divides the Australian population into these two components. Each population is projected separately with provision for movement from the visitor population to the permanent population. Visitors who do not convert to permanent residence are "tagged" with their expected year of departure and are taken out of the population in that year. They are also assumed to have a zero birth rate (because any births they have will leave with them). A conventional population projection based on 1999 levels of annual net overseas migration (88,000) results in an Australian population of around 25 million in 2050. In contrast, a "standard" projection, which is also based on 1999 migration levels, but considers permanent movements (50,000 net annually) and long-term visitor movements (125,000 annual arrivals) separately results in a population of 23 million by 2050.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-152
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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