In recent years, migration has been the most influential component of population growth in Western Australia. Between June 1996 and June 2006, net migration (both overseas and inter-state) accounted for 53.4% of Western Australia's estimated population growth, contributing to a net increase of 85,939 persons. At the time of the 2006 Census, 43.8% of persons (aged 5 years or more) living in Western Australia had moved since 2001. Of these, 7.9% had moved to WA from another state, and a further 12.6% had arrived from overseas.
The current resources boom has placed considerable pressure on Western Australia's ability to provide a workforce able to cope with new developments and projects. Migration is therefore necessary for the sustainability of WA's current economy. This has led to an increase in the number of houses being built, resulting in increased energy and water use and expanding infrastructure and service needs. Thus, migration has impacted on the economic, social and environmental aspects of Western Australia and has significant implications for the future of the state.
The analysis in this article will focus on demographic data for persons who were counted as living in Western Australia at the time of the 2006 Census. The Census provides a wealth of information about the characteristics of people who moved to Western Australia between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, whether from overseas, (described as recent arrivals), or from another state or territory.
The analysis will also provide a view of how Western Australians have moved within WA to capitalise on employment opportunities or lifestyle changes. The demographic analysis will include regional movements, occupation and industry characteristics of employed movers, as well as post-school qualifications of movers.