More than ever migrants are flooding the big cities

By Leith van Onselen

Recently I have ridiculed the new found push by some politicians towards decentralisation, noting that this is a pipe dream based on the settlement pattern of new migrants, which have overwhelmingly chosen to flood Sydney and Melbourne.

My view was based primarily on data from the Productivity Commission’s recent Migrant Intake into Australia report, which revealed that 86% of immigrants lived in the major cities of Australia in 2011 (mostly Sydney and Melbourne), whereas only 65% of the Australian-born population did:

ScreenHunter_17913 Mar. 13 16.00

It seems the settlement pattern of new migrants into the two major cities has become even more extreme over the past five years, according to analysis of the 2016 Census by Inside Story’s Tim Colebatch:

It is striking how what we are seeing now differs from the first wave of postwar migration in the 1940s and early 50s. That wave was led by the British, the Dutch and the Germans, who spread right across the country and put down roots wherever they settled. Even now, the 2016 census finds that in New South Wales, 34 per cent of the British-born live outside Sydney, as do 37 per cent of Germans and 44 per cent of Dutch. Stunningly, so do 44 per cent of the Australian-born. In Victoria, the numbers are lower, but the pattern is similar.

But the second wave of migrants that followed, dominated by the Italians and Greeks, were more likely to form urban enclaves in the big cities. In Victoria, which attracted the largest share, only 10 per cent of Italian migrants and 3.4 per cent of Greeks now live outside Melbourne, much the same as a generation ago.

And the third wave of migration we are seeing now is almost completely city-centric. In Sydney on census night, the 224,685 Chinese migrants clearly outnumbered the 178,411 British – probably the first time in Australian history that British migrants have ever been outnumbered by another race in any capital city. But in the rest of New South Wales, with its 2.65 million people, the census found just 9578 Chinese migrants. Only 4.2 per cent of those in New South Wales live outside Sydney.

Sydney is also home to 96.3 per cent of the state’s Vietnamese-born population, 97.4 per cent of its Iraqi migrants, and 97.6 per cent of its Lebanese. That’s so different from the first wave of Lebanese migration a century or more ago, which spread out all over Australia, with some enterprising migrants buying horse and cart, fitting them out, and riding from station to station as the general stores of the outback.

Migrants to Victoria are similarly concentrated in Melbourne. The few square kilometres ruled by the Melbourne City Council houses four and a half times as many Chinese-born residents as the 210,000 square kilometres of regional Victoria, which includes cities like Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Melbourne is home to 97.2 per cent of Victoria’s Chinese migrants, 96.8 per cent of its Sri Lankans, 94.9 per cent of its booming Indian-born population, and 98.0 per cent of its Vietnamese…

Migrants usually flock to the cities. It’s natural that newcomers go where they have friends or family. But what we are seeing now is that natural tendency carried to extreme lengths. The difference between the racial makeup of electorates such as Melbourne and Wannon is like a difference between countries, rather than between parts of one region. Their human makeups have little in common. It’s not surprising that their political views also have little in common.

This data should put to rest, once and for all, the mis-guided notion that Australia could maintain a mass immigration policy but somehow spread settlement throughout Australia, thereby taking pressure off Sydney and Melbourne.

The reality is that maintaining a mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy means that Sydney and Melbourne will continue to be crush-loaded as their populations swell by the millions, placing extreme further pressure on infrastructure and housing, and destroying living standards for incumbent residents.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. surflessMEMBER

    Each wave of immigration in Australia since white settlement has always been a bloody mess, cultural intolerance, environmentally destructive, lack of housing and infrastructure.

      • Chinese restaurants were abysmal back in the day.

        Bring your food, leave the rest back home. 457s can shove it. We can be humanitarian, sensible and not subscribe to mass immigration at the same time.

      • UE, you closet racist. They’re KOREAN not Chinese!

        Seriously, 5 years ago there were like… a couple of Korean restaurants in the Melb CBD. Now? It’s like the old sip and save advert. Past the Bulgogi place, Right at Bimbimbab, Left at Korean Fried Chicken, past the Asian Grocer, and you should see it there. The Seoul of Melbourne. Try the Korean Army Soup.

      • kiwikarynMEMBER

        How are you supposed to tell the good Chinese restaurants from the bad, when everyone is Asian?

      • The greens are too embroiled in their race wars, gender studies and general shuffling since the world has pretty much subscribed to environment and they no longer have carved out platform. I suspect the business interests have also well and truly infiltrated the party.

        As for Korean food, it’s still run by Chinese people, Anything more than an ahnyo and you find them out real fast.

    • Racialist! It’s our destiny, three cheers for the march towards global government!

  2. And the inference being they all immediately get high paying jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy or rent a property in Sydney and Melbourne……….wank wank, money in the bank!

  3. They all think they’re eventually going to end up in Vaucluse or something? Goes to show our new immigrants aren’t too bright. Probably why they fit in so well socially speaking. Ha ha.

  4. FiftiesFibroShack

    It’s not all bad. Many areas around Sydney have improved dramatically with the influx of wealthy immigrants; morning Tai Chi in the local park (a park that now has more plants than used syringes), less crime, graffiti, and general fuckwitery. Sure, part of me misses the sound of a bridge-ported rotary doing burnouts at 3 in the morning, but that’s more than made up for by being able to leave the house unlocked and not having to worry about the kids getting assaulted.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      It just means the burnouts were now being done somewhere else. Places with a lot of recent immigrants who are not uber rich tends to handed more crime, not less.

    • I fall under the new cohort categorisation of ‘Zennial’ and have not financially benefited from this massive immigration wave at all. Theres no denying that Fifties Fibro Shack is right tho.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        Yeah I get it. I’ve got a number of friends in your situation and obviously I want my kids to own homes.

    • Trofim Lysenko

      How do you know the Taiji is of any quality, because it’s taught by a Chinamen? Plenty of copies and fakes around. Then even if they are any good they mightn’t teach you the good stuff.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        My mum is heavily into taichi, and went to China to study under a martial art master for a couple of years. She tells me that taichi teacher either emphasis on ‘looking good’ (low posture, making the movement match the music, co ordination, etc) or ‘feeling good’ (do the movement with your body without forcing it). Taichi without ‘chi’ is just an aerobic, and it normally takes the student one to two years of practice before they can achieve ‘chi’ in their movements.

        The taichi practisioner that is doing the movement without regard to who is looking at them are the good ones.

  5. Ballroom dancing enjoying renaissance in Melbourne. Chinese immigrant community in droves (85:15 split) Boomer gentlemen enjoying the company of exquisitely dressed women who can dance/no sarc, racism – simple observation. Language no barrier unimportant as no speaking requried – jus tthrow them round the dancefloor. Fun to watch.

  6. If you didn’t have a generation of boomers and a ‘government’ so super keen to sell the country to China, they’d probably just find another way to take it. They are the majority of people now and this is just Darwinism.

    • yeah fuck Australians and their culture and history, no great loss, its just burn outs and drugs

      • thats the beauty of it, there’s no need for anyone to say ‘fuck Australians’
        we’re perfectly capable of saying that ourselves and wiping ourselves out. what a clever country.

      • At the moment every second Aussie is driving a ute or working on loading up people with debt and the other half are self appointed cosmopolitans that think that importing lots of immigrants makes them Ghandi. You can’t work with that. Darwinism, spot on.

      • Australians did do it to themselves a bit though. Wanted all the nice things that come with being a developed nation, but didn’t want to try for things or even admit to trying. Just think of the headwinds that an intelligent young Australian had to deal with in the 90s. We can thank the yanks I suppose. “Nerd” was an insult, and a putdown. Most fathers want their children to be athletes and often acted against that child developing any further ‘intellectual’ interests.

        Meanwhile in Asia you had parents who’d tell their kid to pay attention to their teacher and do their fucking homework.

        The age of the ‘nerd’ arrived, but Australia could barely get a foot in.

    • anti-intellectualism. intergenerational greed / theft.
      after awhile it makes you ask ‘what are we trying to save?’

  7. Decentralisation is a good idea but our politicians’ “attempts” to achieve it are ridiculous.

    Real progress will be hard to attain while the propertigarchy keeps benefitting the most from population concentration.

    The purpose of a system is what it does: POSIWID.

  8. I thought that the strategy was flood the city with migrants and tell the complaining anglo/celtics to move to Tamworth to make way for them. I don’t know what would be worse: listening to Barnaby Joyce or living in his electorate.

  9. I met a lady who migrated to Oz from the UK in the 1950s recently (she was obviously a child then). She was telling me how they weren’t allowed to migrate directly into the big cities back then and had to settle out in the country somewhere (in Victoria). I know they currently do that via people’s occupations (like with doctors only being allowed to work in rural places) so they’re essentially forced to live out there too, but what about implementing a policy similar to this (regardless of occupation)?

    When was this stopped and why don’t they do it again? I know the work is generally in the cities (plus more people have relos/friends already living in those big cities) but if they did it back then (when they were just happy for people come to Oz in the first place), surely they can do it now. Or would it be too difficult to enforce or seen as too harsh and restrictive by the all-important voting public?

    You’d think people would just move back in the big cities after a few months or years, but this lady (one example, I know) did move back into the city briefly and then moved back out into another rural town.

    • that may have worked in back in the day when Australia had a mixed economy.
      y’know… when we made things like cars and stuff.
      now? unless your family owns the farm or you’re in the mines, what are you doing out there aside from joining a dole queue?

  10. Perhaps things will get so bad even the immigrants will have a gut-full and leave.

    If you have some patience, you could have Sydney and Melbourne to yourself …. and live in the ritziest area to boot 🙂

    • Can’t see that happening until some other developed world country starts offering more opportunity – ideally a larger and wealthier country starts experiencing labour shortages and begins to report the possibility of full employment.

      • try and name one country outside of Scandinavia that doesn’t have thinner margins

  11. Well if you focus on skilled migration, and younger skilled migration, surely you will attract educated “global” types who want to work in company HQs, with restaurants, cultural events, etc. If I moved to another country, you wouldn’t catch me out in their version of woop woop. If I moved to the US, I’d want to be in NY or San Francisco. If I went to the UK, I’d want to be in London. And so on and so on. Wheras post WW2 migration from Europe included basically anyone.