Qld in demand as Census shows city exodus

Far more people are moving to Queensland than any other state or territory, while NSW recorded the biggest net loss, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

There was a net gain of more than 100,000 people to the Sunshine State in the five years to 2021, according to internal migration numbers from the Census.

The biggest net loss was just south of the border, as 102,000 people moved out of NSW.

There were more modest gains in Tasmania and the ACT, with net increases of 15,000 and 10,000 respectively, while almost 10,000 people left Victoria.

Anecdotal stories of sea and tree changes are also backed up by the data, with a net loss of more than 160,000 from Australian capital cities.

This is a significantly greater loss than in 2016 and 2011, where there was a net loss of 43,000 people and 72,200 people respectively.

As work-from-home became the norm for thousands of Australians during the pandemic, the city exodus intensified.

In the year before the 2021 Census, there was a net loss of 59,500 people from Australia's capital cities.

Sydney alone lost 49,100 people.

"Census data captures the characteristics of people who've moved, allowing us in turn to gain a better understanding of why they moved," Census program manager Mark Harding said.

The median age for movers is 33 and they're more likely to be renters than non-movers.

Those who stayed put are more likely to be older, with a median age of 49, and to either own their home or have a mortgage.

"This data suggests that people are moving for housing suitability and affordability as well as employment opportunities and then settling down later in life," Mr Harding said.

Interstate moves are still relatively uncommon with just over half of the Australian population staying put in the past five years.

Of those who did move, 87 per cent stayed in the same state.