New ABS Data Confirms Highest Ever Net Migration In 2023

Written by:
13 June 2024
New ABS Data Confirms Highest Ever Net Migration In 2023 - Featured image

“Confirmation from the ABS today that 2023 saw the highest ever net migration demonstrates the federal government’s repeated failure to take control of Australia’s migration intake, which is driving down the living standards of Australians,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ quarterly data on Net Overseas Migration confirms that record and unplanned mass migration continued to surge in the December 2023 quarter: (charts over page)

  • Net overseas migration for the 2023 calendar year was the highest ever in history, at 547,200 people, exceeding the previous record of 433,100 in 2022.
  • In 2023, 84 per cent of Australia’s population growth was from net overseas migration, the highest on record and 4 percentage points higher than that in 2022.
  • Record high migration in 2023 coincided with the longest recorded consecutive decline in per capita GDP, a more precise measure of living standards, contracting 0.9 per cent throughout the year.
  • Net overseas migration from 1 July 2023 to 31 December 2023 was 258,300.
    • Based on these trends, total net overseas migration for the 2023-24 financial year will reach approximately 516,600, or 121,600 more than the federal government’s estimate in the recent 2024-25 budget.

“The federal government’s failure to rein in out-of-control migration is making it harder for Australians to get ahead at a time of acute cost of living pressures. Today, per capita GDP has been negative for five consecutive quarters, meaning Australians at an individual level are in a recession,” said Mr Wild.

Building approvals data show that while the federal government allowed net overseas migration to reach 547,200 people in 2023, approvals for new housing stagnated at 166,000 in the same period. This deficit only compounds the housing crisis for first home buyers and new arrivals alike.

“Despite repeated warnings, the federal government continues to push the accelerator on migration at the exact same time as the brakes are being slammed on housing approvals. We are setting ourselves up for disaster,” said Mr Wild.

“Migration has and will continue to play a critical role in Australia’s story. However, the current unplanned, record migration intake is placing immense pressure on housing costs and our infrastructure. It has also not solved our worker shortage crisis and has left Australians worse off.”

“It is critical that governments support sustainable economic growth through productivity reforms, not by merely inflating economic statistics through population growth.”

“Australia’s dismal economic conditions reflect a lack of vision from governments whose only trick for growing the economy seems to be increasing migration,” said Mr Wild.

To download the IPA’s previous research click here.

Net overseas migration by calendar year

Net migration rate (net overseas migration as a % of total Australian resident population) vs GDP per capita growth (trend data)

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